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LGBTQ Voices

LGBTQ – Voices

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“I felt so much anxiety before coming out that I hadn’t even wanted to do it at all.”
Philadelphia, PA
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, etc. All I had in my mind was negative stories and stereotypes. So, when I realized I was gay, I felt terrible.

I remembered 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 making eyes at. And, I didn’t find myself attracted to a single one of them. I never understood what all the 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 LGBT experience. I knew nothing but tragedy and horror stories before my coming out. And, it made me stay in the closet a lot longer.

I think we need to do much better with LGBT representation. I hope that future generations can have a more positive representation to look up to.

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“I’ve always felt sort of weird about being a late bloomer. I do feel privileged in that I did eventually have the space to explore my sexuality.”
Rochester, NY
I’ve come out to friends who know me well. Not family. It’s mainly because they probably wouldn’t understand bisexuality. They would think that you have to be either straight or gay.

I feel like they would consider it ‘just a phase.’ I’m at a stage in my life where I’m fairly independent.

My personal life is something that my family becomes aware of on a need to know basis. I don’t know if I’ll ever come out to them. Maybe someday, but not now.

In high school, I was pretty repressed. I went to a Catholic middle school.

The message there was that being anything other than straight means that you’re going to burn in hell. Even though, at that point, I was starting to question that doctrine.

Moving into high school, subconsciously, I think I still carried it with me. I was pretty sexually repressed until around the start of junior year.

I helped a friend, who was out at the time, start the Gay-Straight Alliance, later the Queer-Straight Alliance, at my high school. By changing who I was hanging out with, I began to develop self-acceptance.

I realized it was okay to question these things. It was in senior year of high school that I started saying to people, ‘I’m figuring myself out, but I know that I’m not completely straight.’

I’ve always felt sort of weird about being a late bloomer. I do feel privileged in that I did eventually have the space to explore my sexuality. I know that’s not always the case for everyone.

We had a honeymoon stage where it seemed like LGBTQ people were having a lot more freedom to be self-expressive. It felt like there was this social progression for acceptance.

I think the Trump era has definitely reinforced the fact that this maybe not have been true. Although it’s certainly not the 50s and 60s, I think that there is still a considerable amount of struggle when it comes to being out. Especially depending on where you are.

There are pockets where people are very accepting. However, we still have a long way to go.

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“I am not very traditional and I have come to the realization that I probably never will be.”
Long Island, NY
Growing up in a conservative household, there was no room to be different or to speak out against the norm.

My parents expected me to be very traditional in all aspects of my life. They even originally didn’t want me to go to college. Instead, they wanted me to just look for a spouse right out of high school.

However, I am not very traditional and I have come to the realization that I probably never will be. Most of my friends are single, and in their late twenties.

They do not have typical office jobs and many of them are in the LGBTQ community. Actually, being a part of this friend group is the main reason why I had enough confidence to come out.

Once I graduated high school, I was pretty lost. I was hiding my sexuality from my family for years and even tried dating the opposite sex to please them.

However, once I started going online more frequently, I started to meet people who had similar struggles and stories. This is where I was really able to speak out and make connections in the LGBTQ community.

Eventually, I was able to come out as a lesbian to my family with my friends’ help and support. While I was not accepted right away, I was still so relieved that I was being open and honest with my loved ones.

Personally, I really hope that our community can keep staying strong and speaking out for what is right. In recent years, I have noticed many more LGBTQ characters and figures being publicized in pop culture. This is wonderful for younger audiences, specifically so that they can be introduced to our community at a young age.

I personally appreciate TV shows such as Glee and Riverdale for their ability to use LGBTQ characters. Also, seeing same sex marriages being legalized and promoted is really a great thing for our community. This really gives our community the validation it needs to keep make a difference in the world.

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“On the internet you can be true to yourself. You can explore and discover who you are relatively safely.”
Queens, NY
Growing up in the internet age with things like Tumblr and Twitter in my life as a teenager really helped me see that I was bisexual. On the internet you can be true to yourself.

You can explore and discover who you are relatively safely. You can be anonymous to people you know in real life. That gave me so much freedom.

Because of the internet, I was able to test out different labels and see what was right for me. I identified as aromantic, pansexual, and lesbian. I eventually settled on bisexual as the best label for me.

I don’t use Tumblr anymore, and it has a lot of toxic ideas on it. Still, it really helped me as a teen trying to find myself.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I hadn’t grown up with the internet or if I hadn’t lived in a progressive city like New York. I think I could have lived my whole life repressing my sexuality and believing I was straight.

That’s so sad for me to think about. Being bisexual is so important to me. I’m so thankful for the environment I was raised in.

The LGBTQ community is incredibly important to me. Having a community like that helps me meet amazing new people.

I love going to LGBTQ events. This community is so strong, creative, and resilient. I’m very proud to be a part of that.

All of my close friends are LGBTQ too. Even people that I knew before coming out.

Having that in common brings us closer together. It’s something that we can talk about and bond over.

I’m not officially out to my parents but I think they know. They’re very open minded so they wouldn’t care anyway. I’m out to my sister, she’s bisexual too.

With my friends, it was casual. Like I said, they’re all part of the LGBTQ community.

I knew they were LGBTQ before they knew about me. That made it really easy to just drop into conversation. Now we’re a big happy LGBTQ group, it’s great.

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