Saturday, October 10, 2020

National Coming Out Days

Q Syndicate, October, 2013
Tomorrow being National Coming Out Day (NCOD), I thought I'd share a handful of the cartoons I've drawn over the years to mark the event. There are many years when I failed to publish an NCOD cartoon; it comes in the midst of election season every other year, so I often feel compelled to draw about more pressing matters. 

This year, I just couldn't keep up with the deluge of More Pressing Matters.
Q Syndicate, October, 1998

One of my early NCOD cartoons featured 18-year-old Dylan confiding in his gay Uncle Jim over coffee. Fourteen years later (although I miscounted and had Dylan say it was twelve), I revisited the pair. Well, it's not likely that any of my readers actually remembered the earlier cartoon, so let's just go along with Dylan's version of the time line; here's how I imagined 30-year-old Dylan and 50-something Jim had aged.
Q Syndicate, October, 2012
If the two ever make it back in a cartoon, I figure that Dylan has married and adopted a child. Uncle Jim, however, has commitment issues and is a swinging sexuagenarian single. He probably never did explicitly come out to his parents.

But let's not overlook some real people who have not come out.
Q Syndicate, October 2002
This wasn't exactly an NCOD cartoon, aside from its timing. Out magazine editor Brendan Lemon had written in his magazine in May, 2001, that he had been "having an affair with a pro baseball player from a major-league East Coast franchise, not his team’s biggest star but a very recognizable media figure" for a year and a half. A year and a half later, inquiring minds were still abuzz over who that very recognizable media figure might be, and New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza actually held a news conference to announce that it wasn't him.

Eighteen years later, we still don't know who Lemon's boyfriend was, but one has to assume that the stress Lemon wrote about, having to keep their relationship hush-hush while being very much an out public figure himself, eventually doomed the relationship. You can count Major League baseball players who have come out of the closet on one hand, and most of them did so after they retired from the sport.

As for the football player in panel four, he was just someone I made up for a punch line.
Q Syndicate, October, 2017
This odd little news item highlights the sort of thing that could get the vote of ordinary citizens like you or me thrown out. Overzealous election officials, and those pressured by Republican legislatures to suppress the vote, can disqualify you if your signature doesn't quite match what they have on record. Or if you've resumed using your maiden name. Or, certainly, if your gender doesn't present the same as it did when you first registered.

I hope not to have any reason to keep drawing more cartoons about this family very, very soon.
Q Syndicate, October, 2007
And I'm sure you remember Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), of wide stance in the men's room at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport fame.

He's still not giving keynote speeches anywhere these days.

It's just as well if some people want to stay in the closet, anyway. Really. We're good.

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