The Steering Committee meeting was taking a short break. A bunch of us gay people gathered in the kitchen and started talking about what else – coming out. Pretty soon we were all laughing hysterically at the crazy things some of us had done when we first came out. That’s when pretty little seventeen-year-old Jenny walked up and said, “I wish I knew what you guys were talking about but, you see, I never came out.” This silenced the group because Jenny was extremely active in the gay community and almost single-handedly started the Gay-Straight Alliance at her high school. Then someone told her she’s got to be kidding. That’s when Jenny said in that whispery voice of hers, “No, I never came out because I never went into the closet. One morning I realized I was a lesbian and that afternoon I told my Mom and she said OK.” I was stunned as were all the other forty- and fifty-somethings around me. None of us had ever heard of a gay person that had never been in the closet.
That was fifteen years ago. Now I know several young gay people that have never been in the closet. I even have a word to distinguish the Jennies from everyone else. The word is “affirm” like in “Jenny affirmed her sexuality at fourteen instead of going in the closet.”