Secrets and Toys Is the Perfect Movie for Coming Out Day
'Secrets and Toys' Is the Perfect Movie for Coming Out Day
Celebrate Coming Out Day tonight with a feel-good tale of truth.
As a black, queer, bisexual mama of a trans teen, I have to say I have found myself very challenged to maintain my normally peaceful, fun approach to the world since He-Who-Shan't-Be-Named and his Cadre of Maniacal Hench People slithered into the White House. Part of why I'm a storyteller is to shine a light, to illuminate spirits, and to open hearts and minds. Sometimes I revel in deep emotional heart-tugging, authentic, occasionally anger-inducing-tears-welling-up-from-my-toes stories. And sometimes I'm tired, y'all.
I'm experiencing major energy drain from the years of repeatedly explaining things that are often so excruciatingly obvious if you are in any group that's been "othered." I've had to explain things after every murder of an unarmed black person by police seeing statements that make me feel called to painstakingly explain why #BlackLivesMatter.
I've explained and explained after being battered with a male gaze from men both enticed by me and yet somehow disappointed and spewing inappropriate tone-deaf comments when they discover that I love women and that bisexuality is real. And that it can come in this (my) package. Honestly, that bisexuality bit sometimes hits me from both the heteronormative folks and queer community, leading to #doubleexplaindrain.
I'm tired of explaining that I'm doing my best to not be "Bad Queer Mom" while moving through my own journey with my incredible dynamic child coming out as trans, while also being a "Tiger Mom" with anyone trying to dismiss his voice and truth. Y'all, I'm tired, and all of that was BEFORE watching Twitler and the Hench People deliberately dismantling so many deeply celebrated gains day after day. It has been beyond unsettling and sometimes heartbreaking, and that's before you layer the many tragedies happening around the world from leveling hurricanes to mass shootings.
Watching the news, listening to NPR, even scrolling my Facebook feed sometimes feels like walking through an emotional minefield. When the world around us is as heavy as it's become, sometimes I just need a moment that shines a light with some sexiness, some glitter, a little shimmy, and some laughter. That's why I always want the stories I tell to include ideas that make us consider different possibilities. I knew I'd hit my sweet spot with Secrets and Toys, about a few different types of coming out, when both my chosen family (many of whom are queer-poly-free spirits) and my black Southern 75-year-old aunt, who's a preacher's kid, shared laughter-filled conversations about a few things that hadn't crossed their minds before watching.
So for National Coming Out Day, please enjoy a little sexy levity on me. I know I need it and I can't be the only one. Secrets & Toys in its full glory now available for streaming for the first time.
Visibility is important. Having space for compassion and understanding is important. Authenticity is important. And sometimes... what we are afraid of isn't as much of a thing as we think it is for those who love us.
Happy National Coming Out Day!
The film, wonderfully directed by Quentin Lee (People I've Slept With, White Frog), stars Dalila Ali Rajah (NCIS, How to Get Away with Murder, Grey's Anatomy), Shelli Boone (Saints and Sinners, Entourage), Diane Sellers (Rules of Engagement, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Darryl Stephens (Beyond the Lights, Noah's Arc), Doug Spearman (Noah's Arc, Law & Order True Crime), Jill Bennett (Second Shot, Dante's Cove), Marc Anthony Samuel (General Hospital, NCIS:Los Angeles), and Jason Stuart (Birth of a Nation, Love, Tangerine).
DALILA ALI RAJAH holds an MFA in acting from California Institute of the Arts and is a lauded activist and award-winning content creator. Find out more at dalilaalirajah.com. Follow her on Twitter @dalilaalirajah, on FaceBook @dalilaalirajah, and Instagram @dalilaalirajah.