I actually never had a proper ‘coming-out’. At the time when I came fully aware of me being gay, I never had the need to explain myself, or better yet, justify myself for being gay. I just thought that if you are straight, you don’t sit down with your parents and say ‘mom, dad, I have to tell you something, I’m straight!’ Having said that, I am a character who basically goes his own way and I’m raised in a family where being different was not a huge issue. So instead of “coming out” I just let them find out who I dated when it was appropriate, without any explanation.
At LeonLeon we make wedding wear for same sex couples and our public introduction was during the Amsterdam Gay Pride. We called it our ‘coming-out’. Strangely enough, it felt like my first. In the prelude to the presentation some people told us it would be risky to profile our company as ‘gay’, as it would be bad for business. That actually made me mad. A gay profile = risky business?? In Amsterdam 2017?? I felt myself being put on a barricade, to stand up for equality and the freedom to be who you are without being judged. I never experienced this side of me. These well-meant but painful remarks confirmed the necessity of a company that listens to the wishes of same sex couples, who don’t want to be confronted with prejudice on the road to a wonderful wedding. The main object should be love and joy and freedom of who you are.
‘Coming out’ as a company that stands for gay marriage equality felt a bit scary, but at the same time very good. We believe in the freedom of love and the joy that should embody it. The road to the big day should be a warm feast that will put a smile on your face. The feedback from the couples that we dressed already is that they felt understood and ‘at home’. I think it is just as important as the style of dress they want. That’s how we found our company credo: in ‘the joy of having the freedom of choice’.
If coming out means spreading a message of love, I can’t wait for the next time to do it all over again.