For this Swedish caregiver, coming out was the path to authentic self-love, self-acceptance and community.
By Dolan Newell
This month, many of us honored and celebrated National LGBTQ+ History Month. Each year in October, the LGBTQIA+ community proudly commemorates the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer people across the nation. The commemoration began in 1994 by Rodney Wilson a high school teacher in Missouri who wrote the first article chronically the history of the gay community.
As we round out the month, I am encouraged to highlight a significant day within the month, National Coming Day – Oct. 11. For millions of people in the LGBTQIA+ community, this day holds a special place in our hearts as it signifies a day of truth, healing and selflove.
Our collective stories not only provide us an outlet to connect, but also gives inspiration for others to come out themselves. My story, like many in the 1980’s and 1990’s, was met with adversity. As a result, I spent many years secluded from my loved ones, while taking uncharted steps within the gay community. I often felt my world completely upside down. Luckily, our LGBTQIA+ community is inclusive, understanding and most of all filled with love and kindness. Not long after sharing my truth, I found myself in the center of an amazing, accepting community. Overtime after many vulnerable conversations, and growth from those who initially rejected me, I am now reunited with my family and loved ones.
Coming out gave me peace and personal release of dis-ease that I held in my mind and body for a long time. Coming out is an expression of self-love and acceptance. It allowed me to better understand myself. Honoring oneself is the first step towards good health.
My story may resonate with some of you, while others may have had a different experience. No matter your circumstance, being true to yourself and others allows us to have healthy connections with others. I believe humans are built to connect with others and share common experiences, while accepting our differences.
If you or someone you love are interested in living your truth and coming out there are resources to help you through it. Check out the Human Rights Campaign. You can get involved in your local LGBTQIA+ community.
Dolan Newell is a senior clinic operations manager in sports medicine at Swedish.