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LGBTQ Voices

How Having Gay Role Models Helped Me Come Out

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Many men and women wearing a white "pride and joy" T shirt with rainbow text on it, holding LGBTQ flags and signs.
Philadelphia, PA

I came out at a relatively young age. A lot of people I know didn’t come out until their later teen years, but I came out around the age of 13. I pretty much always knew I was gay.

There was never really a defining moment of realization for me. It was more of a part of me that had always been there.

I was never into typically masculine stuff like sports or video games. I’ve always tended to steer more toward feminine things.

I loved musicals and theater, so very open-minded and accepting people always surrounded me. I had grown up knowing older kids from theater programs who were already openly out as gay.

Nothing about it ever really fazed me. It was just such a normalized thing for me that my sexuality was never anything I had to think twice about or hide.

I’ve never felt ashamed or scared of who I was. I think having older gay role models really had a big impact on me and my “coming out.” I say “coming out” with quotes because it didn’t really feel like coming out at all.

I’d never really been in the closet, to begin with. I like to think my mother always knew I was gay as well.

When I told her, she just laughed a bit and said, “oh honey, I know.” We laughed together and we hugged and that was the end of that.

I am very lucky and privileged that I grew up in the environment that I did. Being constantly surrounded by supportive people and other gay people I could look up to certainly had a huge impact on my life.

I never really had to worry or hide who I was. However, I know not everyone has this privilege. Looking at the big picture, we still have a long way to go in terms of equality for the LGBTQ+ community.

Too many children are hiding in the closet. They are not in a safe place to come out and be who they truly are. There are young children taking their own lives because they don’t know how to cope with their own sexuality.

To me, this is terrible. In a perfect world, every gay kid would have the kind of experience I did. I hope that in the future, gay people are completely accepted everywhere. That way, no one has to hide who they truly are.

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