Coming out or not coming out?
To come out or not to come out: that is the question. Don’t worry; the article won’t be a Shakespearean drama. Rather, one could probably compare it to a film by Jean-Luc Godard. There is no pre-formulated answer to a burning problem: does it even make sense to come out as anything?
“No, no, no”, I shoot prematurely and extremely subjectively from the hip. “No, no, no! I can’t hear it anymore!” All these pseudo-important influencers and smart people who make themselves important and come out all the time. The other day the German politician Kevin Kühnert came out as gay. Do I care? Actually, not at all. If I could vote in Germany, I would judge his party on the party program. Or in their practical work. But certainly not whether individual politicians come out as gay.
It is perhaps different with Nils Bollenbach, the politician of the German Greens, who outed himself as autistic. While I am not interested in the sexual orientation of a politician, I am very interested in how a politician’s brain processes information. I have already mentioned that more autistic people in politics would be an essential asset.
Nevertheless: It is (unfortunately) possible for many persons to tap into a bit of media turbulence if they out themselves as something. Our brave new media world creates more and more stars and starlets. Influencers explain the world to us: Which superfood is trendy right now? What hair colour am I wearing today? … If such an important person comes out as something, then that is a significant event. Or the important person gets more attention. It is no coincidence that we speak of the attention economy today.
Pua! While researching this article, I (unfortunately again) had to visit the Instagram page of the super influencer Toni Mahfud – almost for professional reasons. Mr. Mahfud seems extremely self-centred (actually, there are 99.99% pictures of him in different poses on the Instagram page). No. He also allows himself to make profound remarks about diversity and racism. Phrases like this one pop up “… As human beings we are all interconnected, and we all play a role in this world. It’s everyone’s responsibility to speak up …. We stand for diversity…” I don’t want to write anything bad now, but I do it anyway. 😉 In this superficial world of beauty and fashion where some internet starlets live, diversity is trendy right now. You can call yourself gay or autistic without any problems; on the contrary, you can be sure to get attention if you do so. It is also noticeable that most people come out for something that is already more or less socially accepted anyway. I never heard of someone who declares himself as a racist, paedophile, zoophile or cat eater. By the way: It is rather easy to come out as an autist or a lesbian if you are a Hollywood star. If you live in a small village, it might affect you a lot more.
What strikes me as uncomfortable is that the boundaries between public and private are shifting more and more. Privacy is an achievement of our civilisation, which we have fought hard for ourselves. Recently, however, it has become more and more fashionable to make personal things public. Of course, there are also massive economic reasons for this. It’s all about attention economy again. People are interested in private and emotional matters. It is, of course, essential to know that supermodel Heidi Klum calls her breasts Hans and Franz. Or is it Fritz and Franz? Or Laurel and Hardy? All the same. It is not about breasts. It is about constantly exceeding limits for economic reasons. Sorry, I don’t care about the personal stuff of all these half-important people. That’s why I think most outings are pointless. Or, to put it another way: why do I need to know that Kayne West is bipolar? Either I like his music or not. the additional information about his bipolarity is somehow pointless.
On the other hand, you often have to come out. I have many customers with disabilities, and they have to come out as blind at the first contact, because they cannot use pictures that I might send them.
However, there are also invisible disabilities. ADHD, for example. Or someone is disabled but communicates via the Internet where it is not noticeable. Marie Minkov recently pointed out this topic in an article. That is very interesting and brings another facet to the already confusing large problem.
But Marie Minkow – she is disabled herself – points out another interesting topic: Her disability might also create economic benefits. In her article “Trauma Sells“, she explains how her teachers at the university encourage her to sell her disability.
Speaking of ADHD. Is ADHD a disability or a gift now? I think it’s a gift that you have to learn to use. But it doesn’t matter. No matter how you feel about ADHD or autism: does it make sense to come out? I don’t know.
All right. We talked about Kevin Kühnert’s outing as gay, which personally doesn’t interest me at all. I don’t want to know if people I don’t know are gay or lesbian or whatever. However, we might still be stuck in the 19th century if no one had ever come out. This also applies to Kayne West or all other famous people who are neurodiverse. Seen from that point of view the coming out of stars makes sense.
And finally we come to the all-important question. (At least it is crucial for me.) Why do I come out as a neurodiverse and start this blog here? I’ve thought about it for a long time, and I see the following reasons speaking for this blog:
- I like to talk about important things. And unlike the two breasts, Fritz and Franz mentioned above. I consider neurodiversity to be a topic that is much too little talked about in public. Or if, for example, AD(H)D is discussed, it is demonised, and attempts are made to transform those affected into “normal people” with psychotropic drugs.
- I’m also trying to learn more about neurodiversity, and how can I learn better than by talking to others about it? A blog gives me more freedom than a forum or (oh my God !!!) Facebook (that sells my user data).
- And last but not least, I also have a lot of customers who have a disability: blind, visually impaired, bipolar, spastic, etc. etc. I also work for organisations that represent people with disabilities and create designs or websites for them. So I have to communicate somehow about this topic as well.