I read it again last night on Towleroad. The story is about Adam Lambert’s track “Aftermath” and quotes Adam’s words “about finding the courage to be honest with yourself.” We hear this so much that it doesn’t raise any comment. We even say this, without thinking what it means. The language—the courage to be honest with yourself—has been around since the earliest days of gay liberation, and it means that, if you had courage, if you were honest with yourself, you would come out now. This implies that the person you’re speaking to is not being honest with himself, and the only possible meaning for that is that this person is pretending to himself that he is not gay.

I don’t know anybody like that. I think people who hear lines like this know well enough that they are gay. Their question is What do I do about it? For many people, perhaps for everybody, doing something about it means dealing directly with a dangerous world—in your family and in your community—and that is what is problematic. A kid may not be old enough or strong enough to deal with that dangerous world. Even older boys and men or girls and women could get killed out there or could become so stressed by what is out there that he or she wants to kill himself or herself.

If you had courage. If you were honest. Even though we hear it everywhere, this is totally inappropriate language to apply to teenagers who are struggling and who deserve our support.