What are we hiding from the rest of the world? Apparently, 20-year U.S. Navy SEALs veteran Chris Beck was hiding that he was, deep down, a woman. Coming out about this was, I suspect, no easy task. After all, gender roles are paramount in modern society – why else would drag shows be so damn entertaining? I cannot even fathom the courage it took for a man in ostensibly one of the most “masculine” identities ever to then open up and expose his true self. I am awed at that courage and can only think that the world would be a better place with more truth.
How much does the truth cost?
In a previous post, I asked how we, as a society, can encourage people to open up, own their identities, and live without fear. I don’t know the answer – but I did receive a creative suggestion that I’d like to move forward on.
I want to offer a $1000 Coming Out Award to someone who is being dishonest with others about his/her lifestyle, beliefs, or identity because of fear of being judged, criticized, ostracized, abused, or bullied. Why am I offering this? Because I think openness, honesty, and acceptance are good things, and I want to encourage them.
- The contest is open to anyone in the DC metro area who is not living honestly about his/her lifestyle, beliefs, or identity because of fear of being judged, criticized, ostracized, abused, or bullied. This includes, but is not limited to, people are being dishonest about their identities, sexual lifestyles or desires, relationship style, political views, religious views, and so forth.
- Each applicant must send me a description of how s/he satisfies the goals of this contest, to comeout at drewfrederick dot com, on or before Sunday, June 16, 2013. Finalists will be contacted and interviewed. All applicants will remain anonymous, except for the winner (discussed below). All serious applicants will receive a reply.
- If you win, you must be willing to come out to everyone – family, friends, colleagues, etc. If your identity is not legally protected and coming out would legitimately compromise your job or freedom, please let me know. You must consent to being filmed as you come out, and this footage may be used in a documentary, television show, or other media, including my blog.
- The $1000 prize money will be donated to the charity of your choice, under your name. I will also throw a modest coming out party for you and your closest friends, because you are awesome.
- Please be honest. If you’ve already come out, kudos to you and your bravery! The purpose of this award is to give a hesitant person that needed nudge to finally start being honest about his/her identity. Let’s save this award for someone who really, really, really wants to come out but hasn’t yet found the courage.
- My decisions are final.
Also, if there’s anyone who would simply like to take this opportunity to come out, with or without winning the award, please feel free to send me your story/video/whatever and let me know that you’d like it to be published on my blog.
Yes, I realize some will find this award to be patently offensive: “Coming out,” they will say, “is a deeply personal decision.” I get that. Some are motivated by loving friends. Some are motivated by moving rhetoric. Some simply wake up one day and say, “Fuck it. I am who I am and it’s time to tell the world.” But there are some who have been on the fence for years and simply need that extra push. Let this be that push.