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.