Today is National Coming Out Day (NCOD), a day that has been set aside annually in October to increase the visibility of members of the LGBT community in order to combat stereotypes, encourage openness and discussion of issues relevant to sexual minorities, and to normalize the place of LGBT individuals in society.
NCOD started in 1988 when I was in Cincinnati, Ohio helping to produce Alternating Currents – then the second-longest-running LGBT public affairs radio program in the US. I’d only begun the coming out process myself in 1981 (I didn’t go to my first gay bar until late 1985), so I was still a relative newbie. My experience at Alternating Currents whetted my interest in gay history (October also being LGBT history month). This eventually led to my documenting the contributions of LGBT individuals in the US occult community in my book, Bull of Heaven. It’s funny where these paths will eventually lead when you head down the rabbit hole. But to make a long story short, this is a topic of decades-long interest to me.
As we age, grow, and move through our lives, we continually find ourselves coming out to new people, organizations, employers, even enemies. Coming out is quite literally a lifelong process. The Wikipedia article on NCOD notes that its “foundational belief is that homophobia thrives in an atmosphere of silence and ignorance”. This includes internalized homophobia, where an LGBT person may be ignorant of how history has shaped their own place in the world. Indeed, one could argue that many other societal ills flourish under those conditions, not the least of which being the violent fever swamp that is today’s right-wing politics both here in the US and beyond.
In order to combat the ignorant and the mean-spirited, it falls on people of good will to provide reliable information and alternative viewpoints. But, seeing as you’re here instead, I guess you’ll have to make do with a curmudgeon like me for the nonce.
Why a blog? As I note in “About This Blog”, I intend to use this space to explore the world in which I live in order to make some sense of it all – not least of all to myself. My tools are those of science, history, the arts, and human nature. I’m a writer, so I write. This entrenched belief in the power of words precludes me from communicating via the likes of Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, which are more visually oriented and apparently geared towards much shorter attention spans. Oh well, dinos gotta soar.
I’ve cycled through various social platforms over the years, and grown frustrated with their various limitations. Facebook, with its population of and seeming tolerance for autocratic Trump cultists (and its over reliance on an AI which regularly mistakes sarcasm for suicidal thoughts, and classical works of art for pornography) is just the latest disappointment. The tech and financial sectors note that the Zuckerberg experiment has nearly reached saturation, and people (especially younger users) have now begun jumping ship, or are not joining up to begin with. In truth, the moment people of my generation began flocking to it, Facebook’s fate was sealed. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept many of my age mates as members.”
And so, dear readers, that leads us to this time and place. This is my candle in the wind. My rage against the machine. My (latest) coming out. Γεια σου! And welcome to my cave.
— Να εχεις μια ωραια μερα. —