Monday, October 13, 2014

Coming Out With Keith Haring

Last month, when the Rainbow Honor Walk was dedicated here in San Francisco, I had the great privilege of joining with a friend to unveil the plaque in honor of Keith Allen Haring an incredible artist whom I have always admired.  You likely saw in social media over the weekend, one of Keith's most famous pieces, the logo for National Coming Out Day.  I would have written this Saturday, but with all of the moving plans, I am cutting back and (just temporarily) writing this blog only four days a week.

Keith Haring's life was way too short.  It is amazing to me that he accomplished so much in that short time, but his art is known the world over and it has touched so many people.  Because of that coming out logo - a man stretching his leg out of an open closet door, I find myself thinking about Keith every year on this day.  It would be easy to talk about his wonderful creations and it would certainly be easy to talk about the many reasons why coming out is important and why this day still needs to be celebrated.  I'm not going to do either though.

I will say that coming out isn't just about saying that you are gay or bisexual or transgender.  Coming out is about being honest and about not hiding.  It means that even the non-gay community should be participating by saying that they too believe in equality and that they do no support hate.  Allies are important indeed.

I want to say more though about Keith Haring whom you can now see looking up at you from the middle of Castro Street in San Francisco (between 18th and 19th Streets). He lived for only 31 years, but his art and social activism will live forever, because he was not afraid to be seen. He did not live his life in secret, but he boldly let the world see him, and in doing so let the world see his brilliant work. One of his creations became a logo for National Coming Out Day because he was truly a logo in the way he lived, and that should inspire us all to lead an uncloseted life.

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