In honor of "coming out day":
I salute those who are brave enough to be themselves. In any venue, regardless of how supportive those around you are, it is an act of courage just to be you.
That said, some stand to lose A LOT more than others when they simply speak their truth. For many, simply being honest about who they're attracted to puts them in jeopardy. They risk being ostracized, disowned, and sometimes verbally or physically assaulted. People die, just for daring to admit that, through no choice of their own, they are attracted to somebody of the same gender.
It seems to me that an even greater risk lies in admitting that you don't identify with the gender your body was born into. Those who must face the decision to take steps to change their gender identity or live what feels like a lie are in a truly harrowing position, and I don't envy them for that. But I do admire them. Whatever their choice, simply admitting their situation to themselves is an act of bravery.
As a straight white man, American society at the beginning of the 21st century goes pretty damned easy on me. I can walk down almost any street without fear. I can go to a job interview with the warm understanding that my qualifications are the only considerations that will be taken into account. It takes virtually no bravery whatsoever to write this post. What could I possibly stand to lose?
The only experience I have had that comes close to a "coming out" is that of being open about my lack of a god-belief. Atheists are more hated and less trusted in America than almost any other group (one poll showed atheists on a par with rapists in terms of trustworthiness- ouch). So I guess there's that. But even though being an atheist has exposed me to very real scorn and ill-treatment, I still feel like I get off easy. It's pretty low-risk. Nobody has threatened to beat me up (yet). If I don't want you to know that I'm atheist, I have the option of simply keeping my mouth shut (a luxury not every gay or trans person has).
So here's to you, out-comers of all sorts! I support you, I honor you, and, in whatever way you need me to, I got your back.