Coming out can be a challenging process. With the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell act enacted by President Bill Clinton in the 1990’s, many servicemen and women decided it was time to reveal their sexuality to their families. One such young man, Randy Phillips, came out to his parents over the phone, one at a time, on the day DADT was finally repealed. Coming out can be a daunting process. Phillips’ concerns, as is the case with many gay and lesbian individuals, were whether his parents would still continue their family relationships with him. Fear of losing a family member’s love often fuels the desire to stay away from coming out altogether.
Coming out involves a variety of stages. Many individuals in the gay and lesbian community often come out to friends before they share their sexuality with their closest family members. In the case of Airman 1st Class Randy Phillips, he decided to share his sexuality in the wake of the repeal of the infamous Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy enacted with the idea of keeping homosexuals in the closet as they served their country throughout the United States and overseas. Despite their obvious exposure to risks, they were discouraged to share their sexuality with others, thus depriving them of being open about their relationships with family and friends while working for the United States, something that often resulted in a severely impacted social support system.
Watch the video of Randy Phillps coming out to his mother here.
After having come out to his father in an earlier phone call and subsequent viral video, Phillips decided the next step was to come out to his mother. In a LGBTQ nation article, US Airman 1st Class Randy Phillips is quoted as he came out to his mother on the day DADT was repealed in September 2011:
“I just want to know if you still love and are still proud of me to be your son. That’s all I want — I can’t expect anything else.”
Fears of being rejected by family members is a real fear held by many in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community. As a nation, it is vital to recognize that social support, especially for the servicemen and women serving the nation through their sacrifices in the military, should not be subjected to judgment based on sexuality. Serving the country should be enough in and of itself. Since the repeal of DADT, many servicemen and women have taken to coming out to their friends and family. Many have also decided to get married. How has this impacted the United States? The data is yet to get collected. But surely, the improved social support for these families will prove invaluable. Have thoughts on this article you’d like to share? Leave a comment below or connect via Twitter or Facebook!