Be the Mercedes to Someone’s Kurt

This week, the HPA staff celebrated National Coming Out Day. If you follow us on Twitter and Facebook (and if you don’t, you should), we drowned your newsfeed with #ComingOut tweets and updates. Lauren and Julian both posted fantastic vlogs up on the HPA Youtube channel. Heather posted a beautiful blog on Tuesday about coming out as a straight ally. I, too, am a straight ally. While I fight for the rights of the LGBTQ community, while I have friends that are part of that community who I will stand up for in a heartbeat, I have never had to face the personal struggle of choosing to come out.

I have seen my friends struggle with this decision. I have been the witness to many of my friends’ coming out. From second-hand experience only, I know how hard it is. But it’s likely that not everyone has experienced that struggle, second-hand or otherwise. So as I debated what to write about this week, only one thing came to mind–what has possibly become the most visible representation of the LGBTQ community’s struggle with coming out, and everything that can potentially come with it.

Glee‘s Kurt Hummel.

From the very first season of Glee, we’ve watched Kurt come into his own self-identification. We’ve seen him deal with bullying and having his first relationship and trying to feel comfortable being himself. But I want to think for a moment, way back to the beginning, when we were watching him struggle with the decision to come out. I remember clearly the exact moment when he first came out to someone. It was to Mercedes, after she got upset that he didn’t want to date her. But Mercedes was the first person he trusted with what was then his secret. And her response was not one of shock, dismay,or anger–she was only supportive, and encouraged him to tell others. Even though it took Kurt a little while longer before he came out to more people, he still had Mercedes’s love and support until he chose to.

Perhaps this week, a friend or family member came out to you. Perhaps you are the Mercedes to someone’s Kurt. I hope that you were able to be as supportive as Mercedes was. Coming Out Day isn’t just about coming out as LGBTQ or as a straight ally. It’s also about being supportive of those who do choose to come out, whether that specific day or this week or this month or some other time. Coming out is a big step, and if someone puts their trust in you enough to come out to you, I hope you let them know how much you love them.

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