Coming out. It’s two words that give any Queer teen an anxiety attack. Although there is much debate in the LGBT+ community whether or not it we should have to “come out,”we do have to face this hard task because society doesn’t automatically assume every person to be queer from childhood. It’s terrifying; trust me I know. I’ve been there and the most comforting words I can probably give you: You’re not alone.
In my grade eight year I started to realize I wasn’t just your average girl. I kissed boys and I felt absolutely nothing. It felt so strange being with my boyfriend; surely love is supposed to feel… well surely I should feel something! I kind of just assumed that everyone romanticized this concept of “what love feels like.”Until one day I got the whole thing. You know? The butterflies and the nervous shakes and the word vomit? Yeah, I got it. I felt it around my best friend. She made me happy, not the typical best friend kind of way but rather the “I’m kind of in love with you” way. I always knew she was beautiful but I thought all best friends felt that way. It was not until she spoke about kissing a girl one late night DMC that I realized I wanted to kiss her. Somehow it got out and I was labeled a lesbian before I could even decide for myself. I was bullied; seven different schools labeled me “dyke.” I was so depressed and I just didn’t want to live anymore. Until one day I got up the courage to tell my mom. And she told me that she kind of always knew but she loved me no matter who I loved as long as they treated me with respect. My dad told me he couldn’t care less if I brought a giraffe home; my happiness was all that was important to him. Although my biological father and step mother disowned me for being gay, I had my true parents love and support and my close friends encouragement. Okay sure there were some very wrong relationships along the way but hey, you’re gonna get that whether you’re gay or straight. It took me a really long time to understand that as long as I was ashamed of my sexuality people would act on that vulnerability. So I kept my head up high and openly confirmed the vicious rumors that had followed me for years. And then suddenly I got messages on Instagram from strangers in other schools telling me that I helped them and inspired them to be themselves. It meant the world to me that I had touched and helped other people. And I want to continue doing that.
So for all of you reading this who are either confused, scared or just don’t know what to do: listen up.
1.) I’m pretty sure everyone has heard the quote “You have nothing to fear, but fear itself,”well it’s true. If you are afraid of your sexuality and ashamed of who you are then you will be vulnerable to others. Walk with confident strides and own it! There’s nothing wrong with being different, I mean who doesn’t want to be a rainbow loving unicorn?
2.) Telling your parents is a really tricky situation. I cannot tell you whether they will or will not be supportive but you won’t know until you tell them. Just know that even if they don’t support you- there is nothing wrong with you. And if you are scared because your parents are binary thinkers, if your parents really love you as much as it makes them uncomfortable they will find a way to make it work for you.
3.) Friends reactions? Simple. If they are intolerant: they are not true friends. True friends love you the way you are and would never want to change you. If they use religion as an excuse- rubbish. I have very strict Christian and Muslim friends and they love and adore me no matter what.
4.) Coming out. You don’t necessarily have to “come out.” If you’re comfortable with it, when someone asks you who you like or dating just reply “I have a boyfriend” or “I really like this girl.” Do not feel obligated to do a whole big coming out. As long as the people closest to you know who you are you that is all that matters.
5.) Dealing with Homophobia is not easy. Unfortunately not all of society is open minded and you will come across people who think you are a “sin”. As long as you believe there is nothing wrong with you- they cannot hurt you. Shrug it off… I know, I know. Easier said than done. And people can mess with your heads and make you feel like you aren’t worth much and that what you are is wrong. But it’s not the truth. You know the truth in your heart! I know so many people say self love is the root of everything but it really is. If you love you, then no one can hurt you.
6.) You are never alone. Although it may feel like it, there are so many people walking alongside you. People who you have never met, whose names you do not know, people you would never expect- we all walk with you. We are all on the same yellow brick road and we walk together. The LGBT+ community is not just a community…we are a family. You have the support and love of a thousand brothers and sisters.
So: this is it. This is your first big step. You know they say there are five stages of grief? Well here’s your five stages of Coming Out. The first stage? Acceptance. It’s scary as hell but you are a fighter. No I do not know you, but I know you’re struggling. And if you need someone to tell you you’re going to get through this well then, hi! You’re going to get through this. You are perfect just the way you are and maybe sometimes it gets dark and you feel like you won’t be able to get through it, well… I can tell you from my own experience that I struggled for three years. And now? I write to help others through it and I don’t get bullied anymore, in fact people message me asking for guidance. You ready to go down this yellow brick road? This is our journey together and to quote the best gay anthem of the century: “I’m on the right track baby, I was born this way.”