The “Closet” is OK, But Here’s an Alternate Floorplan-Based Metaphor for Coming Out
November 10, 2014 by Andrew Marin
The following post is by Jason Bilbrey, our Director of Pastoral Care here at The Marin Foundation. You can read more from Jason at his blog,www.jasonbilbrey.com or follow him on Twitter at @JasonBilbrey.
The term “coming out” is an interesting phrase (with a long and fascinating history that you can find out about here). The imagery associated with it is one of emerging from a closet (a place of hiding) into a room (a shared space). It’s moving from a private space to a public one. It implies a decisive moment for an LGBTQ person. One minute their sexual orientation or gender identity is a secret, and the next it isn’t.
I’m not so sure about this metaphor. When a loved one comes out to us, they’re not stepping into our world. They’re inviting us to step into theirs.
In contrast to the “closet,” let me offer my own floorplan-based metaphor. When someone says, “I’m gay” or “I like other girls” or “I was born into the wrong body,” it’s an invitation to come into their house. This is where they live. This is their space.
So what kind of guest are you going to be?
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