I from time to time hear from readers or acquaintances who complain that I do not appear to have much sympathy for those still large or completely in the closet, particularly after being in the closet so long myself. Believe me, I am not lacking in sympathy. However, my vision is of the day when no one has to go through what I did. In this regard, I do believe that the most powerful thing that each one of us can do is come out and live openly. The more of us who do so, be we professionals, celebrities, or the guy or girl next door, (1) the more the distorted stereotype of us put out by our enemies will be destroyed, and (2) the easier it will be for those who come after us to be out and open. In my own personal life, just being out and honest with clients - not that I advertise my orientation to them - has caused many to totally rethink their prejudices towards gays. Moreover, to my knowledge, not one client has stopped using my services because I am gay.
Yes, those who are married and have children are in a particularly difficult place and will have a rough road to travel. Having been there, I know the pain all too well. Other single, self employed professionals who do not run the risk of being fired yet stay in the closet out of fear, I do have less sympathy for. True, living openly can be very scary at first. But at the same time, these people could help make real change for all LGBT individuals occur and lessen the number of stories like the ones described in a column I came upon (http://www.365gay.com/opinion/corvino/corvino.htm):
There are still teenagers kicked out of the house for being gay—not to mention teenagers kept at home and berated by their parents for their “sinful” urges. Some will be sent to camps in damaging attempts to “cure” them. As you reflect on our progress, please remember these teenagers.
There are adults who will return home to their families nervously this holiday season. Some fear being grilled about their “lifestyles.” Others will suffer the dehumanizing ritual of silence among relatives who assiduously avoid the issue. The understood rule that some subjects are just too awkward, or too awful, to discuss, and so their longing for human connection becomes literally unspeakable. As you reflect on our progress, please remember these adults.
Remember those gay and lesbian folks who agonize about whether to bring their partners to the company holiday party and who make up elaborate stories to mask their lives. Remember those transgender folks who struggle not to wince when asked to bring a “male-specific” or “female-specific” present to the office gift exchange. And remember those GLBT folks in other parts of the world who wish they had such problems: their main concern is not getting jailed or killed.