Hey, guess what! Today is Celebrate Bisexuality Day! It’s a day for us to celebrate bisexual people and their bisexualness!
Also? I find my spell-checker hilarious:
Anyway, September 23rd is Celebrate Bisexuality Day and right around the corner from that is Coming Out Day on October 11th. Around this time of year, for those of us in the LGBTQ+ community, it is customary to ask oneself, should I come out on my blog or in my business?
So let’s look at your coming out options. At the macro level, you’ve got three.
(Also, editorial note – I have done a mediocre job of making sure I cover as many of the LGBTQ+ community’s experiences here – gay, bi, trans, etc. But in a world where OKCupid has 22 gender options, I’m not under any illusions that I’ve covered the gamut. Please forgive me in advance.)
Coming Out Option #1: Come out LOUD.
When it comes to coming out, this tends to be the most obvious and visible solution. In this option, you make a soulful, personal, extremely detailed blog post. (A video will work if you’re, you know, making videos.)
You send an email about it.
You go on Facebook and Instagram and hold a Versailles-worthy court.
Basically, you tell everybody everything in a big ass gay spectacle and then people give you lots and lots of attention.
Pros of this option are:
1. Many people think this is good for “the cause” and LGBTQ+ visibility and normalization.
If you are blazingly clear about your gender, sexuality, preferences, orientation, etc, you are one more voice saying, “This is normal, y’all!”
Every person who comes out loud makes it a little bit easier for other people to come out, loud or otherwise.
Every person who comes out loud might be the person who helps a stranger discover or put words to their sexuality and orientation.
Every person who comes out loud means the next person has to be a little bit less brave.
Behold, the inimitable K-Stew broadcasting her gayness. To Donald Trump. On Saturday Night Live.
If a gif isn’t enough, you might want to watch the whole thing. Whoa.
2. Other queerdos and friends of the LGBTQ+ community might like you more.
Some people like supporting LGBTQ+ people. Sometimes it’s because it makes them feel like a good person. Sometimes it’s because they’re also part of that community, and we like shopping with people who are just like us.
It can be a bonding and resonant experience, finding out someone you follow online is a part of your own community in ways you didn’t realize.
On a less Kumbaya note, being a part of any visible community can be good for reach and platform because it gets you press you might not otherwise get. Let’s face it, you’re not going to make the list of most eligible celesbians if nobody knows you’re gay. Aunt Petunia is on that list, for God’s sake. Did you think you’d be reading about her today? No, you did not. And if she was straight, you wouldn’t have.
So there’s an argument that blasting your gender and sexuality all around the interwebs could get you business you wouldn’t otherwise get. Crass, but potentially true.
Cons of this option are:
1. Some people hate gays.
There are people on earth who still think “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!” is the height of comedic genius. Some of those people might be your customers, and they’ll stop buying your widgets once they find out you’re on Team Ellen.
2. Coming out publicly – as in, sending a push notification to 60,000 email subscribers – is drawing a tremendous amount of attention to yourself about something that is not the primary topic of your business.
Some people find that annoying AF. This is especially true if you send a tearful follow-up post thanking your “tribe” for their “outpouring” of “support”. (It’s always an outpouring.) There are some people who are infinitely supportive of you, in all your rainbow glory, but they were here for the keto snacks, not for the crying.
Coming Out Option #2: Not sayin’ nuthin’.
On the other hand, you could go the other way entirely and stay solidly in the closet. If you’re an average, normal blogger or ittybiz owner, it’s not like everyone’s sitting around thinking about your gender or your sex life. So if you don’t want to say anything, it’s not like you have to. It’s not like they’re going to come out with a new version of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell called…
Maybe your mother reads your blog and you don’t want her to know you’re gay or trans or bi or whatever.
Maybe you live in a horrible place where they’re mean to the non-cis-hetero crowd.
Maybe you’re angling for that contract with the US Military.
There are plenty of reasons you might not want to go blasting personal information all around the internet.
Pros of this option are:
1. You don’t have to talk about sex and stuff in public.
The unfortunate truth of the matter is that many people still associate LGBTQ+ stuff with either sex or genitalia. That is a bigger issue than we have time to get into today. Many people don’t want to talk about that stuff, and many more don’t want to hear about it.
Honestly? Making too big a fuss out of being queer in a non-activism environment can be annoying, even among members of the community. I mean… most people didn’t care that you were sleeping with your husband. They still don’t care that you’re sleeping with your wife.
2. It eliminates safety concerns.
If you’re concerned about your safety in coming out, not coming out does a pretty good job of alleviating those concerns.
It’s all well and good to help “the cause”, but this cause isn’t looking for martyrs. My gas station ran ads for gay pride month. This isn’t exactly the early suffragette movement anymore. Nobody, regardless of their sexuality or gender, wants you to suffer for the cause.
Cons of this option:
1. You may feel permanently inauthentic.
When we keep a secret, even a secret we’re pretty sure nobody minds, it can hang like a specter over our heads. It becomes the everything. So not coming out can end up being a bigger buzz-kill on your life than coming out ever would be.
2. “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither.”
Granted, Benjamin Franklin was talking about taxation and defense spending and referring to one wealthy family. (The Penns. Of Pennsylvania. I’m not kidding.) But there is an argument to be made that in this political climate, keeping your mouth shut to stay “safe” isn’t the done thing.
Coming Out Option #3: Show, Don’t Tell.
In this option, you make it really, really, really obvious… but don’t send a push notification.
Talk about your wife. Repeatedly. A lot. With photos. Of kissing.
Talk about what a bitch it is to find stilettos in a size 47.
Wear this shirt.
Here, you're making sure everyone who could possibly care (or not!) knows… but you never explicitly tell them.
This is not about keeping mum out of secretiveness. Once you're 6'4″, 320 pounds and rocking a pair of Manolos, the cat really is out of the bag. This is about not interrupting people in the middle of what they were doing with an email that says, “I’m actually a man! Surprise!”
Pros of this method:
1. It never disrupts a narrative.
There are a lot of times in life and business where it’s not prudent to stop everything and make a pronouncement. Yes, you can use your growing public platform as an activism tool, and that can be really cool. But sometimes it’s just not the time.
If I’m in the middle of your onboarding sequence, two emails before the pitch, that is not the time to send me an email that reads “BISEXUAL ≠ SLUT” I mean, I agree with you, but I’m kinda in a rhythm here.
Plus (and as a millennial this is very difficult for me to accept) – people have their own lives. They just got a new puppy or their aloe vera plant died, and they're going to Facebook for their outpouring of support – they don’t necessarily want to hear your shit right now.
One of the most important elements of public relations is controlling the timing of your message. This ensures the timing of your announcement perfectly, in that there is no announcement to time.
2. It’s good for lazy people.
You never have to figure out how to say anything because you don’t actually say anything! Just buy your wife a bikini, give her a few daiquiris, and put the resulting pictures on your business Facebook page. BAM! YOU’RE GAY!
Sometimes, whether it’s because we have bigger stuff going on or just because we’re not in the mood to think, it’s nice to not have to say anything, but have the thing still get said.
Bikini + Daiquiri = Hall pass.
Con to this method (only one this time!):
1. It doesn’t work for brands that never broadcast personal information.
If you don’t talk about yourself as a person at all, you can’t talk about yourself as a person about this. Nobody was hearing anything about your personal life to begin with, so personal details now would be absurd. You would de facto draw attention to it, which would defeat the purpose.
That’s really the only con to this option. If you don’t do anything, you can’t do it wrong.
So… should you come out on your blog?
In an ideal world, one of these options should be pretty resonant for you. And honestly, you probably know what you want to do anyway – you're just nervous about whether or not it's the right thing.
Regardless of which option you go with, take a second today to honor our totally amazing siblings, of today and times gone by, who have made it even possible for us to talk about this. And since it's Bisexuality Celebration Day… if you're bi?
WE CELEBRATE YOU, BABY.
Things you can do next…
- Explore a bajillion posts on the Start Here page
- Hop on the mailing list to hear about new blog posts
- See cats giving business advice on Instagram