July 28, 2007

"Why Come Out?"

That's the question asked by Alex Blaze at The Bilerico Project. He has the data to indicate it's not so you can get ahead in the world:

Considering that, when adjusted for occupation and several other factors, the Task Force found that gay men make about 83% what the average straight man does, I really can't blame someone for being closeted. This UCLA study found that same-sex couples of either sex made about $12,000 less than their straight counterparts and were about 23% less likely to have a college degree. In fact, GLSEN found that LGBT-identified high school students were about twice as likely to not have any sort of post-secondary education on the mind.

And that's just when it comes to economic success. Queer-identified people are still more likely to be victims of violence, more likely to to be turned away from homeless shelters, more likely to be ostracized from their families. For what? A label?

How often have you heard people talk about how gay couples are always so affluent? Surely some are, but according to those statistics they have a lesser chance of being so than a straight couple.

So we're back at the main question of "Why come out?" It seems to be inviting a whole lot of trouble for not so much return. Of course, there are other ways to measure that return in terms of ethics and honesty, comfortability with one's identity, and slightly more psychic coherence, but those material disadvantages to coming out can be quite strong.

Well, I'm not planning on jumping back in the closet at this age, even though the system punishes people who are out and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Are the material and economic benefits of staying in the closet worth it? It would be easy for me to say no because I don't have to face that decision myself. I do feel strongly, however, that someone living a lie, regardless of what that lie is, is doing more damage to themselves in the long run than all of society put together can inflict upon them.

Denying any of the gifts God gave you, even if one of them is being gay, will leave you short of realizing His plan for your life. Even if the road He lays out has a lot of potholes in it, He promised us it is still the best path to take for our lives.

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