I am happy I came out when I did. I think it was not so bad as people are becoming more accustomed to the idea. I feel horrible for the generations before me, where they had nowhere to go. Every queer generation confronts its own crisis, though it is always based on one condition that cuts across time for all generations: fear! Can you financially support yourself if worse comes to worst; like if you are kicked out of home. Do you have a support network? This was my fear, and because my parents sheltered me, I was not aware of how many opportunities and challenges there were out there. Until I moved out, my view on life was blinded by the life my parents had presubscribed for me.
Specific events bring changes that define each generation. For the Stonewall Generation, the Stonewall Riots of 1969 began the liberation of the LGBTIQ identity. For the AIDS Generation, 1981 was the year in which the viral enemy was encountered. These challenges are perceptible for all generations living through each crisis, but for those who preceded us, current challenges may seem obscure, minimal to what they had confronted. I have seen this mindset firsthand with the members of the AIDS Generation who cannot bear witness to the difficulty of being an LGBTIQ person in the 21st century, dismissing our behaviours, diminishing our hardships, especially in relation to coming out.
Too, it is difficult for us to imagine the challenges of those who came before us. This inability to understand and communicate fully across generations is not a new concept; intergenerational tensions in the LGBTIQ community have long existed. Yet within the LGBTIQ population, the need to break down these barriers and learn from each other is much more important, as we represent a small minority in a heterosexist society that would prefer to ignore and silence us. Our power is in our ability to reach across the divide of generations to create a collective voice, to understand what each generation faced, and/or currently faces, and respect conditions that shape our coming out struggle.