Today, we’re talking about coming out. Specifically…
Do minority groups have a responsibility to be vocal about who / what they are?
Show notes and links:
Sexual Prejudice: Understanding Homophobia and Heterosexism (The Center for HIV Law and Policy)
Full episode text
Being a part of any minority group is and can be very rough – sometimes at the best of times. While statistically, we are all “different” in at least a few ways, the statistical average is, quite simply, not average.
Most often, this is put in the context of non-heterosexual sexuality or non-cis gender identity. However, this same question applies to a variety of minority groups, from religious minorities to political minorities.
Research – notably Dr. Gregory Herek’s work – has shown fairly consistently that having a personal relationship with someone that is open about being a part of minority group tends to have a positive impact on an individual’s opinion of that group – especially when you have more than one of those relationships. Researchers in Canada found that being “out” or open about who you are reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and even long-term cynicism.
However, coming out or being open is not always safe nor easy. There’s a huge body of research showing there is increased stress from being a token, or from seeing no representation of those like yourself. So is there a responsibility to be out if you safely can be?