fresh out of the closet

Coming out, in the closet, to be closeted, are terms that are becoming more and more known in Romania among non-LGBTQI + people, maybe due to the fact that there is more representation and portrayal of the community in movies and tv series, articles or news about artists on the Internet.

The lack of direct interactions and mutual knowledge, prejudices and stereotypes are shaping people's perceptions of the LGBTQI+ community. To change mindsets, to question discriminatory behavior, to show that we are not so different from other people, we have the possibility to first come out to those around us.

For heterosexual people who identify with the gender assigned at birth, it can be difficult to imagine what coming out means for those in the LGBTQI + community. We all have our coming out experiences, more or less complicated. To make space for empathy, it is enough to reflect on something significant in your life that has been difficult for you to share with others because they might reject you, misunderstand you, they might not believe you, they might be disgusted, or even become aggressive.

Some say that coming out is only directed towards outside, but first of all it happens inside. The experience itself is personal and subjective, and the personal acknowledgement and ownership of sexual orientation and gender identity is a complicated and layered process.

Coming out to others does not stop once our friends, parents and colleagues at work know about our sexual orientation and gender identity. The whole ”ritual" of coming out is a continuous one, every day we choose whether to open in this way in front of the people we come in contact with, which makes the process of coming out a constant one. The decision not be to out and proud can be quite difficult and hard to manage, especially in social contexts. This is because of the idolisation of a single sexual nature and the assumption that gender is the same thing as the biological sex.

We all have our stories coming out, about friendship and community, about pain and resilience, about acceptance and love. Each story is unique, and they all bring us together, closer to each other, regardless if and when we made our coming out and what that means to us, whether we are part of the LGBTQI + community or not. These stories make us vulnerable and strong at the same time. Not all of us are out, not all of us want this, some of us are out in some groups and not in others, and some of us are still looking for the language, shape and context to come out to those close to them.

In the last couple of weeks, we have collected stories from the community about coming out - stories that begin with personal acceptance and acknowledgement and continue with revealing our personal stories to those around us. They are full of raw emotions, fear, pain, courage, empathy. Here, empathy does not mean living the same story, it means understanding, managing, accepting and integrating diversity.

REMINISCENT of has encapsulated all these feelings and emotions in a single antithetic perfume, a candle that transcribes the stories into a few scents that portray that inner layered battle in a harmonious line. Therefore, REMINISCENT of fresh out of the closet smells like:

Lime - because it’s bitter and sharp and straight forward. Just like those first words you are about to say. There isn’t a right or wrong way to come out, or a specific moment because you usually just do it, in your own words.
Mango - because it’s exotic and warm like sunshine. Because it’s embracing the lime like a sweet hug. Not all of us have yet received this kind of reaction after coming out, but it’s the kind of reaction you get from the ones that really love you and when you find your place in the community.
And then we have the bubbly notes, like melon, pineapple and peach, almost reminiscent of bubblegum - because coming out is a relief, it’s like being reborn.

fresh out of the closet is not just about a scent. It's about how it makes us feel and what it reminds us of. We hope that through this candle and the stories below, we will all be more empathetic and have the courage to talk about our stories exactly as they are.

fresh out of the closet is not just about a candle. It is our way to share with friends and family the most important moments in our lives and those that have shaped us. It's the way anyone can show their support for the community, and the way we chose to do a fundraising (the profit from each sale will be donated to the LGBTQI+ community through the work of Identity.Education).

You can find the candle here.

And if you want to share your coming out story with us, you can do it here.