Living life in the margins, in the intersections, in the squeezed places, is about navigating the layers of power and control and how those layers interplay. The more I read from black feminists, from autistic self-advocates, from queer people of color, the more I realize how little I understand about the power structures in which I’m embedded. Privilege is invisible to those who have it. As a conscientious teacher and graduate student, I am a work in progress.

“Coming Out” is an act of vulnerability. Through high school and college, several friends came out privately as gay, lesbian, or bisexual; they trusted that I would not use the information to control, manipulate, or otherwise use this new power imbalance against them.

Going Out is an act of vulnerability in a world designed to keep power in the hands of the powerful and to keep the rest of us quiet.

I’d like this page to be empowering, to be vulnerable and assertive, but no matter how I formulate my thoughts, they are still the words of a middle-class, college-educated white person. There are things I will never understand. And even the times when I am part of a disadvantaged group, it would be fairly presumptuous of me think my ampersands are nearly as cramped as those I see around me.

It's not the same as Coming Out
 as a woman
 with two mental health diagnoses

 with a history of disordered eating
 who has made peace with her body
 at least for this week

 as decisively nonviolent
 in a militarized world
 a conscientious objector
 who has never held a gun
 (and never plans to)
 in a state that sold out its guns and ammo
 when Obama got reelected

 as a vegetarian
 who grew up on a cattle farm

 as a special education teacher
 who blacked-out the chapters on Skinner and Pavlov

 as a recovering Lutheran
 learning to live without the guilt 
 as a recovering Patriotic Evangelical
 who now attends a peace church
 doesn't say the Pledge
 and got a divorce
 as a bit of a liberal
 in a red red red state

I am going Out

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