For me, coming out was absolutely terrifying, for really no reason at all. I had heard so many horror stories of people being outed by others. People getting disowned by their families.
People losing their job, and many other things. All I had in my mind were negative stories and stereotypes. So, when I realized I was gay, I felt terrible.
I was sitting at lunch one day with my friends as they all gushed over the boys they were crushing on. I looked across the cafeteria at the table full of guys.
They were all giggling and glancing over at us. I didn’t find myself attracted to a single one of them. I never understood what all that fuss was about.
It wasn’t long before one of the louder girls at our table eventually pointed out that I never talked about boys with them. “What, are you lesbian or something?” she joked. “What?! No! Of course not!” I replied defensively, offended that she would even suggest such a thing.
But when I went home that night, I couldn’t stop thinking about her comment. Was I a lesbian? Is that why I didn’t like any of the boys in our class?
I was so scared that her joke could become a reality. I pushed it deep down inside and tried to forget about it. For years, I kept these thoughts to myself, suppressing any possible feelings that I might be anything but straight.
It worked fine until one day I was sitting with my mom and my sister when she asked why I’d never had a boyfriend before. I didn’t know what to say, and before I could even stop myself, I was coming out.
Thankfully my family took it well, but coming out is certainly not an easy thing to do. I felt so much anxiety before coming out that I hadn’t even wanted to do it at all.
I had every intention of staying silent out of fear of people’s reactions. While many people are more accepting nowadays, it certainly does not make coming out any easier.
Coming out is still a terribly tough process, mainly because of the way the media represents and portrays the LGBTQ+ community and experience of coming out. I knew nothing but tragedy and horror stories before I came out. And, it made me stay in the closet a lot longer than I would have preferred.
I think we need to do much better with LGBTQ+ representation. I hope that future generations can have a more positive representation to look up to.