At a discussion group last semester, a fellow group member touched upon the phenomenon known as “the Rainbow

Phase.”  This occurs, the group explained, usually 3-5 years after a person comes out as LGBT and is marked by intense association with and fixation on anything related to being gay.

For some people, this just means their wardrobe gets a little more colorful- maybe they’ll splurge on a pair of rainbow socks and actually wear them in public.  But as someone currently going through their “rainbow phase,” I can attest

that it often becomes something much more.

My rainbow phase began a few months before the end of senior year, and I think just now, writing this blog, it has hit its

peak.  For me, this project springs from an intense thirst for information, for understanding of the community I belong

to and the issues that affect it.  That means political decisions, legislation, personal struggles, theoretical perspectives, and everything in between.  But more than anything, my rainbow phase has been about processing and re-distributingmy new-found knowledge to build community and help others.  I want being LGBT to be a positive part of people’s existence and my rainbow stage is all about figuring out how to make that happen.

So here’s what I’ve got so far:

  1. Learn where you came from- I read the mammoth book Out of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History 1869 to the Present last summer in an effort to fill in the huge, looming gaps in my gay history knowledge.  I highly suggest this book, or at least a look at some of the more interesting chapters about Boston Marriages, the German Weimar Republic, and Russia’s Article 121.  The more you know about gay history, the better you can defend your own inherent equality and explain the customs, traditions, and culture you inherit through the LGBT community.  (Didn’t know we were a tribe with dances and ceremonies, did you?  Well, what do you think the Disco Era and The Hustle were all about!)
  2. Write.  Write ferociously and with abandon.  Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, keep records for yourself.  Make note of your thoughts, feelings, observations, and expressions.  Journal.  Use fragments and bullet points if you need to.  But mostly, just write.  You are creating an archive of the greatest, most vibrantly diverse and unique of human experiences.  People will want to know!  And you may want to look back someday.
  3. Talk.  Like with sex or religion, the worst damage is done by a lack of discussion and understanding.  Open yourself to other people’s questions and refuse to be offended by ignorance.  There is room for everyone (including yourself) to learn and grow, but the process is infinitely easier through talk, questioning, and exchange.
  4. When you are ready, come out with poise.  Be confident in the person you are and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  People who know a specific LGBT person are twice as likely to hold positive opinions of gay people in general.  Your bravery and openness can help pave the way for more rights, acceptance, and understanding for LGBT society as a whole.
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