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Come out, come out

February 13, 2013

After literally decades of struggle and suffering, folks in the LGBT (etc.) community can finally point to some strong, concrete gains in their quest for social recognition, acceptance and respect. The notion of marriage equality is gaining support across the nation, the military’s “don’t ask don’t tell” policy is now just a vague memory, and even the Boy Scouts of America have begun reconsidering their homophobic stance. More than at any time in recent history, they can feel the freedom to be exactly who they are, and no longer worry about concealing themselves behind an artificial facade.

And they aren’t alone. From women serving in the military to Hispanics serving in Congress, from undocumented workers to fans of “The Love Boat,” the members of many previously disparaged or disempowered minorities are emerging from the shadows, finding each other and standing together to assert their unique and distinctive selves, and claiming their rightful places in the rich, spicy gumbo that is our modern American society.

But we still have a long way to go. Too many of our fellow citizens still labor under the illusion that somehow, they are not good enough just as they are, and that they must therefore deny their true nature, and represent themselves as something that they really are not. We, all of us, as Americans and as fellow human beings, need to reach out to these people, support them in their quest for identity, and create safe social spaces for them so they can fully embrace both their heritages and their destinies. Let them no longer feel reticent to share their strivings for self-realization and the achievement of their dreams, but let them come right out and declare their most heartfelt wishes.

Take corporate executives, for example. How much energy and effort they needlessly expend to make themselves seem caring and compassionate about the everyday lives of their employees, when any worker knows the hard bottom-line realities they must face every day. Let us tell them, “We do understand the pressures on you, you first-class fliers! We know how hard it must be to face the investors on those weekly conference calls, to couch the true nature of the marketplace in glib platitudes! Go ahead, come out and say it, CEO’s—as long as greater profit can be realized for shareholders (and greater bonuses for yourselves) by squeezing workers more tightly, locking down their wages and pushing ever-greater workloads onto them, by golly, you’ll do it.”

There now, isn’t that liberating?