The massacre in Orlando has inspired some people to come out.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Just hours after the music at the Pulse nightclub was interrupted by the roar of gunfire, a teenager with a nose stud and tight jeans peered across his dinner table here. “Dad,” Carvin Casillas said, “I’m kind of gay.”
The worst mass shooting in United States history by a single perpetrator, which left 49 people dead and 53 injured, has sent the nation reeling and ignited heated conversations about firearm access, terrorism and homophobia. It has also had the incidental effect of pushing some gay people in this increasingly Latino community out of the closet.
Some had their sexuality revealed by accident: Gertrude Merced learned that her 25-year-old son, Enrique, was gay only after she heard the news of his death. Others, though, have chosen to expose their inner lives, stirred by the outpouring of support for Orlando’s gay community or wrought with sorrow and unable to keep their secrets in anymore.
“I just had to let them know,” said Mr. Casillas, 19, a soon-to-be college freshman who had been dancing at Pulse for more than year, unbeknown to his Puerto Rican father and Cuban mother. His mother had raised him in a church where parishioners learned that gay people went to hell.
“This is getting to be a bigger part of me every day that passes on,” he said of his sexuality. “I didn’t know if I was going to be able to keep that from my family.”
It is up to each person as to how to deal with their coming out, and it’s sad that it took a tragedy to bring some like Carvin Casillas to make the decision to open up to his parents, but it’s worse when they keep it in.
Not every person who is LGBT can come out publicly, either because of their family situation or it may just not be in their nature to announce it to the world, but coming out to yourself first is the most important step. Believe it or not, the rest is easier.