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Volume 68, Issue 152, Monday, June 30, 2003


Coming out is all about sass

Zach Lee
Opinion Columnist

I went to the Gay Pride Parade on Saturday, and one thing stood out above the countless rainbow flags. It was a place where people dropped all masks and were decidedly real. Anticipation of the parade combined with the Westheimer Street Festival to create an atmosphere in which even the most timid closet case could sway his hips and say something sassy.

Stereotypes aside, some people were proudly wearing clothes that common courtesy should force them away from, but in their bad fashion sense there was a small rebellion, a rejection of the idea that the majority rules.

There were drag queens, bull dykes and fairies, but they were all more proud of themselves than most people ever are. Most of us hide by trying out for football, joining the debate squad or going Greek. The people at the parade weren't all gay members of a secret club. Some were straight, some were high and some were piercing something they would never tell Mom about. One thing everyone had in common was that they were all uncommon.

Someone once told me that there is no such thing as normal. I think I've finally grasped the significance of that statement. We are all different, and most of us want to be normal. So, we lock our differences up in secrets that only we and maybe our closest friends know. We laugh at the people who don't hide their differences, and we call them freaks.

The truth is that we are all freaks. We are all different. Each of us has something unique that no one else has, but most of us are terrified of the results of being real in a television world where everything is fake. We are scared to come out to our families and friends because of their expectations. So we go to a festival where no one knows us, and we let out everything we have stored inside for so long.

The problem is that this event happens only once a year, while our secrets continue to mount on our backs non-stop. As a poor college student, I don't have much to offer to the world, but I do have myself. Now, I offer myself as an example to all of you that every last one of us is a freak.

I have little secrets (I didn't kiss a girl until I was 17), and I have big secrets. If you want to know, ask me, and I will be truthful. I encourage all of you to find someone or someplace that you feel comfortable enough with to be yourself. It's no more lies. Only let the truth through now. Be proud of the way you really feel.

This isn't to say all of us are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered, but we are all hiding in our own closet. Afraid that the world will laugh at us, we resign to the cluttered company of hangars, shirts and shoes.

Maybe you really are transgendered, or maybe you just can't admit that you're an Avril Lavigne fan. Whatever your secret is, you're not alone. I know it feels lonely in the dark corners of your closet, but don't be afraid that the rest of us freaks won't accept you. Just come on out and say something sassy.

Lee, a sophomore English major, 
can be reached at


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