There’s something to be said for tradition and as Torontonians we’re missing out on two, both related to the notion of coming out.
On the one hand, there’s Coming Out Day, celebrated on Oct 11. While designating a day for closeted queers to make the leap is downright silly, the annual event has been used to create visibility for queer issues, and is particularly popular with student groups.
Although the choice of date is rather US-centric (it commemorates the 1987 March On Washington For Lesbian And Gay Rights), Coming Out Day has caught on elsewhere in the world, with celebrations and awareness events cropping up from Switzerland to Saskatoon.
(There was an attempt in 1992 to initiate a Canadian equivalent, simply called National Visibility Day. Needless to say it didn’t catch on.)
On the other hand, there’s the longstanding tradition of debutante balls, in which young ladies are presented to polite society. Born out of the European tradition of introducing aristocratic ladies at the royal courts, a young lady’s debut or “coming out” is an opportunity to impress potential suitors and, perhaps more importantly, the families of potential suitors. Although it’s a tradition with variations the world over, in the US this debutante ball is referred to as a cotillion.
How is it that homos have not yet seized on to this glaringly obvious opportunity to make the most of things by combining these two traditions? Just imagine how deliciously camp a Coming Out Day cotillion would be: A crowd of fastidious fags and dapper dykes decked out in their evening-dress best. The procession of newly sprung homos making their way down a grand staircase to be presented to polite gay society (Is that an oxymoron?).
As it happens it was our very own Queen Elizabeth II that in 1958 abolished the presentation of ladies at court. Thankfully, she’s not the only queen we have to turn to in such matters. The Imperial Court Of Toronto (TICOT) will be crowning a new emperor and empress in October (turn to page 18 for details). I humbly propose that their majesties consider adding a Coming Out Day cotillion to their imperial schedule.