Gay Times Magazine - - NEWS -

There’s a com­mon mis­con­cep­tion in our so­ci­ety that once some­one comes out, that’s it, they’re free and can go on to live an open and un­apolo­getic life. As LGBTQ peo­ple, we all know too well that that is rarely the case. Pub­licly dis­clos­ing our gen­der or sex­ual iden­tity is merely the first step of be­com­ing who we were al­ways meant to be. There is years of con­di­tion­ing, op­pres­sion, and fear to de­con­struct, to rid our­selves of, and a whole new psy­chol­ogy of self-worth, con­fi­dence, and pride that we need to learn.

It’s why Na­tional Com­ing Out Day – which took place in Oc­to­ber – is so im­por­tant. It should not be seen as an oc­ca­sion to pres­sure LGBTQ peo­ple into com­ing out be­fore they are ready, but rather an op­por­tu­nity for those of us who have come out of the other side to re­as­sure the next gen­er­a­tion that there’s a whole com­mu­nity out here ready to sup­port them. It’s a day to share our ex­pe­ri­ences – the good and the bad – with the mes­sage that it does get bet­ter. You can be LGBTQ and thrive.

In a per­fect world we wouldn’t need to come out. But as it is, that utopia is a way off yet. In the mean­time it’s im­por­tant that peo­ple’s com­ing out ex­pe­ri­ences are doc­u­mented, so the next gen­er­a­tion can learn from them, be in­spired by them, and most im­por­tantly know that they are not alone.

In the Novem­ber is­sue of Gay Times, for­mer Dis­ney star and King Co­bra ac­tor, Gar­rett Clay­ton, speaks on record for the first time about his com­ing out ex­pe­ri­ence. Ear­lier this year he told his 1.4 mil­lion fol­low­ers on so­cial me­dia that he is in a re­la­tion­ship with a man, but here he speaks about his fam­ily’s re­ac­tion to him be­ing gay. He also un­packs the treat­ment he’s re­ceived in Hol­ly­wood, and how he’s had to nav­i­gate an in­dus­try that wrongly places the high­est value on mas­culin­ity.

As part of our his­toric Gaysians cover – where we bring to­gether ten prom­i­nent and in­spir­ing queer Asians – each one speaks about how they nav­i­gated their com­ing out jour­ney while liv­ing at the in­ter­sec­tion of their sex­ual and racial iden­tity. As you’ll read, they’ve all had very dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences, but none of them have let it de­fine them. Each of them con­tinue to be lead­ers in their re­spec­tive fields, prov­ing that what doesn’t kill you cer­tainly makes you stronger.

We also have Ge­orge Shel­ley in con­ver­sa­tion with Sir Ian McK­ellen, speak­ing can­didly about his own jour­ney to be­ing an openly gay man in the spot­light. The singer-song­writer dives deep into his up­bring­ing and how the pres­sures of be­ing from a small sea­side town, and then in an X Fac­tor boy­band, caused him to sup­press his au­then­tic self. His out­look on life now is heart­en­ing, as he pledges to use his plat­form to make sure no more kids out there have to suf­fer what he did.

And fi­nally, we have Moschino cre­ative di­rec­tor Jeremy Scott in con­ver­sa­tion with Adam Rip­pon. The fash­ion de­signer re­flects on a child­hood where he re­ceived abuse at school for just be­ing who he is. As we all know, he de­fied the bul­lies to be­come one of the most cel­e­brated tal­ents out there, rub­bing shoul­ders with Madonna, and us­ing his po­si­tion to pro­mote LGBTQ vis­i­bil­ity.

All of our cover sto­ries – along with all of queer bril­liance that adorns the pages ahead – is proof that com­ing out is just the first step, and what comes next is dis­cov­er­ing the best ver­sion of your­self. That’s why we’re such a re­silient, cre­ative, and coura­geous com­mu­nity – and we should never for­get it.

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