Should we drop the term “coming out?” David Johns has some thoughts.
David Johns is the executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition. He is constantly facing issues of social justice. As such, he knows a thing or two about societal pressure. But does that relate to LGBTQ life? He says so, and he has a thing or two to say about the issue. And he said them in a recently released video titled “Why Some Black LGBTQIA+ Folks Are Done ‘Coming Out.’”
Johns first explained that the idea of coming out is not an option for some QPOC. Specifically, with Black people, he acknowledges a congregation in the American South. Many of these states, however, have laws that have yet to decriminalize discrimination based on sexual orientation. As such, he is advocating for converting over to the term “inviting in.”
“For us, the idea of inviting in people means that once you do the work required to demonstrate that you are competent and compassionate, I can share, or we can share with you, parts of who we are. Including who we love or other things that you might need to know about our identities.”
Johns then explains further that “inviting in” is important because it highlights the importance of accountability in conversations and sharing personal information.
“I don’t owe you an explanation in who I love, however, if you do the work required, then we might be able to engage in this conversation when I will invite you in. And the hope is that if I invite you in, you will invite me in as well. And we can have conversations about things that are important to you, but otherwise might be difficult for you to think about discussing.”
It’s true that in the past few years, coming out has stopped being about individuals and more about the public’s views on the issue of sexuality. Specifically, an emphasis on sensationalism has developed around coming out. This is especially true when thinking about media and online interest in coming out stories. In fact, many celebrities who lightly touch on issues about sexuality often have their words spun into “coming out” headlines. And let’s be honest, this is primarily for the purpose of generating clicks and money.
What David Johns is suggesting is returning to making the situation about an individual’s experience again. Not about the general public’s views on one’s sexuality.
But do you agree? What do you think about the “inviting in” phrase? Let us known in the comments below.