“We have no language for the liminal”

robert_espinozaAs the headline may suggest, the article this post is about is heady, theoretical…and very, very interesting.

Last National Coming Out Day, Robert Espinoza, Senior Director, Public Policy and Communications at SAGE, published a Huffington Post article, “‘Coming Out’ or ‘Letting In’?  Recasting the LGBT Narrative.”

While the article only briefly mentions LGBT elder issues, GrayPrideParade readers who like to think deeply may find the article engrossing.  Part of what Robert is interested in here are the gray areas in LGBT “coming out” models.  Is it right, he asks, to typecast someone who begins dating same-gender people later in life as a former “closet case”?  What are we to make of Chirlane McCray, wife of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, when she talks about living her early life as a lesbian but then having to put “aside the assumptions I had about the form and package my love would come in”?

In a sentence that resonates strongly with this partner of two transpeople, he notes about the privacy issues often discussed in conjunction with coming out, “Furthermore, experience has taught me that one person’s right to privacy can often mean the invisibility of another person, such as a loving partner or an LGBT parent, as two examples.”

I’ll close with this quote:

A colleague suggests that we reframe ‘coming out’ as ‘letting in,’ as in letting others into our lives.  He reasons that ‘letting in’ better manages fluidity and the people we (surprisingly) love.  The ‘letting in’ frame allows for agency over what to disclose, to whom and when — in gradations — without assuming a fixed identity or that a private life conflicts with a public persona.  If coming out is a confession, then letting in is a communion.

You can read the whole essay at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-espinoza/coming-out-or-letting-in_b_4070273.html

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