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December 8, 2019

Out and Proud

by Lisa Koenecke

Welcome to the letter “O” of LBGTQ Resources A-Z. As a disclaimer, everyOne Owns their Own coming Out story, I will give you a glimpse into my story. Thanks for Opening this article.

In the LGBTQ world, we are born this way (just ask Lady Gaga), yet some of us stay in the closet for safety and to not be Ostracized. Coming Out is a process, not just a one-time event. The privilege I have is the color of my skin and my lot in life. I don’t HAVE to come Out to people. You can’t see gay like you can see skin color or ability. That’s where the being in the closet comes in.

From Urban dictionary, in the closet is a term used to describe a homosexual person who has not told anyone of their sexual orientation. I was in the closet until my sister told me I was gay. Yep, true story! It was Thanksgiving 1996 and I was 27 years old. Kind of a late bloomer — I know, I kno!. All I remember is that my sister said, “That’s because you’re gay. Please pass the carrots.” I started crying. It actually made a lot of sense after I stopped to think about it. The END. Well, not really. I like carrots!

Please read my blog on Coming Out for more information!

A rainbow road…a true journey

For a long time I wasn’t OUT to my students as a middle school counselor. After having a 7th grade student tell me it was easier pretending to be a boy than it was to be gay in the small town we were in, I needed to do something differently. The difficult part for me was being afraid to lose my job because I was gay. I was also a girl’s basketball coach and refused to ever go into the locker room so I wouldn’t get accused of anything. I wanted people to respect me as a school counselor…who just happened to be gay. Every time a started in a new school district, I had to do my research to see if they were open and affirming of my lifestyle. This was Not always fun!

I am happy to say that I am now OUT and proud, which isn’t to say that everyone I meet knows I’m gay. Being LGBTQ means that you have to come out daily — potentially every time you meet someone new. The stress can be too much to bear for some people. My goal with this blog is to save lives by offering resources to support our LGBTQ population. I am excited to expand my speaking career on my birthday as well as my TEDx talk on February 13th, 2019. If you’re in the area, please join us!

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog. My call to action is to NEVER NEVER OUT anyone else — it’s their story to tell. So, if someone asks you if someone is gay, bisexual, transgender, etc…you tell that person to ask the source. Even if you know, it is NOT your story to tell. NEVER out anyone!

~Lisa from Wisconsin (Lady Rainbow)

Read more from LGBT Resources A to Z

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