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On Coming out with a Bang
Genora Dancel responds to a query about "coming out" in law school

Reprinted with permission

Out as you wanna be

First of all, I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Genora Dancel, lead plaintiff in the Hawaii Same Sex Marriage case. I've managed to do my activism in a profound way. I'm just responding to your post and to those who have the very same questions and concerns. First of all, if one is true in their heart to what and who they are, then coming out is not an issue. It is what you do with your own fears and how you project to others that being closeted is a dead end, senseless place to be. Gaining support, feedback, motivation from those who will support your honesty is fine, but you must first give that to yourself above all. I've known that I was a baby dyke since I was five. So, you can imagine that I've gone through all the good and bad in life when it involved my sexual orientation. When you're in the closet, consider yourself lifeless. Think about it, you've given everyone else control of your life (i.e. politicians, friends, family, employer, love interests-of the wrong kind, you get the picture). You may feel that the world hates you because of your sexual orientation, but the biggest and best relationships I've had got even better. I've gained more friends and respect being out than I could ever dream of, hiding in the closet alone. Yes, I've made millions upset, from anti gay bills introduced in all fifty states -- all the way to President Clinton signing of the DOMA bill just last year.


I came "OUT" on the front page of the paper, every lead story of the evening news at every television station in Hawaii, December 17, 1990. Since then, there was NO turning back. Yes, I could have been fired from both of my full time jobs, disowned by family and friends but what kept me from being crucified was that I wasn't going to lie to and about myself anymore. Believe me, it got easier. I then spent years (using all of my vacation time) talking to students from fourth graders all the way up to law students, most of whom are straight anyway.

When you talk to a colleague, or anyone who is probably going to 'argue' with you about the issue, remember what makes a good argument, what makes a good lawyer, what makes a more confident you. When you stop thinking about what others may think of you, your fears and acceptance issues, that would be the day, you slam dunk all three.

P.S., I've met literally thousands of law students, dedicated lawyers and, highly regarded profs. Your support is "OUT" there, you just haven't met them yet.

Good luck and Aloha!
Genora Dancel



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