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The Courage To Come Out
By: Therese Jansen

How did you tell them? -- What did they say? -- Was it worth it? -- It's nobody's business! -- Did they hate you?

You can always tell when someone is thinking of coming out - to themselves, to family or friends, or (gulp) to their boss. Suddenly they start collecting everyone's stories -- obviously hoping the positive stories out weigh the bad. It gives new meaning to one outta two, nah, three outta five.

We all have our own stories, of course. Everyone has at least one small part of the story that is different from anyone else's story. It is what makes us a little bit different. So we share every gem, as well as the gore. It is the one time we are all completely honest with each other, as well as completely open.

Except when we are online. For some reason we are more fearful online -- or perhaps fewer of us online folks are out in our real life? I think we all assume that someone in a chat room with the word Lesbian in the title, is living as an out lesbian or bisexual woman. I mean, that is a pretty bold statement!

We need to remember that the people in chat and in the forum may be using an alias instead of their own name. These people may not be out in real life. This may be the only place where they can be out, for whatever the reason.

No one has to have a reason for being out, or not being out. We all need to keep in mind that what is happening in someone's real life may not translate into when they are mixing with other lesbians online.

Be gentle with each other and never assume...

Until next time...

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