Barbara Grier said, "It is the closet that is our sin and shame." This is a bold statement. If LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) individuals want to mount a meaningful challenge to heterosexism bold statements will be required. For too long it has been deemed acceptable by the LGBT community to argue for acceptance of LGBT individuals that "choose" to stay in the closet. The decision to stay in the closet is a coerced choice that harms not only the individual but also the LGBT population as a whole.
Every single person who comes out of the closet (with the possible exception of Ted Haggard) benefits the project of gay rights and equality. Coming out of the closet challenges two of the fundamental pillars of heterosexism. First, it challenges the belief that gay people do not exist. Second, it confronts the belief that being gay is a disease that only affects non-normal people.
If you continue to remain in the closet while gay men and lesbians are beaten, harassed in schoolyards, denied equal marriage benefits, and fired from their jobs then you are making an active decision to support discrimination. The decision to remain in the closet in the face of continuing heterosexist can be described in one word: selfish. In order to challenge homophobia I will make a bold statement of my own: being out of the closet is a responsibility not a privilege.