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LGBTQ Voices

How I Dealt With Gay Prejudice While Coming Out

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Author smiling and looking at the camera, wearing a black coat, white and gray scarf in front of a historical building
Los Angeles, CA

I came out to my family when I was 18, right before I left for college. I knew it was something I needed to do to start this new chapter in my life without worrying about hiding a part of myself from the people I care about. I had the best reaction; siblings who understood and parents whose first words were ‘we know and we love you.’ My mom drove me four hours to school and she, being a nurse, gave me an awkward safe-sex talk as it relates to gay men

At the time, it was painful, but in retrospect I realize was amazingly supportive of her and more people coming out need to learn.

Apparently, when I was little I knew. My aunts told me that at a family barbecue, my twin brother and I were trying to confuse everyone and see if they could tell us apart.

When we told them how we were different, one thing I said was that I like boys and my twin likes girls. So, I guess I’ve always known. It solidified in high school when I had my first gay kiss.

I was confused afterward and ignored it. With time and encouragement from friends, I grew more comfortable with my homosexuality.

I’ve been treated differently for being gay. When I was in high school, I had to transfer schools. Once talking to friends on a street corner, I heard kids yell ‘fags’ from a passing car.

These things make you stronger, but also creates a sense of danger around people.

I don’t think the heterosexual community will ever be able to fully understand coming out, because it isn’t just a moment. For me, the moment I define as my coming out is when I told my family.

Before that, I told friends, and before that, I had to admit it to myself. I happily live my life openly gay but coming out never stops. I will always meet new people and decide whether or not to come out, when is an appropriate time to do so, and consider what reaction will be.

Same-sex marriage was a huge step. However, legal-status does not stop prejudice. There are still so many states that don’t offer work, housing, benefit protections of non-discrimination to the LGBTQ+ community.

When you compound that with the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community, it is troubling to see how precariously perched our intersectional community is in a larger society. I hope that progress continues to be made.

I want to see more LGBTQ+ representation. Seeing diversity on television helps people see themselves in the characters and opportunities for their future.

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