Today marks the 28th anniversary of National Coming Out Day! Here at The Academy, we wanted to acknowledge this special day by asking some of our Queer-identified faculty and visiting instructors – How was coming out as a burlesque performer different from coming out as a member of the queer community?
“I’ve lived a different experience than most as I never really “came out.” I’ve always felt kind pretty damn queer. I remember my mom asking me in high school if I was attracted to women and I think my response was a nonchalant “I don’t know, I guess!”
When I became involved in my first visibly queer relationship a lot of people asked “When did you come out?!” but I never did… and it was assumed that I’m straight.
Coming out as a stripper was more difficult. I didn’t want my family to be ashamed of me or think that I was giving up on my performance dreams. Luckily I have an incredible family who supports all of my endeavors. Clothed, nude, queer and all!”
“Coming out as a Burlesque performer was curiously more complicated for me than coming out as queer.
For instance, my whole family has accepted every queer thing about me since I came out, yet most of my extended family (liberal and conservative alike) have never come to see me in a burlesque show in the 12 years I’ve been performing, and many of them have told me that they never will.
But I keep inviting them to shows, because you never know ;)”
“Coming out isn’t something you do once and then it’s over; its something you do every time you meet someone new, start a new job, etc.
Coming Out Day is important to me because it’s not easy to be brave and tell your truth. It’s a day of solidarity where you can get and give support to those who understand the difficulty of telling your truth and becoming your authentic self.
I’m happy that at the age of 38 I can feel confident enough to be honest and open about my queerness. I no longer desire to fit in or pretend to be “normal” in order to make others feel comfortable. I’m not normal, I’m a unicorn and that’s pretty darn magical!”
“Coming out as gay was scary, challenging, and ultimately one of the most important and powerful things I have ever done – bringing me closer to everyone I knew, and my authentic self.
Coming out as “Waxie Moon” was immediate – I included “queer” in my tag-line. This too was a powerful statement of self expression – a way of saying “I’m here and queer, dammit!”
“Coming out as queer was a gradual process for me – but I thankfully had an incredibly supportive family. I feel so blessed for that, I know many people do not have that experience.
When I became a burlesque performer, and started being interviewed by the press, I knew I had to tell my parents about my pre-burlesque past as a stripper in the sex industry. I was going to tell the truth about it to the media, so I wanted my family to hear it from me first. Once they understood that I was safe and happy, they were supportive about all forms of my work as well.”