Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Advice To A Young Queer On National Coming Out Day

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | April 25, 2011 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Dane Kuttler, National Coming Out Day

Poem by Dane Kuttler:


1 - Learn to dance; it is your birthright and your heritage.
2 - Be proud of who you are, and we will be proud with you.
3 - If coming out to your parents is a stupid idea, for whatever reason, don't let us talk you into it.

Don't be swayed by our tshirts,
our cyberspace proclamations,
or our bullhorns - be smart.
If you live in a home with no doors,
don't set off the dynamite.
If you go to a school with more guns
than teachers,
don't paint yourself the target.

Staying in the closet does not make you a liar or a coward.
It is not your job to be the lone outpost
of unabashed queerdom, wherever you are.
You are only responsible for keeping yourself alive and sane,
and if that means coming out
despite broken teeth and bloodied fists - we wish you luck.
We understand.

I've pretended to be
the roommate, the close friend
in front of my lovers' parents,
and I do not begrudge them an ounce of their survival.

Listen, little hero, we love our martyrs:
our Harvey Milks, our Matthew Shepherds,
our Tyler Clementis, our gunshots
and bridges and fences.
We are so good at mourning,
but our vigils only comfort the breathing.

We are not coming
to your snarling school, your ice-crusted home,
your barbeque-firework town.
We are waiting for you, little hero,
in our sleepless cities and villages
at the end of the rainbow.
The ordeal and the enemies are worth it,
we will tell you.

But we are not as brave
as we tell you to be.

My own grandmother loves me more
when I only tell half the truth.
I do not begrudge you your survival.
You have permission to take care of yourself,
whether that means chatrooms, or knife blades,
or secret closets of the clothes you want to wear.

4 - Stay alive. Stay sane.
You don't owe us
anything.


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Brilliant! Words of reason that sadly don't always get spoken enough.

For the most part great words said very well. But I would never spread this poem and lose all respect for it over 3 words in one line.

whether that means chatrooms, or knife blades

Telling someone it is ok to resort to knife blades is never acceptable. I can see where the good intent may be where resorting to knife blades in the past is ok and you got help so great. But resorting to knife blades as a way to take care of yourself to me is encouraging suicide.

I have pulled out the knife before. I wish I never did, but I did. It is certainly not something that should be encourage or approved of and something I wish nobody ever had to experience.

Yes. Absolutely! The only thing I'd add is, while you're playing the role of "good son" or "good citizen" or "nice, harmless straight boy," don't lose sight of the self that actually lives inside. Don't kill off the authentic part of you that will one day get to come out to play once it's safe. Just let him sleep a while longer.

I love this poem.

@Chris, if it's how you stay sane, it's how you stay sane. In college, I had a lot of self destructive behavior because it was the only thing keeping me going. I agree that it shouldn't be encouraged, but I think it takes a lot more than that to make someone do it. Saying "we understand if this is how you cope" is a harm reduction viewpoint. Cutting is different from suicide. Maybe you regret it, but for me it was just a symptom of how awful things were, and not a demon in itself.

Did I start a trend with poetry last week? We didn't run any on TBP till then and now here's another one!

Gosh darn poets are everywhere, digging up the vegetables and eating the flowers. Begone, dratted poets! Where's the durn chicken wire?

Eric Payne | April 26, 2011 4:14 PM

It's October, already? Wow, this year is just flying by.

What a lucky fellow you are. I suppose if you read a poem about Christmas, then that day would be Christmas, too!