Out and open

PFLAG and Basic Rights Oregon were among the many groups to come out proud in support of the march celebrating the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. What will you come out for in the coming month? Photo by Jules Garza, PQ Monthly
PFLAG and Basic Rights Oregon were among the many groups to come out proud in support of the march celebrating the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. What will you come out for in the coming month? Photo by Jules Garza, PQ Monthly

National Coming Out Day is almost upon us (Friday, Oct. 11) and, like we did last year, we looked to that rather momentous day as a starting point and guide for our current issue. We let it saturate our words and pages. Whether you’re taking the stage with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (check out our calendar), or celebrating by gathering signatures for Oregon United for Marriage, or queering your activism in some altogether unique way, we hope you’ll take a moment and think about the great many ways we “come out” — as one of the many varied shades of queer, or for our causes, the things that are near and dear to our hearts.

And maybe even some that aren’t. Maybe this National Coming Out Day, in addition to the aforementioned coming out, we could pledge to take a little time trying to understand the things we’re not passionate about. Sound a little vague and nuanced? Let us break it down for you. There are times — probably more than anyone would like to admit — when we’re so enamored by our own tunnel vision, we’re prone to quickly dismissing ideas and beliefs that don’t align with our own. “Why does he prefer that pronoun? Why are pronouns such a big deal, anyway? Don’t they realize I don’t mean to hurt their feelings?” Or, in a completely different vein: “Why did that person set out to exclude me completely?”

Here’s the thing: they probably didn’t. We pretty much know by now that a lot of the “contentious exchanges” that go down in our community are a result of assumptions and misunderstandings. We realize this, typically, the day or week after. Maybe it’s the undying idealist in us, but perhaps this National Coming Out Day can be a springboard — to strive to better understand each other. We can “come out” for empathy, for compassion, for putting ourselves in another person’s shoes. Because no matter your beef with someone, no matter how personal it feels, we’re betting you have more in common than not.

And now that you’ve sat through our latest sermon — dive in, dear readers. We worked hard all month to make these pages pretty and interesting — just for you.

The PQ Monthly Team