NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY: “Transparent” writer Faith Soloway goes to The Closet

Tomorrow is National Coming Out Day, a day we celebrate every year in hopes of encouraging LGBT people and their allies to come out to the world. The social awareness holiday started 26 years ago on the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, so we asked some of our favorites to share their own coming out experiences. Below, Transparent writer Faith Soloway shares her Coming Out Story.

I came out of the closet by frequenting The Closet. Let me rephrase that, imploding and exploding at The Closet, a gay bar in Chicago, which has a wonderful cozy neighborhood bar scene. The Closet offered up the gay, and the cozy. Perfect for someone struggling with their sexuality. It was unassuming and nonthreatening, and the perfect vantage point for me to take in the all the new possibilities of the young single lesbian. The only problem was I wasn’t really single or a lesbian, yet. I had a boyfriend.

He was my one last my last hope because I did not want to be gay. It was the late ’90s and being gay definitely was not the party that it is today.

I remember the moment I decided to myself, “If you can’t make this work, you are a lesbian.” He was seated behind me in the van we traveled in for The Second City Touring Company. I had headphones on as he whispered into my ear, “Faith Soloway, can you hear me?” I could but pretended not to.”Faith Soloway, I have a crush on you.” I mean really. Talk about a Ladies Man. (Hint hint.) That shit worked. For only so long, until my real lesbian ways were no match for any man, not even “The Ladies Man.”

I never could handle conflict. I never could say the hard things you are supposed to say when you need to say them. I still have problems, real problems with that. There is no bigger conflict than not being yourself, and so instead of expressing that to my boyfriend, I had a denial party with myself at The Closet. I just didn’t come home one night. I found this method of coming out preferable to communication. I stayed at the bar, and worried him enough into calling my parents who called the police. Meanwhile, unaware of all of this and falling deeper into my own implosion, I got picked up by a girl and did coke at her apartment. My first lesbian sexual experience. How tender.

The next morning, when I heard the frantic messages on my machine, I called my mom to tell her I was alive. Later, I broke down to her. “Mom, if you could guess what I’m going through right now, what would you guess?” “Are you on drugs?” “No.” Are you a gay?” “Yes.” I wondered which was worse for her. When she told me she could never imagine me in a wedding dress, I knew she was OK with it. Eventually, my boyfriend was too, and we can still joke about it. Maybe he’ll even meet me at The Closet the next time we’re both in Chicago and I can come out to him the right way, for old time’s sake. —Faith Soloway

Faith Soloway is on the writing staff of Transparent, which is available now on