Today is National Coming Out Day. As you know, I am in Arkansas but I went to a very liberal liberal arts college that celebrated Coming Out day with a dance every year I was there. In fact, the “joke slogan” of my college is “where the women are women and so are the men.”

I have seen the personal power that someone gains from being able to release some inner shame and tell the world exactly who they are. I have seen the shame associated with hiding. I have also seen the pain that comes from coming out and not being accepted by family and friends. In fact, I know someone who committed suicide in no small part due to his mother’s reaction.

It’s not feat coming out in these times. For every, it gets better campaign video, there are tens and hundreds of tales of bullying. Even people old enough to know better say hateful things like “gays should kill themselves” (hey Clint McCance). It’s not a small feat to come out in spite of these obstacles.

For each person who does so, I salute you. And there’s a lot of support out in the light once you get out here folks. There really is.