Davina Kotulski

You can do it too!

Filed By Davina Kotulski | April 08, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: coming out of the closet, Harvey Milk, marriage equality, Molly McKay

Ricky Martin did it. Anna Paquin did it, even California Senator Ray Ashburn did it. I'm talking about coming out.

Coming out is a radical act, and yet it is simply speaking the truth of who you are and who you love. Coming out is also about loving yourself enough to see that being an LGBTIQ person is a beautiful contribution to the diversity of our human tapestry. You are worthy and must stop the hiding and lying that keeps us locked up in a nasty shame spiral.

Ricky said he did it for his kids, Anna did it to support LGBT rights, Ashburn did it because he got caught drinking and driving after coming out of a gay bar, which makes it sound like being gay is still a crime. Even though his timing was less than stellar and he had a history of voting against LGBT rights, the point is that he finally had the courage to be honest, while other politicians who have been "caught" continue to live lives of deception and lies.

My hero Harvey Milk encouraged everyone to come out. He knew that one person's coming out made a difference for another person, even if that other person was on the other side of the country. I never thought my coming out would make much of a difference. Boy was I schooled.

When my wife, Molly McKay and I started coming out for marriage rights in 2001 and asking for marriage licenses at the San Francisco County Recorder's Office I had no idea that it would later turn into Gavin Newsom's allowing same-sex couples to marry. Nor could I have imagined that when Molly and I engaged in a public celebratory kiss following the repeal of the nation's sodomy laws in June 2003, it would end up in Newsweek Magazine, next to a guy holding a sign that said something about burning in hell, and that I would get a call from my friend Ed, a Native American Psychologist who worked in New Mexico at the time telling me he saw the photo when a client of his a young Native American women brought it to him and through tears of joy said that she hoped she could marry her girlfriend one day and that seeing us gave her the courage to come out to her parents.

I had heard Harvey's words, but it wasn't until 2003 and 2004 that I really understood them to be the truth with a capital T. Our coming out is good for the world!


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So true. Thank you!

"Ricky said he did it for his kids, Anna did it to support LGBT rights, Ashburn did it because he got caught drinking and driving after coming out of a gay bar"

I love that sentence. Everyone takes a different path....

I know! Somehow that doesn't seem to paint Ashburn as a hero, eh? :)

Davina,

You are so right coming out and being upfront about who we are is soooooooooo important. In 1974 I was a MCC minister in Des Moines Iowa and there were several stories written about me in the Des Moines Tribune and some got picked up by the AP. I was amazed at the number of people who wrote me living in what they felt was isolation in rural areas to say they were so relieved to know they were not the only peron in the world who was homosesual.

But also several of the letters carried a common theme that they had cut the article out and tucked it away in a sock drawer and it took them several months to write me.

Thankfully now with the internet and our high visibility in all of the media venues our young people are popping out of the closet at a very young age knowing they are ok and there is nothing wrong or perverted about them.

I have ended many speeches with Harvey's words, "Come Out! Come Out! Wherever you are!"

Thanks for sharing Jerry. And thank you for being a beacon of light for others in 1974!!!

Because this is so important to me and to all of us having full equality, I'm doing FREE coming out workshops to help people begin to confront their fears around coming out. It's another way for me to combine my skills as a psychologist and life coach with my passion as an activist!


I hate to be a buzz kill, but isn't this kind of romanticizing coming out? I've noticed several people have some misconceptions about gays coming out that have posted comments elsewhere.

The examples you cite Ricky Martin, Anna Paquin, Ray Ashburn, are all pretty privileged people in that they're adults and financially independent.

Coming out definitely wasn't about who I loved, but a burgeoning sexuality that was driving me insane. It burned. I came out angry and swinging, because I had to...it wasn't pretty.

Harvey Milk was shot 5 times, twice in the head. Some people reading this don't know that and are under the impression that it's a piece of cake, and a privilege to have the choice. That if we wanted to, we could just stay home and live quietly with our partners.

I didn't come out for marriage, I came out to breathe. I'd like to believe it's easier now, except my 15 year old nephew, who's really effeminate and talks with a lisp, has conversion disorder and pees blood because his blood pressure's so high.

Sorry...it just makes it harder for trans folk to know where we're coming from if we gloss over where we came from.

Coming out is not easy. It can also be dangerous. I have been threatened and attacked because of my sexual orienation and my gender presentation. But despite that, I know that my coming out has made a huge difference in the world, because despite the fear and the danger, I've stood in my truth. I would rather any day deal with external homophobia/trans phobia than to hide and limit my freedom or to let someone else define for me who or how I can be.

There are support groups, professionals, and spiritual communities that can support your nephew and others like him who need support. We can support each other is being out and being with the pros and cons of outness. However, I agree with Harvey Milk that we are meant to come out and I know that Harvey Milk was prepared to die and in the face of death, he like Dr. King, made a choice to stand up for equality, so that others could be free!

I maintain that "You can do it!" and if you need support in the coming out and staying out process, reach out, you don't have to do this alone.