By Guest Blogger: Eric Yoak
Coming out in the recent years has been a lot different than coming out of the closet at any other times. With the introduction of the internet, it is so much easier for people struggling with their sexuality or gender to find others who are dealing with the same things and find resources to better help them understand their issues. For those who aren’t struggling with their selves, it is easier to find information to better understand those who do.
There is also a huge generation gap in terms of who are the ones trying to make themselves visible. In the past, it has always been white, cis-gender men who make the rules and usually reap the benefits. In recent years, there is more of an understanding of diversity and a tolerance to have everyone be treated equally. There have been more vocal stances taken by the younger generation to be treated better than their older counterparts were. With movements like #BlackLivesMatter, issues like Kim Davis refusing marriage licenses, it is very much a pit led by a younger generation to have a better world because these issues are important.
Coming out now is both a blessing and a curse. There is more understanding between more people and there is more of a way for them to be accepted and find more people like them. However, there is a bigger platform for scrutiny. Any move someone makes can be posted online with or without their knowledge. People are forced out of the closet with pictures, videos, text message screenshots, Grindr profiles, and more. While there is more of a tolerance for people, America is still led in the sense of a White-Privileged, Patriarchal, Hetero-normative society. Any sense of femininity or homosexuality can destroy the male ego, which is already so fragile.
The older generation has been used to so many things going their way for so long, they are stubborn for things to change. People used to hide in bars, have to be a friend of Dorothy, use handkerchiefs, or cruise to be themselves. Now, it’s as easy as a Facebook status to make yourself known. Since they didn’t used to have to see it everyday, the older generation can be offended or go as far as saying their rights are infringed upon by the other people being granted rights.
The younger generation is a force to be reckoned with; myself included. We are fed up not being able to be ourselves. We need information. We need representation. We need our lives to be safe and happy. People are coming out younger and younger these days. People are able to access the information to help themselves. People are beginning to understand that there is nothing wrong with them, which makes coming out easier.
The younger generation is here and queer. Get used to it.
Eric Yoak is a fifth year at Morehead State University. Originally from Willard, KY, he studies Strategic Communications. He has served as a board member for Campus Pride Board of Directors, performed on stage in the original production, Cleaning Closets, and hosted LGBT events since beginning his college career.