A NOTE FROM US.
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.