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Community Rainbow Waves

I’m fourteen and not fully out to my family. I’m gay and I live in a small town in southern Louisiana where church is everything. There’s not much I can do physically in my community, so I help out through the internet. I use the internet to educate myself and learn strategies to fight against prejudice and cruelty against the community. I love to write so I write stories of inclusion and happy endings for LGBTQ+ people especially when I enter writing contests. I use my artistic abilities to depict non stereotypical people of the community. I try hard to unify and support others when I come across them on the internet. I support and reach out to other, especially younger, people in the lgbtq+ community. I’ve had several people come out to me because I was the only gay person they knew. I tried my absolute best to reassure and to give hope to them and point them in the right direction. Being that person, the person who others feel comfortable to come to with such an important part of themselves, is one of the highlights of my life. A lot of the time I feel alone, but helping others makes me realize that I don’t want others to feel that way, I want to be the person that changes that for them. I’m proud of the person I am and the people I’m helping others become. The internet can be a scary and cruel place, but I hope to make it a little bit better one step at a time.

I haven’t come out to anyone yet. It’s a bit scary due to growing up in a very strict Christian household. But I’m hoping when I do come out, I’ll still be loved.

 

Where do I begin? I first realized that I was Queer when I was in elementary school. I always felt like I should hide it so of course that’s what I did. When I got into high school it then got real. I started crushing on the “pretty” and “popular girls. Rumors started flooding the school. Oh she’s the “gay” girl dont talk to her. She will get a crush on you. So I did what anyone else would do I denied it. When I got out of high school I started dating a guy to prove everyone wrong. To try and make myself think I was normal, what my parents expected. We dated on and off then it took a turn of abuse. I felt like I deserved it because of the feelings I was hiding. I finally came out to my mother 2 years ago at the age of 25 and I didn’t get the support I hoped for but I got what I expected would happen. It was on Christmas eve. I just came out and told her. She went into the bathroom, shut and locked the door. Slid 50 dollars under the door said Merry Christmas and I dont want you here on Christmas day. I was devastated. Over time she has come to support me. I openly dated a woman last year and I’m proud to say that it’s the most comfortable I have ever felt in my 27 year’s of life! It took time, and all sorts of emotional turmoil. But I can proudly say I’m here and I’m queer!
#OutIsTheNewIn

The first time I had feelings for a girl was probably in 7th grade. she was my best friend and openly bisexual, so when I realized I liked her I came out to my brother’s girlfriend as bisexual; she was the only one I told. I never acted on those feelings, kept repressing them, acting like they didn’t exist. and I managed for a while; for about six years. I had my first girlfriend when I was 17 and that’s when I came out to my mom, as pansexual, who helped me come out to everyone else in my family. I started identifying as a lesbian a year later. I’m 23 now and openly out to everyone, even at work. it wasn’t easy, and it still isn’t most times, but it’s worth it. <3

Oh man. It’s been quite a journey. I guess it started around 5th grade or so. I recognized it and actually began to come out to myself, but in true ADHD fashion, managed to push it to the back of my mind and forgot about it for several years. My sexuality popped up later in middle school when relationships began to bloom and I failed to understand my friends’ obsession with boys. Instead I was thinking about them. I kept repressing it’s and was terribly unhappy up until last year, when I entered my first real relationship. She and I met through school and did not even know the other’s name after 7 months of sitting right next to each other. Finally, she bucked up and asked me out. Then I realized I wanted my parents to know her as my girlfriend. So I came out to them via text while across the street from them. They took it very well and it was immediately seen as just another part of me. I wouldn’t have it any other way. By coming out I was able to understand that I don’t want to hide my love for this amazing woman from anyone.

I started to Wonder about my sexuality at around 13 years old, I had always thought that everyone was very attractive? Like everyone whether it was male, female or non-binary i never really cared as long as I liked them.

But at 13 I didn’t know what pansexuality was soo I just thought I was bisexual?

I tried to hide it until I was 16, between 13 and 16 I had been with one girl and was starting to see a non-binary person.

I was so tried of hiding myself from my parents but the thing is that I was SO scared.

I wanted to come out so bad to finally be free and myself, and here in Switzerland they’re pretty nice with the LGBTQ+ community but my family is italian and from where they are it’s not that acceptable..

One day I took my chances and wrote a letter that i left on my mother’s desk and went to school.

At the end of a science class I remember being so nervous to check my phone, but when I did I saw that I had a text from my dad and one from my mom.

I opened them after a little freaking out and they just said that they didnt care and would love me no matter what, and that I’ll always be their babygirl.

And what do you know, today when my mom sees something rainbow she takes a picture and sends it to me which I find very cute.

On the 13th april 2020 it will be my coming out one year anniversary and wow.

Life is so much happier when you’re authentic to yourself.

I am very thankful to be in a very accepting space, whether it’s ALL my friends or my family, I know I am very lucky.

I am so thankful to be able to live the life I live and love who I want to love. But i probably wouldn’t have had the strength of coming out if i had not seen such good LGBT representation, like Waverly and Nicole and others..

I am out and free and I wish you all, reading this, to be happy and don’t forget that you do not owe anyone a coming out. Only do it if you feel like you are safe.

Take care of yourself. I’m proud of you.

When I was only eight I realized that I liked girls, I didn’t understand the world like I do now and I didn’t know homophobia in it self. So I told my friends when I was something like 9. At the young age of eleven I decided to tell my mother of what I forced myself to be bisexuality, thinking that if she did not accept my homosexuality she wouldn’t be so mad. I am extremely lucky to be in a very understanding and open minded family. My mom said she was very proud of me to have the courage to speak my truth and to know who I was and accept it at only 11. At about twelve a girl in my class literally screamed that I was gay. I thought I was ready and whenever I would come out to one of my friends, it would this time be as lesbian. For two years I was bullied. I started having panic attacks everyday and I didn’t want to go to school anymore. When it became to overwhelming I thought about hurting myself (and I sometimes still do)… I did once or twice but nothing”extra”. At that point my dad knew I was gay and he helped like my sister who is, herself, an asexual biromantic. I had my friends and family to relate on and went to see a therapist. I’m now better and help a lot of my queer friends come out and know that it ok to be who we are and that we shouldn’t be ashamed. For a while I thought I was genderfluid and soon I realized that I felt like using they/them pronouns all the time. It felt right. Although it wasn’t easy understanding the gender confusion I was going threw, people were there and they had my back. I felt safe. I now use the term non binary/genderqueer and the pronouns they/them & she/her. All of that said I am only going to turn 15 in a few months and I still have a lot to learn and emotions to go threw. I am extremely lucky to be surrounded by open minded people. I know some don’t have that particular luxury. And I want to do everything in power to help them.

I hope my story will make a difference somehow. Love and know that you are not alone.

i knew i was a member of the lgbtqia + community when i was around 12. i had no idea what it meant to be gay or to like women. but i knew i was different. I knew that when i looked at girls i would get flutters in my stomach. and i knew that i would see myself with them. a few years later i found a webseries called carmilla. and all my sexual and emotional connections to woman came flooding out. after i finished the show i came out to the first person. it was rushed and i was scared and i had no idea if the way i felt was even real. but i told my friend ‘ i’m gay’ after months of fighting with myself i finally told someone. and it wasn’t the great relief you think of. it was horrible; i felt anxious and scared and i wanted to take it back. but i couldn’t. and after hearing that my friend supported me; it gave me hope. so the next few months i came out to more of my friends. but not yet my closest. as i knew it would be scary. but when i came out to my best friend at the time, she told me it was all ok and nothing i could say would change our friendship. so then i thought it would be ok to come out to my parents. i first came out to my dad on new years eve. i didn’t say the word gay because at the time labels scared me. but i told him i like girls. and he said he knew already and it wasn’t a big deal. and i was so happy. but i knew my mum was next, and i knew she was religious. and coming out to her would be a whole different experience. so when i saw her next i sat her down and told her i likes girls. she told me she already knew because my dad had told her. i was so heartbroken and hurt that my dad could out me when i wasn’t ready to be outed. i felt this hurt running through my body. and 3 years later i’m still not quite over him doing that. and my mum hasn’t been the best. she doesn’t like labelling me as as a lesbian. even though i told her i am comfortable with the label. it’s still a battle everyday to fully expect who i am but day by day it’s getting better and i am proud to call myself a lesbian after years of suppressing it. i am a lesbian.

Well my story startd when I was little but I just sorta pushed my feelings down until when I was in year 9 (13/14) and i came out to my best friend that I was gay and in no uncertain terms i was told that I was gross and disgusting and should never tell anyone about this, I can happily say i don’t talk to her anymore. But it took about a year to get over this and tell my mum who after i told her asked to get her a cuppa. She was very unphased, my dad did think i was joining a cult be he had no idea what LGBT meant and went with me and my girlfriend to London Pride. Coming out to my friends well that was hard and easy as i had somw openly homophobic friends. I still to this day have some homophobic family members but I’m getting there with them.
Coming out as gender-fluid (GF) was so much harder (at 18) and something I still after almost a year if being out struggle with. To come out as GF I spoke to my parents seperately and it took them a while but they are coming round I think. Apart from my parents I put it on my social media as I didnt feel the need to tell people. This severly backfired but I am dealing with it. I also found things like wynonna earp helpful in my coming out process as when I first came out as I was more feminine back then, now i do dress more masc and use they/them pronouns. Well yeah thats most of my story..

I’m in Spanish class for native speakers my sophomore year of high school. I’ve just recently met a new girl, she doesn’t have many friends but every time I look at her I get this sinking feeling in my tummy since the first day she came into class. The universe somehow places us, months later, sitting near each other. We begin to write notes to one another and tell each other our secrets. We start hanging outside of class and even cuddle when in either of our houses. We hold hands occasionally, but only if we’re sitting on the couch and under a blanket. One evening while browsing the TV, South of Nowhere is on The N. We watch it holding our breaths and between each commercial we somehow manage to awkwardly get up. When it’s over my hands start to sweat and when I look over to her, finally, my heart races. She knows and I know now what this all means.
We dated for 6 years, during high school and a year into college. We broke up because of distance and just life teaching us different life lessons – but that was my first love. My awkward first fumbly kiss, I love you, and even first sexual experience was with her, and it was pure.

However, in between all of that, I had to come out to my VERY Mexican, Catholic, and conservative parents – not once, but three times. If you ask any Mexican-American Latinx folk out there they’ll tell you our culture is so intertwined with Catholicism that it becomes our lives. The first time my parents found out, they found a note (the ones we used to pass) from my girlfriend during the summer. That summer they sent me to Texas to be with my aunts. I did not have a cell phone. I did not have access to the internet. I was alone. I contemplated suicide a lot that summer because I finally saw what it would mean if I lived my truth. The second time I came out to them was after my suicide attempt. It was 2 weeks after my 17th birthday and I had enough of hiding who I was, I had enough of the world telling me that I couldn’t be Mexican, a lesbian, and a woman, and that if I was I was going to disappoint the family, the church, and our community. I had enough of lying to my parents. During the treatment process my counselor pulled my parents into a room and he had us have an honest conversation. I told them that I attempted suicide because I knew that I was different and they’d never accept it. My mom knew what that meant and never repeated it again – we didn’t even have closure that session. I completed therapy and completed my in-patient program. I recovered from that incident, but I was completely broken already. Years passed and I finally had the chance to go away for college – to a 4 year Uni in Chicago. By this time I was no longer with my first girlfriend. I joined a diverse sorority and met so many queer women that empowered me. I attended a social-justice driven school and so when I learned so much academically then thanks to “city life” about strength in diversity my perspective changed. I started dating around and I came home less and less every semester. My parents found my Facebook and they realized how I was going out and having fun; they realized we no longer had a deep relationship. They sat me down one Sunday afternoon and asked about me finally. My mom sat me down and asked, “Is there something you want to tell us? What is going on here?” I was filled with animosity and hate toward them, toward my culture, toward my spirituality. I told her all of that. I told her it was because I was gay. That was the third and final time I had to come out to them. They finally got it after that. My mom cried of course, we stopped talking for months, my aunts would call my cell and leave voicemails with gospel readings, my cousins stayed at a distance… etc… It was horrible, lonely, painful – I still have flashbacks of the time I spent not knowing if I had a blood family. I had already found my Gamily (gay family) in the city. I knew who I could go to and feel safe to, and cry to. That’s what became important to me, gamily that could just accept me as me and protect me as me.

I’m 30 years old now. I met my now wife in 2013. We’ve been married since 2016 and have two cats. We still live in the city where we fell in love, Chicago. I am now comfortable in my own beautiful Mexican brown skin. My parents and family don’t fully accept our marriage, but they’re coming around slowly. I am still attending therapy, I am now doing meditation and I’ve opened my mind/body to the healing powers of crystals and other rituals. We work on our spirituality a lot, just not with religion. We advocate constantly for queer Latinx youth that feel lonely and isolated. We are strong queer feminists. We support transgender equality wholeheartedly. We are living the life we wish we had when we were younger.

If you’re Mexican American, or of any Latinx background and you identify as LGBTQ feel free to take this story as the representation you seek/need. I am proof that things get better, always. (Sorry for the Cliche). They get better when you find your gamily. They get better when you begin to live authentically and unapologetically. You’re valid. You’re beautiful. You deserve happiness, too.

 I realized in high school that I wasn’t attracted to boys, I went to catholic school though, so I kept up a facade. I started seeing females during college. I never really had a “coming out” story, I just kinda came home with a girlfriend one day & that was it. My sisters didn’t care, they love me no matter what. My parents are ok with it, but my mom still occasionally makes comments about dating one of my guy friends, while I do love him, I don’t love him like that. I’ve had my ups & downs with relationships, my 1st one was abusive. Then I was not so no eat with my next & I did cheat. My most recent one was 7 years, it ended back in October, she left me for a friend of a friend, they’d known each other like a month & got married a week after she left me. Since then I’ve been taking time for me, get back in touch with myself, what I want, what’s important, & right now, for me, my family & friends are most important. I lost touch with 2 of my best friends because of my ex, but I got back in touch with them & that’s the best decision I’ve made.
I’m so proud of you Dom for coming out, you are a beautiful person both inside and out. Always be yourself❤

 I knew I was attracted to people other than boys when I was around 7/8 years old. It was difficult to understand, but thankfully I have supportive family/friends who accept me for who I am. I first told my older sister and she explained to me that it was ok to love who I wanted to. I slowly came out to my parents and although they worried about the struggles I’d face later on in life, they only want me to be happy. I’ve slowly come out to friends new and old and have been met mostly with open arms. Coming out never really stops, but for me, the fear of rejection has subsided. Now, being 18, I’ve developed feelings for many a person, not limited to any gender. I’m proud to be who I am and wouldn’t change it for the world.

I knew for quite a while that I had weird feelings for girls that I felt like I shouldn’t be having. In middle school, I was having the hardest time feeling normal. I wasn’t having the same feelings towards boys that all my friends were having, during lunch my friends would talk about all the boys they liked, and I was making stuff up because I didn’t want to seem weird. This made me very depressed because I was unsure what was wrong with me. I would come home and watch ‘Friends’ and I always had a crush on Rachel, but I would just tell myself that every girl thinks other girls are pretty, it’s just being nice right?! Every gay character I seen on television growing up was a background character who rarely came on. High school came around and I became more depressed keeping all of my feelings in, I did not like the person I seen in the mirror. I wanted to cut my hair and wear clothes that I felt more comfortable in. During my junior year of high school, I came out to my close friend who was a boy. After I came out to him, he was very supportive. I started going over to his house a lot, because of this my mother thought I had a crush on him. She would always bring it up that we should date. My mother had gay friends and was a very supportive parent all around but it’s still very overwhelming coming out to your parents. I was lucky to have supportive parents who loved me no matter what because I know a lot of queer kids do not have that. I was still very nervous of coming out, we ended up going to an amusement park and she kept talking to me about my close friend. While we ate lunch at the park, I told her I had to tell her something important, I then proceeded to cry a lot that I couldn’t speak. She guessed “what is it, are you a lesbian?” I shook my head yes, and she then told me that she loved and will always love me no matter who I love. It was nice to have that kind of love and support from someone. After that, she made sure I was comfortable with myself, she let me cut my hair, she bought me a pride flag, I shopped in the boy’s section for clothes. I felt more confident in myself just by having that love and support and I was happy to be in the LGBTQ community. With having that lack of LGBTQ representation growing up, I am so inspired by shows like ‘Wynonna Earp’ and can’t wait to grow my career in the film industry and add more queer representation that I didn’t have growing up. It is such a positive message to see people on a big screen coming out and being authentically themselves because it shows that everyone is valid, and everyone is beautiful. I think start the wave shows so many positive messages to be kind, and be the best you, you can possibly be.

I have turned 20 only a few months ago, but it took me some time to identify and accept who I am: a proud lesbian.

When I was around 12, I talked with a girl who were a few years older than me and who was bisexual. My first question (once I learned what it was from her), was: “How did you know?”
For me, who didn’t even know that heterosexuality wasn’t the only sexuality existing, it was a chock! Her answer gave me the final electroshock I needed: “I just know”.
She just knew! What an answer for the young girl that I was! And from this point, I started thinking. I remembered all the times were I looked at girls, all the times I wanted to be close to them, all the times I had feel things that I didn’t know how to interpret when I looked at some of my friends… And then I compared it with how I was reacting to boys, especially the ones that I dated (even if, well, dating at 12 years old isn’t much more than holding hands and playing video games). The more I thought about it the more I realized that even the fact of holding the hand of my boyfriend was something that gave me goose bumps, and not the right kind.

A few years passed, and when I started high school I still didn’t accepted myself as a lesbian. I had only decided to hide this, even if I didn’t really know about homophobia and all. I wanted to be like everyone else, not different. And it wasn’t exactly as if a lot of cartoon characters were queer when I grew up, so the only person that I knew was queer was the bisexual girl from when I was 12! What a great representation of diversity!
But, one day, I just couldn’t hide the truth to myself anymore: I was having a mega crush on my best friend! Very soon I told her, and even if it was a little difficult for me to live with that, she totally accepted me. And it was the first step of my coming-out.
At first, I still didn’t really accept that I was a lesbian, so, I decided to tell my friends that I was bisexual. Like that I could still hide the part of me that loved girls… and I started dating boys again. Not my best idea since the few kiss that I had with them made me so mentally sick that I couldn’t be close to a guy in the next months without frowning ! (Yeah I must have been dramatic too, but hey, what do you expect from a queer artistic woman?). Anyway, I quickly realized after that, that boys weren’t at all what I wanted.

From there, I decided to tell my friends that I was a lesbian. They all accepted me and supported me. And it was so freeing to finally admit it! It didn’t mean that I was really “proud” of it. My friends knew it, but I didn’t want other people to know.
Then, I told my parents, who were totally supportive, and I’ll always remember my mom saying: “Yeah, I never pictured you coming home with a guy. I guess I just knew”.
I was 18 and my friends and parents knew who I was, they supported me, but me I had still issues with this. I had to wait to enter to university and to meet with new friends, who were all queer, to really admit and be proud of my sexuality. I met with all kind of person who had other genders and sexualities than what I had knew my whole life. They accepted me, and seeing them this free and proud just made it easier for me to feel the same way.

I’m 20 now, and I’m a proud out lesbian. Well, out, yes and no. I don’t really fell like my coming-out is really over, because they’re still two people at whom I haven’t said anything: my grandparents. I know that they’re homophobic and absolutely non-supportive of difference. We already have a complicated relationship, and I’m afraid of telling them this about me, because I’m pretty sure that it would mean the end of our relationship…
So yeah, I’m proud of who I am and don’t hide it anymore. I’m glad to be in the light and to be out, but I know that I haven’t really finished my coming-out journey. Telling my grandparents will be my last step in order to completely be honest about all this.

If I have learned something from all of this is that no matter who you are, if you aren’t ready, you don’t have to come into the light. All that matters is to do it at your own rhythm, step by step. Coming-out is the most freeing experience of my life, and I’m glad that I had to do it in order to be who I am today, but it isn’t something that must be forced on you: you just have to take your time and do it when you’re ready.

I knew I was apart of the lgbt community when I was 19 years old. I had crushes on boys in my early teens as I grew older my liking for girls come in, I hid that part of me in high school, growing up with hardly any representation made it so much harder to understand so I never really dated anyone from 15-20. I would spend my days hiding away watching gay content struggle to accept it.

Till Waverly came around in 2016 watching her I began accepting it for what it is, her coming out story made me feel like it was okay to be my weird bubbly guest/gay self that lead to me coming out. I’ve never been one for labels because I’m still unsure of my sexuality but I know who ever my heart belongs to they’ll simply get the best.

I came out to my sister about possibly liking girls, that night she went and told my parents. My mum confronted me about it to see if it was true or not so I was like yes. I grew up knowing it was okay because my parents are open minded, a few months later i then texted my mum saying I’m gay. In the end I’ve always believed labels are for bottles and that I don’t have to label myself.

Now at the age of 23, I’m happy with whom I am and my sexuality and that being me is beautiful an amazing an that I don’t need to change my way or liking for anyone.

I was sadly never shown anything but what everyone considered social norms. Once I started to learn about the opening of sexuality and gender fluidity I knew I was different but I was always afraid of what it ment. I kept to myself I tried to push it down but I knew I couldn’t forever. I realized I liked girls and like most I thought I was gay. Then, I realized I didn’t just like girls it was the person not gender so I closed off more. I came across your show Wynonna Earp and I felt seen. I slowly came out to my friends last summer which thankfully they excepted me. I came out to my parents and family around September this year and they lucky support me for me too. I still didn’t like labels I said I was bisexual but it never felt right. I realized now I don’t need labels I love who I love no matter the gender. I’m lucky to have the support system I do because I know others don’t. I may be at the young age of (15) but I want to become a producer and director to show and create more positivity and love for everyone.

I’ve always knew I was not like other girls when I was little. Never really got into barbie dolls and all the girly things. I always liked what they boys liked. It wasn’t until high school that I realized that I liked girls and it really threw me off. At that time is when Prop 8 was getting introduced and people were fighting for their right to marry their partners. Something about seeing that and being devastated because that’s how I felt. One day I want to be married and have kids but people saw someone marrying someone of the same sex wrong, so I suppressed who I was. Then 2016 came along and I was really fighting my demons on who I was and who I loved. I looked myself in the mirror and finally came to terms that I love women and that I’m normal and like everyone else. I told my siblings and they support me 100%. I haven’t told my parents and probably never will but it is what it is. I don’t need that negativity from them. My name is Jenell and I’m proud to say that I’m a lesbian and I love women ❤

#OutIsTheNewIn

I knew I was attracted to girls as soon as I knew what attraction felt like, but every time the thought presented itself I promptly decided that it was a problem for future me to deal with.
Initially this was because me as an 11 year old didn’t care too much about much to have a serious think about things, but as time progressed and I learnt words like ‘lesbian’, and ‘bisexual’ on the playground and (slowly) through media the more I realised that what I was feeling was associated with those words.
Once it had a name, it was a thing and it had to be dealt with.
However the name my feeling had was given to it by my peers, who in our first year of high school (middle school for Americans I guess) would still lace those words with mistrust and hate.
Over my dead body would I be associated with something like that when I was just leaving my 11 year old book-nerd-with-a bad-haircut-self behind. So, I shoved those feelings right down and hoped they’d go away, and honestly boys aren’t THAT bad maybe I can have a nice life with a man or maybe I’ll just get one of those jobs where you’re too busy to get married?
Like our beautiful founder I was hoping it would all go away. This remains my coping method in most things to this day.
Anyway then came the years where i talked to the boys my friends said I should on Snapchat and then avoided them at ALL COSTS in school, and I started to really admire women that I’d see on tv or even my friends…. completely obliviously.
I was on the field hockey team for Christ’s sake.
In high school I was quite popular, in that I hung out with the cool kids and people knew my name. I had friends in other high schools so I went to lots of parties and my big sister could buy me alcohol so I had street cred. The field hockey team was where all the cool girls gathered and we’d always joke about how none of us were lesbians despite the trope (lol).
This was a precarious situation. I was a people-pleaser and probably always will be. I would say anything to be liked and stay in a comfortable second row of that pyramid ( I was still living under the shadow of that haircut).
I told myself that I didn’t care anyway so it didn’t hurt to keep it secret.
I also had a best friend whom I was madly in love with. Standard.
When that friendship ended it was as a result of my feelings and my unfair expectations of her and it meant I had to confront them finally.
I was scared because the the people that I loved and counted on were casually homophobic about gay people that we knew. They would say it was their hair or humour they didn’t like but in reality it was that they were different. We were young and stupid and mean and I was terrified of being rejected by them. I was terrified of not being invited to sleepovers, or girls not changing next to me before PE.
All these years I’d been rejecting my own feeling I’d turned them into something ugly in my head. I like dressing in a typically ‘femme’ way. But like not all the time that’s so much effort??? But if I looked in the mirror and felt my hair wasn’t long enough or I didn’t have enough makeup on or felt like I’d gained weight, I thought everyone would know I was gay. As adolescents we’d moved on past ‘gay’ being an insult. Now you had to be afraid of ‘butch’ and ‘dyke’.
I decided that the only possible way to come out and not be rejected was to be as conventionally attractive as possible, died my hair blonde, wore more makeup, shorter dresses, higher heels. All of these were fun in moderation. I lost a lot of weight very quickly and not very safely.
I do whatever it took to fit in because I thought it would make people question me less if I came out. I started to drink a lot and one night in with my three closest friends, I got blackout drunk and when I woke up I’d come out to them.
One way to do it.
Anyway they were so brilliant and it turned out that I just needed to spit it out.
Not just that obviously, I needed to become comfortable with my own body, my sexuality, my emotions and bloody hell I needed some healthy coping mechanisms.
At the ripe old age of 18 I’m not as comfortable as I’d like to be but it’s a journey and I’m on my way.
I started looking for positive representation and that’s when I found Wynonna Earp and wayhaught and Dominique Provost Chalkley who is just too beautifully brave . I also found this beautiful community she created and within it I could not be prouder to be a lesbian woman who is beautiful however I dress, and who is always trying to be kinder and spread more love because of this amazing woman who was brave enough to share her story.
Tonight I’m coming out to my parents and I’m gonna tell them about this gorgeous girl I’ve been seeing, big hugs to everyone telling their stories xx

It all started since I was young…I would watch tv shows and movies and think that the women were pretty in another type of way. I never understood why because I grew up in a place where liking your same sex was odd, different and wrong…Flash forward to middle school: I started being confused over my sexuality…I didn’t know if I liked boys or girls or both. I was very confused. Then, I was in denial…Saying I wouldn’t picture myself being with my same sex, that I supported the community, but I wasn’t LGBTQ+ and all the typical things. In December, I was scrolling down on tumblr, when I stumbled upon this GIF of a bisexual woman and a lesbian woman kissing. I got curious and searched the name of the show on Netflix. I clicked and started watching it and quickly got fond of it…The name of this amazing show was Wynonna Earp and the two women I saw kissing were Waverly Earp and Nicole Haught, also known as Wayhaught. I Remember watching that episode and being like: “I’m bisexual.” I finally realized that I was attracted to both genders and I came out to myself…I left that denial behind and confirmed my sexuality. But there was a problem…I was not out publicly, because I feared I was going to be hated and segregated by my family and others. I thought of the worst and decided to stay in the closet for a few months…On February 14th 2019, This girl dm’d me on Instagram and from there we were talking. We started having feelings for each other and to that day, the only people that knew were: my best bro, my best gal, my sister and her. My mother would ask who I was talking to and I would say that I was talking with my best bro so she would leave me alone…One day, I made the huge mistake of giving this girl my password so I could get more followers on Instagram. On a Saturday afternoon, I was getting ready to go to the movies with my friends, when I receive a text from the girl asking me out on a date. I accepted and went over to my sister to show her the text…Thing was, my mother was doing my sister’s nails and she asked me who had texted me. I didn’t tell her anything and refused to tell her. She said that if I didn’t tell her who texted me, then I wouldn’t go to the movies. We started arguing, until I shouted: “Fine! I’m bisexual and this girl asked me out on a date!” My mother looked at me and said: “thank you” in a disappointed tone and kept doing my sister’s nails. I stormed off to my room and finished getting ready and went to the movies…After the movies, I was angry at my mother, so she tried talking to me, but Iashed out and it resulted in another argument which got me to have my phone confiscated and another issue was brewing…Somehow, my account was cloned and my mom freaked because she thought my account got hacked and my parents are very serious about my safety so, they got off work early and picked me up from school and took me to a fast food joint parking lot. And we talked again…After all that was said, the things that really got to me were these words my mom said…”I just wanted to know what was making my daughter so happy.” And what both told me…”I may not be okay with it, but you’re my daughter…That won’t change how much I love you.” After those words, I felt horrible about myself and my behavior against them…I assumed the worst and I didn’t come out the way I wanted to…What I want to tell people is: Come out when you’re ready and don’t assume the worst…Please stay positive and don’t be like me.

 I properly came out I when I was 25 as a lesbian, but I called myself Bi when I 1st talked about liking women when I was 22 and I fell in love with my best friend.
Growing up in a very religious family I didn’t hear the word gay until my early teens, but never heard the word “lesbian” spoken out loud.
Looking back it was so obvious I was gay as I’ve always “liked” girls/women. I had a crushes on celebrities and my mum’s and older sisters friends, but never put 2 and 2 together.
When I broke away from my family and started travelling the world from 19 year of age I discovered about the gay community. But it really hit home when I fell in love with my best friend when we were in the army.
I was so confused, so embarrassed and thought I didn’t want to be different. My religious upbringing really made me feel guilty and wrong. But luckily my friend was so understand, even though it was unrequited love and I was heartbroken. I went backpacking to Australia after leaving the army and really started hitting the gay scene. There I discovered I was a lesbian as I never was physically attracted to men.
After that, I travelled to London where I had several relationships with women, partied hard on the lesbian/queer scene and years later met my future wife.
We now have 2 kids and been together for 17 years.
So it’s been a long journey and I could tell you so many stories, but that is for another time!
Anyway, I wish everyone discovering themselves a great journey. It will all be ok xxx Romy aka MamaGoo5e

I guess you could say that I knew I was a member of the LGBQ2IA+ community since I was little. I did not know the word for it then but probably around 5th grade I was highly aware of my sexuality and attraction to both men and women. I kept my sexuality hidden, until 2012 when my sister forced me to tell her. That was the start of my coming out story, It took me a while to tell anyone else after I told my sister even though she took it well. I started off telling some friends through text since they live in different states. They all were accepting and happy for me but I still did not feel comfortable enough to tell the rest of my family or friends. After graduating high school in 2015, I was going to my very first SF pride parade when I decided to tell my parents I was bisexual. The morning of the parade I had written them a letter and had them read it, they were very accepting and told me they already knew. I was extremely nervous even though I have a very open minded family with numerous LGBT+ family members. So even though my journey started in 2012 it did not end in 2015 as I barley told my best friend in 2017, which she too told me she had already thought I was. After that I started to think that I shouldn’t have to tell everyone because it is not a big deal, so since then unless someone asks me directly I don’t make a point to say anything. I just wanted to be myself and not feel like I owed anyone an explanation and that is how I live today. As of now I am happy and comfortable with my sexuality but it was a long journey to get to this point. I still have my ups and downs but I know I have many people in my corner to support me. I hope to whoever reads this that it may help you in some way and you know that there is a whole community out there that will accept you unconditionally.

I think I’ve always known I preferred girls to boys from a very young age, but didn’t know I was gay until October of 2019 (I’m 16 btw) when I was around 10 I remember seeing a girl in my school who was a few years older than me and thinking “wow her boyfriend is lucky” that’s the earliest memory I have of that. Except for the obvious early signs of always wanting to be the boy when my friends and I played games, and obsessing over girl bands. When I was 12/13 I became infatuated with female celebrities, at the time I thought I just wanted to be them, but of course then I began to imagine myself being with them. But I just thought I felt that way because they were just ‘celebrity crushes’ that everyone had. I never really had any crushes on boys, but I’d pretend I did just to fit in. I’ve never kissed anyone because well I knew if I did it would have to be a boy since well no one knows I’m gay.

Now here’s the good part. I never realized that I was gay because like I said I only had crushes on celebrities…until October 2019 when I began to crush on a girl in my class. I still remember the exact moment, I had made some joke with her in class and she started to laugh, and her smile was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I got an odd feeling in my stomach and my chest felt fluttery and I just froze. “You like her” kept repeating in my head. I went home that night and just sobbed (and I usually don’t cry) because I had realized that I was gay and didn’t want to accept it. It was so overwhelming. Well obviously a few months have passed now and I’ve tried to suppress my feelings for her (which have increased massively) but that hasn’t worked. So here I am, a 16 year old closeted gay, in love with her friend :/ yes no one knows I’m gay and I don’t know when I plan to come out. I’m really scared to but it’s people like Dom who make me feel less scared!! She has helped me massively, along with Kat and many other women. Watching them on Wynonna Earp and how normalized their relationship is really makes me feel at ease with myself, and in a sense makes me feel safe. Watching Dom, and especially reading her story makes me feel that little bit more comfortable with my TRUE self. And I’m so so thankful for that, so that’s my story I guess 🙂

I have been struggling with my sexuality a lot recently. Dominique’s story really touched me in that I understand the struggle and confusion that often goes with coming to terms with who we are and how we want to identify ourselves. I did not really think about my sexuality until college and then it hit me one day that my feelings were probably not those of a person who would identify as straight. I am still not out and the only person I have told about my confusing thoughts and feelings is my therapist. I want to be brave and live my truth but that is so scary to do. I am still so confused about everything but I am hoping that with time my feelings will become more clear. I am so happy that I have found this community through being a relatively new fan of Wynonna Earp and I am blown away by the support and happiness that comes from the cast and the fans. Thank you for creating a platform where everyone feels welcome!

Well, I came out as a lesbian a few months ago, at 28. Looking back I can see how it was always there, but only recently I started being aware of it. I was always looking for signs, for something to happen to make me take that step. Like I would join a sport team, or wear flannel or convince my gay guy friend that we should go to a gay bar for him to meet guys. I guess I wanted someone to hold my hand and guide me across the “line”. But since this is real life and not a scripted b type movie, it never happened, and eventually I just kind of took a metaphorically deep breathe and jumped over myself. And now I’m here, still alone, but true to myself and my surrounding (who all took it very well.I live in a very open and liberal place so this was never a concern and I’m grateful for that) and finally I feel like I’m in the right direction to the life I’m meant live.
Thank you for this opportunity to share. I wish everyone happiness, joy, adventures and love- self love first and every other kind next.
Love,
Me

I always knew I was different from a young age but thought it was just retaliation to my upbringing. I never really addressed it and choose to just keep pushing it away until my early teens hit and I coped using alcohol as a defence, and continued to date boys/men (most of my partners were older than me).
When I was around in my early teens, I can’t quite remember the exact age, I told my mum at a party I was gay….the result was not great as now it was gossip and my father who I had just recently met came and told me I was not gay. For fear of acceptance, which is all I ever wanted, I recanted my declaration and continued to live my life as “normal”. Gossip was always abound and I wanted to protect my family from it.
Life went on with its usual trials and tribulations until I made the decision to move away, I was in my mid 30s. Being away from my small home town gave me a sense of freedom that I’d always wanted but I had suppressed so much of my life already that it was still difficult to admit my true feelings.
I am now a couple of months from turning 40 and in the last five years I have met so many people from all walks of life and I have realised that I can be who I want to be!
Even though the subject is still kind of brushed under the carpet back home I am proud to say that my family continue to be my rock and reason for doing all that I do now. I want to teach my nieces and nephew especially that you don’t have to fear anything in life no matter what it is, a fear of flying or whatever.
I have followed Dom for about a year now just purely because she is so pure and true and that really is an inspiration to know that everyone is different and can still conquer the world.
Thank you 😊
I would like to end by saying that I am far from perfect but I am me and that is that.
I love my and friends unconditionally,
This is the first time my story is going beyond them.
Peace out peeps ✌🏼

I knew I was unique at the age of about 12, I had talked to my parents who had told.me if I was ever “gay” they would kick me out and a year later I ce out at lesbian. I then was like that for about a year and throughout that I was bullied and told I should commit scuicide bc I was a sin in the eyes of God of some shit but I then after several mental healthe issues I finally came out as transgender ftm and im now 19 and I’m the happiest man to ever walk the earth. Thankyou Dom for comming out your role as Waverly really helped me come out to my family and friends. Love.you girly

I came out to my family in a three page word document in 2006 or 2007. It felt easier than face to face. To this day I still express myself better or shall I say more openly, more honestly, and more in depth via typing, texting, writing. Honestly, After coming out to my family back then, I spent many year’s slowly coming out to people. Through college, through work, etc. I knew most people knew, but there is a huge difference in assuming someone knows and informing them yourself. I can’t recall the last time I “came out” to someone. Now I guess I “come out” in different ways. I don’t explain things or nervously back into it. I will just say this is my ex wife, my girlfriend, my kids other mom. Sometimes I still feel uneasy but generally I’m adapting much better. It took me over 10 years to finally take a chance on cutting my hair short like other friends had and like how I, I repeat “I”, wanted it. I not only love it, but it has created even more confidence.

I have supportive friends, family and coworkers. There will always be people who judge, but I would consider myself to be one of the lucky ones.

I’m Katelyn, I’m 14 and I live in small town Louisiana. In 2016, I was 11. This show that my great aunt told me to watch was called supergirl. And supergirl was the first show I had ever seen, as a 4th grader, that had a gay character. Alex Danvers was always my favorite even before she came out. I didn’t want to tell anyone but when she came out I liked her a lot more, and I didn’t know why. At that time I still was convinced I liked boys. I had a “boyfriend” if you can even call it that in the fourth grade. I was not fully aware of lgbtq+ people. My parents never hid it from me but didn’t talk about it directly. My dad’s best friend is a lesbian and had girlfriends and all but I didn’t fully understand what that meant. Until I watched supergirl and I watched as Alex struggled with her feelings and eventually came to terms with it. I continued to watch supergirl religiously until like sixth grade. At this point i had different boyfriend. The only reason I have ever had boyfriends is bc everyone around me began having crushes and boyfriends. I never really liked the boys i dated more than a friend. One of which was my best friend. He said he liked me and asked me out. I felt so nervous and pressured that he would become upset if I said no so I said yes. It was awkward holding his hand or sitting close to him. And when people asked if we were dating I get uncomfortable answering. One day in social studies, my teacher moves me to a table with three other girls all of which were very friendly and funny. We would talk all the time during class and the teacher didn’t care. The girls who sat next to me was my favorite. We became really close in class, but would not talk outside of class because w each had our own friend group. In class one day we cheated together on a test and we sat extra close and we giggled the whole time. She grabbed my hand and I get a rush of nerves I strike inside of me. All of a sudden I had butterflies in my stomachs. I assumed it was because I really wanted her as a friend and we were just becoming really close. So every day we would sit really close and hep each other with work and laugh and y’all and the butterflies were always there. And every once and a while she would touch my arm and I get like I was melting. One day in line for class she made a gay joke at me and I didn’t laugh or smile. I still had never realized that I was attracted to her. She asked “hey, what’s the matter? Wait are you gay?” She whispered respectively in my ear. I stood silent for a while, pondering on what she had said. “I think so.” I said. I didn’t know why I had said it I had never even thought it before she asked. She put an arm around me and said “that’s chill, I don’t really care man sorry for joking about it.” And that was that, I had just come out to someone. And honestly I was ok with it. I had never felt any internalized homophobia or anything like that I never felt ashamed either. One day she asked me if I was okay with telling people. I didn’t see an issue so I said ya tell whoever you want I don’t care, just don’t tell my twin sister (only cause she would tel my family and I wasn’t ready for that. They are accepting and all I just wasn’t prepared at the moment and I’m still not ready). So she began telling her friends who would then come up to me and ask if it was true and I would nod. I went to a private catholic school and surprisingly never faced homophobia. They were all really interested seeing as how most of them had never known or met a gay person before. I became kind of popular. Until people wanted to know how I figured it out, like who I had a crush on. I didn’t want to say it was my best friend so I made up and answer. I chose the prettiest, sweetest girl in my grade. We never talked much but when we did she was very kind and quiet. Everyone believed me. I said don’t gel the girl because I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable. After a couple of months of telling people I liked this random girl, I began to really notice how pretty and nice she was. My best friend was moved away from me in class and we began to talk less because of it. I began to have feelings for the girl I pretended to like. That girls best friend who was known as a blabber mouth, had been really nice to me and wanted or know who I liked. I told her not to tell the girl and that was the first thing she did. The girl I lied about, and was beginning to have feelings for stopped talking to me. She wasn’t mean about it she just felt uncomfortable which I understand. But it hurt. She wouldn’t even look at me when I spoke in class and avoided me in the lunch line. In seventh grade I eventually realized I was in love with her. I became really really attached to her and I get like crying every time she glanced at me and quickly turned away. Near the end of seventh grade she began to talk to me more and she became more adjusted to my reality. On the one year anniversary of coming out she was the only person, including myself, who remembered and she wished me happy one year. I cried that day. I then realized something devastating, I was going to a different school then the rest of my grade was the following year. They were going to our schools sister school and I was going to a public school. The last day of school I cried so hard. I thought about her everyday of my life until I started my new school. I found out one of my friends was hi and we bonded over that. I get more comfortable in my feelings and sexuality and I eventually graduated from my feelings for that girl. I was free from the burden of obsession I had locked myself into because of the freshness of my emotions. I feel I now, at 14, have a clearer and healthier relationship with my sexuality and I am ok. I’m good and I’m as happy as I can be. I am gay, and I’m ok with that. Girls are pretty, what can I say.

For as long as I can remember I’ve never been a girly girl. I liked playing with the cars and army men. I loved getting in the dirt and playing contact sports with the boys because it was more fun that way. I justified it as just “being one of the guys” because I grew up with brothers. My mother scolded me when I wouldn’t sit lady like, she tried forcing me into dresses, and always complained my hair was always in a ponytail. I’ve never been the “ideal” girl from the get go.

As a teenager in middle school I found myself drawn to girls. I didn’t care what we did I just wanted to be around them. I was hurt more by rejection from them than I was from the boys. The boys I would threaten and they still would chase after me, but the girls were the ones I wanted to please.

Fast forward to high school, I was on the softball team and the oldest stereotype in the book is if you play softball you are indeed a lesbian. Although I knew I preferred girls I never made the connection that I liked them. I got defensive, I got angry, but all along the people were right about me. Being from a small conservative town in the Midwest it wasn’t something I ever saw though, so I pushed that part of me away and tried to push my feelings down and decided to always have a boyfriend. It was fine at first, but as soon as they wanted more I would break up with them because “I just didn’t feel that way anymore.” It was tough on me and my reputation, but I really didn’t care. I could be cold and distant and not even feel bad because my heart wasn’t in it. I fell for my best friend and it ended up poorly as she didn’t feel the same and was weirded out by me having those feelings. It hurt for a long time and again I turned into the cold, distant person.

College I continued the same behavior, but was successful in suppressing my feelings for a couple years. Until I had time out on my own trying to figure out who I was. Finally when I was away from home I embraced those feelings I had and had my first same sex relationship. I was forced to come out to my mom who cried and was upset but in the end didn’t disown me. The relationship ended badly and it made me rethink my feelings. Was I really into girls? Will all of this happen again if I try to be with a girl? Am I really gay?

It took me a year to find a healthy relationship with a woman, and the realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I have been apart of the LGBTQIA+ family for a very long time, but it took me until I was 21 to finally see it.

Currently I’m 24 (almost 25) and have came out to my family and my friends and have never felt more myself! Wynonna Earp I started watching last year and instantly fell in love with the writing, the actors, and the representation. This show made me see it’s okay to go after what you want and who you want because the real family you have will accept you and love you no matter what. The strength and courage I needed was brought to me by seeing that representation and couldn’t be more grateful for the amazing people who made it happen!

It took me a long time to realize I was gay. I came out to my sisters 4 years ago on March 22nd. I was so nervous! But I couldn’t deny I was a lesbian anymore after I was thinking of Alexandra Daddario the way I was. I realize that finding men attractive didn’t mean I wasn’t gay it just meant I had eyes. Coming out later on is so strange because tv makes it seem like you should have things figured out in middle school, but it’s different for everyone. And I’m glad I can be myself.

My Coming Out was 2 years ago.

I noticed early that I not only liked boys, but also felt drawn to the girls. I quickly put those thoughts aside because I thought I was confused. I was in the middle of puberty.

The thoughts always came out over the years. But I still thought I was confused.

This was until I was 26 years old. Then I met her. She unexpectedly showed me what it means to be loved. She gave me love, security and acceptance. She gave me all of these things without expecting anything in return. She showed me what I wanted. 👉 WOMEN

My parents had probably suspected this longer. One day I was visiting them and before I could say something they asked me: “when do we get to know her?”

My parents and siblings have no problems with it. They want me to be me. I don’t need to pretend anymore. I live my life. This acceptance and appreciation of my family gives me support and strength for the future. Because I know I can always rely on them …

“Love is love. It doesn’t matter whether you are into a man or a woman. The main thing is that you are loved and accepted. And you feel good. We don’t want more.” This is a statement from my parents.

They say your childhood years should be the best years of your life–little to no responsibilities, innocent friendships and frequent laughter. My story, however, veered into less blissful territory.

I moved in with my father at age 6, which is where the memory of my childhood began. I was happy there. My father, then on his second marriage, seemed to finally be stable. My step mother seemed to be a wonderful woman who really stepped up to raise a growing little girl she had only just met. 

A year later, my brother moved in, and my father and step mother tried to establish as much normalcy as possible. We spent time together, going to the beach and playing games. What we didn’t see was the complete unraveling of their marriage happening right before us. My parents efficiently and completely sheltered us from their inevitable demise. 

After the divorce, we moved many times. Which of course resulted in different school systems, and different homes, the worst of which were without electricity. Eventually, my father made the decision to move us closer to his family halfway across the country, to the panhandle of Oklahoma. It was there, a year later, where he found the woman who would become his third wife. And as a result, our life settled. 

At age 11, my whole world changed into daily physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, by people who were supposed to be safe. Let me be clear that my father has never, aside from punishment, abused or hurt me. But he also profoundly failed to protect me.

At 13, I realized what attraction meant, and recognized I wasn’t like the other girls in my small town. Each of them had boyfriends and crushes, while I secretly daydreamed about the girls I liked. Like many young gays, I tried to date boys to distract or convince my brain I was “normal.” I hid the pain of my abuse and my homosexuality from everyone. I wrestled and struggled with the abuse and my complicated differences for another year, until finally, I was removed from my father’s care, and placed with my grandparents. 

It truly felt like a crushing weight was lifted off my chest. It felt like my life had just started. But also, I was broken. I was on a train of tragedy, headed straight for derailment with no idea how to slow myself down. So, in an attempt to have any excuse to run away or escape, I came out to my grandparents. Having already endured what I believed was the worst life could have dealt, I shared my secret with them. To my surprise, I didn’t need to run. They hugged me, loved me, and accepted every part of me. I was finally free. Free from abuse, and free from my prison of secrecy. 

I am a queer woman.
I identify as a lesbian.
I have a beautiful family.
I am stronger now than my 13 year old self would ever believe I could be–and I am strong because of what I survived in my childhood. 

-Jes.

#OutIsTheNewIn

When I was younger, I never really thought about my sexuality. I kind of had no interest in dating anyone of any gender. I was somewhat immature and a bit socially awkward, so it wasn’t like anyone was lining up to go out with me. I always admired beautiful women, but never thought anything of it. Looking back on it now, I probably should’ve figured it out a long time ago, but hindsight is always 20/20.
I didn’t start to think anything about my sexuality until my roommate pushed me into joining Tinder shortly after my 25th birthday. I went on a couple dates with guys, but nothing really stuck. About a month after I started on Tinder, my aunt made a comment that changed everything: if you and (female roommate) were lesbians, you two would be all set! That kind of opened my eyes to the fact that maybe I liked girls too.
This is where my story gets to be a little cliche. I started developing feelings for my (straight) roommate. I didn’t tell anyone for almost a month, because I wasn’t ready to tell her how I felt. On St. Patrick’s Day on the way home from a night out, the topic of girl crushes came up. Drunk me figured that if I didn’t tell her now, I wouldn’t tell her at all.
So, with the help of some liquid courage, I came out to her. She was incredibly understanding of it, and was proud of me for telling her. I knew nothing would ever happen between us, but felt that she had the right to know.
I starting coming out to my close friends, and but still had some questions. Do I really like girls too, or just her? Here’s where my story gets even more cliche. I went to see the musical Rent, and when red-headed Maureen came out in her leather pants, I was sold!
That night, I came out to my mom. She didn’t want to believe it, and told me it was just a phase and kind of brushed it off. I knew she would be supportive no matter what, but it still kind of hurt that she didn’t accept it right away. I came out to the rest of my family, other than my dad, at Thanksgiving that year.
It wasn’t until I moved to Key West and got my first girlfriend that I really began to own my sexuality. I’m no longer afraid to tell people, and am trying hard not to care what people think about it. The past 2 years have been an amazing journey, and I am so thankful to the people who have helped me along the way. #outisthenewin

I started coming to the realization that I was gay in high school. I was dating a guy at the time and I realized that I didn’t actually like him, but rather the IDEA of him. I wanted someone to like me; it gave me BUTTERFLIES! It made me feel happy; but I knew that I was not. I didn’t ever feel love for this boy. So after I broke up with him, I began to notice how attracted I was to girl, specifically my best friend. I fell in love with her and got my heart broken, but I am blessed for the experience because it helped me figure out who I am. I didn’t tell anyone in my family or school because I was afraid of the responses and repercussions. There weren’t many people openly LGBTQ+ in my area/life that I could use for support. In college, I fell in love with a girl who loved me back. It was the most amazing feeling! I started becoming way more confident in my sexuality and even told my close friends and parents about it. Over my college years, I became PROUD to be gay, proud to be me, and proud to love who I love. I continue to meet more and more LGBTQ+ people and increase my pride in the community. I hope to come out to the rest of my family and friends soon! I don’t want to live in fear any longer. Life is too short to hide your true authentic self!

I didn’t know you could be something other than straight until I was 13. Growing up in India when homosexuality was still a crime, I didn’t exactly see myself represented in any way. But I guess it’s always been a part of me, whether I saw it or not. I “wanted to be friends” with any girl I thought was cool. I wanted to be the “boy character” in any kind of role-play games. I was starstruck looking at both Zac Efron and Ashley Tisdale. Typical baby gay things.
My internalized homophobia convinced me that I couldn’t come out until I was sure that it wasn’t a phase. (If anything, being straight was my phase) I could muster up the courage to tell my friends only when I was 16 and when I did, I could feel some baggage physically being lifted from my heart. I was always worried that things would change between my friends and I but thankfully they’ve been super supportive and we are closer now because we are more honest with each other :’)
My parents are a tough nut to crack. They’re not homophobic, but can’t imagine having a daughter “like that”. It’s bad enough that they don’t have a girly daughter, and sometimes I feel guilty about my self expression. I don’t think I will ever feel confident about coming out to them.
At the same time, I know there’s hope. Homosexuality has been decriminalized (in India), I see positive representation in media and I choose to have faith in the human race. There are going to be people who won’t accept me, and that’s okay. I would rather be hated for who I am than be loved for someone I’m not.
Love is Love 🏳🌈
~S

Growing up in an academic focused, traditional Asian family, my ‘path’ had always felt like it was mapped out for me. I knew who I was suppose to be the minute I knew how to walk. I was a pretty sheltered child and didn’t even know what the term “gay” meant, let alone understanding it. Moving to San Francisco for college was the first real introduction I had to the LGBTQ+ community. Once learning more about the community and understanding my thoughts and feelings, my whole life made so much more sense. I understood why I was so angry at my best friend in high school for hanging out with her boyfriend instead of me. I understood why I go out my way to make certain girls happy. I finally understood why and that scared me. I was different.

I first came out to my college friends as bisexual because I felt like it was easier for them to understand and accept. I wasn’t honest with myself even then. I’m very thankful that I had a group of friends that were very open minded and supportive. Living in SF at the time didn’t hurt either. I eventually came out as a lesbian to my best friend, crying my eyes out because I was finally allowing myself to admit it. Life at that point was good and I was embracing myself and experiencing this new me. But I soon realize I was living a double life. When I’m home I become someone else. I was out to everyone but my immediate family. I stumbled out of the closet to my mom when I was 21 and she kicked me out of the house, claiming that I was disgusting. She was my hero. I thought she going to understand. She didn’t and it broke my heart. I lived most of my life trying to make her proud and I failed her because I was being me.

I went through some of the darkest times of my life then as I was done with this life and it’s disappointments. I wanted a different kind of out. I try to end it all but I survived and that was my true awakening. I started on a whole new journey in finding myself and to be my most authentic self. During this journey I found the love of my life, a smart and beautiful woman who I asked to marry me. Now that I’m older, I decided to give the conversation with my mother another chance. So last Christmas, I came out again to my mom and asked if she would be at my wedding. Her answer was no. It hurts. It’ll always hurt but I came to the realization that I’m not going to sacrifice my happiness for anyone anymore. At the end of the day, I have to be able to live with myself and the person I’m becoming. I’ve learned to be brave and face what’s coming my way with kindness and compassion. Not everyone will understand my truth just like I might not understand theirs. We as human just need to help each other learn the different truths. Hopefully one day, my mom will understand mine.

But I’m now 31 and I’m the happiest and most free I’ve ever been.
Took 10 years but I’m queer, I’m here and that’s MY truth.

Much love, always.
Sandy

it sounds stupid but when me and my friends were playing truth or dare, i asked the question, truth or dare, and they answered truth and my question was “who do you think is gay in the group?’ when she answered she said someone else, but i said well you wrong because it is me. and now my friends accept me. i Love them so much and we joke all the time like out of all the ways you could come out, you came out that way. I love my coming out story cause in unique lol. <3

I knew from a very young age, maybe 5 or 6 that I was attracted to women in the most innocent of ways but drawn to women nonetheless. I was different than most girls that had surrounded me, all I was able to comprehend was that I was different. Even at such a young age, I felt that that was a part of me that needed to be masked.
I carried on with life slowly realizing and coming to terms with my sexuality. Yet still, suppressing a part of me that got harder and harder to suppress.
I was 21 when I came out to family and the few people I am closest to. I am grateful every single day for them, being as lovely as they were and are about it.
It’s beautiful to realize that you’re beautiful too.
I just know now that this story never really ends, it’s just gets easier to tell.

I knew I was part of the community when I was 14 (I am 20now). I didn’t want to accept it because I didn’t want it. I was not surrounded by “people like that”, my friend with who I was passing my day was very close minded (not a friend anymore), my mom homophobic well was not good.
When I was 16 my friends ask me if I ever questioned my sexuality and with that question I felt in danger and said “no never why you ask?”
But the problem was in that group of friend I got a crush like I have never have on a girl. That was problematic…
I learn after that she was bi, and that the girls were fine with it.
The year after I drank too much at a party, told people that I was a lesbian …
I didn’t feel great after that I cried a lot whereas my friends were telling me it was great and that if they were lesbian they would want to date me.
Then I told my 2 bestest friends, they weren’t surprise at all, they said “well yes Lea obviously I knew it”
When they said that I felt In danger cause I was beginning to tell the people I felt comfortable, but was scared to be judge by others, and I didn’t want the people to know. I was wondering if somebody look at me if they would know.
High school was not great, didn’t feel right, I was not at my place, even if sometimes I was with the girl I had crushes on, and fatally fell in love with… even if we never had a relationship it has always been weird between us and still is a bit
This summer I dated a girl, I had to tell my mom….
Right after a surgery I told her, and she had the worst answer… she said nothing
She don’t like that, she is not ready to accept it.
I must not tell the family cause “it’s wrong they will judge” blabla
(Close minded family, thanks for my dad he is “only racist” (lol) but accept my sexuality)
At the university I m leaving great I feel good new people, nobody to judge we are way too many for the attention to be on me
Maybe I look at girls waaaaaay more that I look at boy maybe I m bi, maybe I am pan, maybe I am lesbian and don’t know I don’t want to know. It is not necessary for my well being all I know is that I am me and nobody is going to change that.
Thank you for reading that
Sending a Frenchy love

Growing up, I didn’t need to look into a mirror to know that I was different. I never needed words like Tomboy, gay, or Freaky Freshman Asian to know that I didn’t belong in a crowd of one million. But people would always feel the need to remind me of this everyday. Whether it was the moms who would cram their daughters into a bathroom stall if they saw me come in or the adults who would kick me out of locker rooms, all I could assume was that I was disgusting.

Indecent. That was the scent that followed me. A smell so pungent that it would only worsen if one tried to wash it off; A fragrance that’s been rubbed into society since the beginning of time. So I wore a mask called shame made out of lies. The more lies I smeared onto it the harder it was to breathe. Until I met a teacher who asked me to strip away the 40-ton shield I was holding. And even as my hands were shaking she managed to pull off that mask; extinguishing the fear that laid beneath it. Taking in a breath of clean air, I realized that I slowly stopped smelling this indecency and in turn, others did too.

We are told growing up that “different” meant imperfection. Imperfection meant ugly. But I want this to serve as a mirror for those like me who grew up without one. I want people of all identities and backgrounds to read this and understand that it’s okay to stand out, it’s okay if you don’t know where you stand. Because far worse than being oppressed for your differences is knowing that you’ve spent your life pleasing people at the expense of your happiness. Happiness we all deserve.

My names Sarah, I first realized I was gay (a lesbian) around 8th grade, I found that I was attracted to women and guys didnt really interest me at all. Except around that time i thought it was unnatural to be gay and that i had to like men. Except for the fact that i had feelings for one of my best friends. So i hid that fact deep down until around Eleventh grade when my parents where looking through my stuff and found something that was from when i though i was bisexual, they addressed it by saying “lets talk about the elephant in the room” i told them it was fake and that i just wantedd to seem “cool”. Dont ask me why i was just afraid. Anywho why the end of 11th grade i finally faced the fact that i knew in my hear that i was gay, i came out to my close friends and my mentor at school first, they were all very accepting. It took me a bit longer to get up the courage to say something to my family and even till this day(12th grade) i still havent told everyone. I first told my sister through text i said “remember how you always said youd love me now matter what?” she responded “yes” and i literally just blurt it out “Im gay”. Of course she and my mom were at home so she knew already but i told her anyways again and they said that they were proud of me. however when i told my stepdad his response was “thats not news to me I already kind of thought so lol” he literally laughed afterwords. i kind of shrunk into my shell and just played it off like it was funny when in fact i was hurt. I then told my aunt who was nothing but accepting i came out to her at lunch one day by saying “shake my hand” and when she did i said “nice to meet you im gay.” anyways i came out originally because i qanted ot just face the truth but i also wanted to go out with this girl id been talking to. However after saying yes to me she crushed my heart into pieces in less than a day. I didnt recover untill like a year after when my mind and heart protecting it said to itself enough is enough. coming out is a journey and for everyone its different, mine was kind of different than i expected. i had always been one to explain sexuality to my faamily from like 8th grade on because they kind of judged people a bit on tv and so i thought theyd judge me too. however i was one of the lucky few who have mostly a very accepting family. Thank you for taking the time to read my sotry. -Skc

My story, ….
When I was about 13y old, i fell in love for the very first time. I know you’re basically still a child then but I had never felt that way before.
The head-over-heels kinda love. My teacher of dutch was the aim of all that love, haha.
My best friend knew what was going on, we had been in the same class since we were 3y old.
I felt so happy, the pink cloud you know. but I struggled too…. It felt so wrong. It didn’t hit me at first but the moment i realized that i did not just like her, but fell in love with her, i also realized that my teacher was not a man, but a beautiful at that time 27y old ( i think ) woman.

Damn, that hit me hard. It felt so so wrong. Everything about it was wrong. falling in love with your teacher? UGH. Falling in love with a woman? UGH. AT 13y? UGH!

Time passed and i did not know how to cope.
So i started ‘cutting’ myself at my wrists. I wore wristbands to cover it up.
I didn’t do it for a long time but by the end i had about 30 marks, each 2 to 3 cm ( about an inch ).

Luckily, the friend i mentioned before, knew that particular teacher also private, as the were neighbors.
She told her what i had been doing, and why….

The teacher talked to me several times, she made time for me during lunch brakes to discuss why everything felt so wrong.
She told me it was okay to fall for a teacher ( happens to a lot of people) but that ofcourse it was not mutual.
BUT also that these feelings for people of the same gender weren’t so wrong as i thought. her sister apparently was gay too.
She looked up some tips to stop the cutting. one i remember was wearing an elastic band around my wrists. so when i felt the need to hurt, i could just pull it, but no scars, no wounds, …. it was the first step to make it stop.

I’m still thankful to this day that she helped me, that she comforted me, that she made me feel good and okay.
Even though it must have been kinda awkard sitting in that room with a kid that is so in love with you….

Yet after all that was over, i did not have the courage to come out to more of my friends or my family.
I waited until i was 16. we got an assignment at school, to make an ad, a kind of collage for your older self to look at. with wishes, aspirations, ..
I wrote down that i hoped i’d be happy with my wife …. a little later our teacher ( religion ) asked something about it, and i came out to my entire classroom. it felt so freeing yet so difficult that immediately after i ran out of class. my emotions were just too much and i did not want anyone to see it, neither did i want to hear a reaction because i was afraid there might be negative ones.
But most of them wore cool with it. except for some boys who reacted rather childish, and i expected it from those particular boys so it didn’t affect me that much ( but it always does a bit … i”m sure you’ll understand ).

I was very scared of my parents reaction too. I kinda knew they would probably be okay with it, my older niece had a girlfriend at the time, my mom’s boss was gay, … and my parents were fine with all of that. but still i had the idea that when it would be their own child, they would react differently.
but they didn’t. my mom was kinda sad, but just because i hadn’t told her sooner, instead of carrying this weight on my shoulders alone for such a long time.

So it all went much smoother than i thought. I realize many people have it a lot worse than me.
but still the thought process, the mental struggle, …. i wish it will be different for the generations to come.
that they can grow up, without thinking for just a minute that they’re wrong, that they’re not good enough.
cause they are good enough.

I am happily married with my beautiful wife Elise, who is a teacher too ;-), see it comes all full circle haha.
We’re expecting our first child, so soon we’ll be a family of 3.

Hope it all works out for all of you 2

As Ellen would say: ” be kind to one another”

Femke
* sorry for the spelling mistakes, my computer freaks out when i type in english.
and i’m not a native speaker ofcourse.

I guess if I really think about it, I always knew I was bisexual…. But growing up, it would be either “you’re straight or you’re gay”, there’s no in between…. And I liked both genders, so what did that make me? I was really scared and didn’t want to be different, so I focused on the “straight side”…
But it wasn’t until last April that I started to really find myself. I guess what I really needed was to have the right people by my side, and I can’t express in words how thankful I am for them. They made me question what I really want and who I really am. I guess I was always so scared to think about it, but when I talked about it out loud for the first time, I felt so relieved…. So free… So myself… And since then it has been a journey. It still is. When I told my high school friends I didn’t know what they would think. They had questions (what I was expecting) but they took it really well.
I still haven’t told my family. I guess I’m still to afraid to do so. I know my mother would be really cool about it, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to my sister (I think she already knows..?), but I don’t know what my father would say… And my grandparents don’t really like queer people… And my family means the world to me.
So I guess I’m still finding my way, but at least I feel so much more confident in my own skin. I think coming out is a journey, one I’m taking at my own pace, but I know I’m gonna be okay in the end. And in the end, it doesn’t matter if I make it with a man or a woman, as long as I’m happy it shouldn’t matter what the otheres think.

When I was really young, in kindergarten and elementary school, I used to wear whatever I felt comfortable in. I had no concept of gender and no concept of sexuality. As I got older, into middle school and high school, I started realizing that I was somehow “different” than everyone around me. I didn’t look like other girls in my class, and while I did try my best to wear what everyone around me was wearing, I never felt like I was “pulling it off”. I would try my best to be as feminine as I could, but it never really stuck and it certainly didn’t feel like me. I never cared if the boys thought I was cute, and I always got super self conscious around my girlfriends.

It wasn’t until high school that everything clicked. I realized like a flip of a light switch I wasn’t into men, but rather women. For a long time I tried to suppress that side of myself because the idea of forever being “different” terrified me. Many nights I spent awake, thinking of ways to undo it or talk myself out of it. Unfortunately, a few of my peers caught wind of my realization and soon I was outed to the entirety of my high school. At first I was absolutely terrified, but there wasn’t anything I could do at that point. I made the choice to claim it and own it (which I know is way easier said than done in some situations). It felt like a silver lining to me that everyone knew and I didn’t have to say the words, because I still hadn’t accepted it truly and I still wasn’t okay with it deep down.

It wasn’t until I made it to college and found a safe queer space that I realized just how truly incredible all of these amazing people around me were. After so much sole searching and simplifying of my life, I was finally able to genuinely accept who I was. Half way through college I started struggling a lot with the idea of gender. I thought, by being gay, it would make sense that I had more of a masculine demeanor (you know, stereotypes and all).

Oh how I was wrong.

These incredible people around me, coupled with amazing representation online, helped me to understand that even though our society genders absolutely everything, it doesn’t mean you have to label yourself as one. See it never felt right for me to call myself a “girl” and it definitely didn’t feel right calling myself a “boy” either. I was so confused thinking I had to put myself in a box so everyone around me felt comfortable. But the truth is, I don’t need to be either male or female, that being a person who is kind and honest is far more than good enough.

It’s incredible spaces like these that bring me so much pride and make it so much easier to say that I am apart of this beautiful community. That sexuality and gender can exist in all their fluidity, or they can not exist at all. That labeling yourself is an option in this world, but it certainly doesn’t have to be a requirement. Mostly, I’ve realized that being gentle with the world and the people in it, no matter the struggle, is far too under-appreciated.

I hope each and everyone of you, no matter how hard or easy your journey has been (or is currently), find nothing but love and support.

With all my love, Casey (KS, USA)
I am gay. I am genderqueer. I am here.

Oh boy oh boy what an adventure it has been. My story is not yet over, unlike many of my companions I have met along the way. So, I would like to tell their stories too.

Beautiful humans they were, always the ones that made me smile and forget my own plights even if just for a second.

My first queer friend I had was a girl I met in grade school. She was so full of colour and life, the teachers always commented on her smile. She was my best friend and trouble makers we were. Year after year though, I witnessed her colour fade and her smile become forced. I never even knew she was queer until rumors began dancing around school. It was a small minded town, with small minded tendencies. And I too, fell into its trap. Different was bad, the whole Adam and Eve schmuck. My parents told me to stay away from her, but why? I couldn’t figure out. I was told to be mean to her because she wasn’t right, but I couldn’t do that. She had been my best friend for years. So very quickly the girl that could make everyone smile made everyone turn away in disgust, oh the irony of just wanting to love. I followed my parents orders when I knew I should not have, but at the time I was more terrified of them than losing a friend. Blood is thicker than water after all. She confronted me in the restroom one day, begging me to not go and leave her like everyone else had. My heart was breaking for her, my best friend. I still did not understand really what the problem was, I just knew that everyone else was not okay with it. I remember very vividly looking at her in that moment. She looked so scared and frightened, but also… resolved. I said nothing to her, I did not know what to say. And the next day, her parents found her body with deep slashes across her wrists. I had lost my best friend due to the ignorance of others. I often wonder if I had said something to her in the restroom that would have changed her mind. The most disturbing thing about it all is, thugs went back to “normal” after her funeral. Her parents took her younger brother and moved across the country. Where there were no whispers of a gay little girl that committed suicide. To everyone else, those were two of the largest sins to be committed. For me, I just missed my friend.

Riley was a light, a beacon that shone brighter than anyone else I’ve ever met. And it’s a tragic tale that her light was snuffed out. Now, years down the line I still remember her face. Sometimes it haunts me, other times she makes me smile. But overall, I feel the resolve too. Not the resolve to end life but the resolve to make it better. No one should go through what she went through.

At the ripe age of 16 I met a boy that was as smart and brilliant as they come. I was not as close to him as I was Riley, but he was a companion none the less. Instead of knowing him for years however, I only had the pleasure of knowing him for 5 months. Because that summer, he came out to his parents as gay and the cycle that began 4 years prior with Riley started all over again. The whispers, the shunning. The whole mess of it. I saw his brilliant mind become clouded with darkness after that and I went to him. Begging him not to do it because there was so much out there outside of that hellhole town. I thought I got through to him, I really did. I did not want to lose another friend. But two weeks later I still did. And the world lost another bright light. He could’ve found the cure to cancer, or found a eco friendly renewable energy source. He had the smarts for it. But like the fate of many others, we will never know.

I have known many that I will never know again and that no one else will ever meet. Too many. This world seems to be shrouded by hatred and darkness. No one is willing to just help each other. I used to think that, and sometime I still do when I’m in a bad place.

When I was 16, the winter after losing him, I began to feel things that I had always suppressed. It was terrifying. If anyone had found out then no doubt I would succumb to the same fate as my friends. So I told no one what I thought, I lied to my family and friends and even to myself. My whole community. I was depressed for years because I was constantly suppressing myself. University though, that was a godsend. At 18 I left my small little town and went to the city. Still though, I never said anything. That is until my lab partner began freely expressing his interest in men. It was quite the shock, to actually witness it. I began to feel somewhat…. safe. Not accepted, seeing as I myself had not yet vocalized anything. But safe nonetheless, nothing bad had happened to him and there he was freely expressing himself. I began doing my research. To figure what I really was and maybe help explain why I was feeling what I was feeling. I had never been able to do that when I was younger thanks to my parents consistant monitoring. But with public university computers, well, anything is possible. I learned more about the queer community in that single semester than I had about anything else. It made me feel… light, and airy.

I was having a conversation with my roommate and some friends during my second semester about sports. We were out at lunch when I was asked if I played any when I was younger. I told them I played a lot of different sports, but softball was my longest running one fo 14 years until an injury took me out. It seemed like a normal conversation, I thought nothing of it. Until I heard “Oh wow, are you a lesbian then?” My head jerked up from my turkey sub and against my own consent I became very nervous and shaky. I stumbled out the question “what do you mean?” To which I was then provided with the answer that it was stereotypical that lesbians played softball and nothing was meant by it other than a joke. But that joke rang in my head like a bell for weeks. Was I a lesbian? I had never really admitted anything to myself before. Did I have to?

Years after, I came to understand that I didn’t. No label is necessary to be happy, some people go by them and others don’t. Half of one, dozen of another really. I found happiness within myself because I realized that as long as I knew who I was then everything would be okay. More than anything, I wish I could go back and express this to those that I have lost. Perhaps then my friend Riley would still be here. But I cannot change the past, just the future. It’s all we can really do. I do not want to place any more flowers or premature headstones and I doubt anyone else does either.

So, my friends, if you are in a troublesome place where you do not know what to do or say- just breathe. Everything will be okay. Keep your head up, this is only the beginning. And for the sake of my lost comrades and many others that no longer shine with us, do not give up. For the fight has only begun. We are all human and we all deserve the right to love and be happy, regardless of what we identify as. Do not be afraid.

Best regards,

That Tall Redhead <3

Oh, and remember- the actual saying is “blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb” 🙂

I could, and regularly do, tell the story of coming out as a lesbian in the age of Section 28. I tell it because, mostly, it’s relatable, and it’s got some funny bits, and has very clearly defined parameters that say “This was the moment I was not out; this was the moment I was out.”

I’m not going to do that; instead, I want to tell you about what was, for me, a much tougher journey, one which took a lot longer and a lot more questioning, a journey which is no where close to being finished. I want to tell you about being butch.

It isn’t a popular word, nowadays, even in the LGBTQ+ community. But it’s an identity that helped me verbalise my own gender when I didn’t know how to, and gave me the comfort that I wasn’t the only woman trying to find her way through the world when the trappings of femininity felt increasingly like a cage.

I had always been a tomboy, more interested in climbing trees and getting muddy than in playing dress up and dolls (the barbie dolls my mum bought me spent more time rescuing each other from hideous fairytale monsters than they ever did swooning over Ken). Which is fine, when you’re young. It gets less fine as you get into adolescence, when the expectations of society become more restrictive, and the struggle to fit in, to be normal, comes to the forefront. I was a shy kid, bullied because my family were working class in a middle class neighbourhood, and my parents were catholic and somewhat strict; the thought of standing out any more than that made my stomach churn. So I wore the skirts, rolled shorter at the end of the road so our mothers wouldn’t see, and applied the colourful eye shadows which we’d be marched to wash off after first period, and I felt like I would never be happy again.

Skip forwards 8 years, and I was living away from home for the first time, in a foreign country, with no one to define me but myself. It was an opportunity, not just for learning, but for becoming. I found myself around people who wouldn’t bat an eyelid when I cut my hair short, or tentatively started adding “men’s” clothes to my wardrobe. It gave me freedom to experiment with my name and my pronouns, and start to uncover the layers of my attachment to womanhood that I had long since hidden in shame. I still felt anxious about it; there were still confusions and unkindnesses as a result of my outward appearance, but more clearly than any of those, I remember standing in front of the mirror with my waist length hair shorn for the first time, the strands lying around my feet, and crying because I finally felt like I was looking at myself.

It took another 5 years for me to exclusively start wearing “men’s” clothes, to stop disguising my mannerisms to appeal to the wider society who still demand performance of culturally mandated gender roles. It helped that I had found, online and offline, a community of women like me who enabled me to map out the words I needed to explain this huge part of my identity, and a woman who made me believe I was ‘handsome’ – not ‘pretty’ and certainly not ‘strange’. It took two thirds of my life and that unwavering support to fully accept myself as a woman, a lesbian, and a butch, and I’m still learning.

No, butch isn’t a popular word, nowadays. For the wider world it carries too many of the negative connotations attached to it by the narrow feminism of the 1970’s, but for me, it’s the key descriptor for who I am. I found an affinity with it, and it helped me – is helping me – on my journey as I dig deeper into what that means. It’s true that labels are just words. They’re just words we use to verbalise who we are, and our feelings towards them are based on our own personal experiences as we travel through life, constantly evolving or cementing as we ourselves grow. To the world at large, I’d ask you one thing: be gentle with other people’s labels, and the words they choose or do not choose to give their identity form. Invalidating them is a form of invalidation for the many roads they travelled to find them.

And to the masculine of centre women – the gender nonconforming women – the women getting called out in the ladies’ loos and receiving the side eyes as they pick up their groceries – stay strong. Stand tall. Keep on holding your own. And hold onto your swaggers – we’ve earned it.

Zo, Birmingham UK

Growing up it wasn’t gay or lesbian. In my house it was “homosexual” and it certainly was not a topic of conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I was never told it was a bad thing. My church didn’t tell me I was going to hell. It just simply was not talked about and according to my Mom it was a mental illness that could be cured with therapy (although it had been removed from the DSM in 1973.) When I think back on it I probably started questioning my sexuality when I was about 12 or 13. At the time, I didn’t know what was happening. I just knew that any time I would talk about having a crush on a guy it felt forced. My budding teenage self didn’t have a clue.

When I first started questioning the only out Lesbians, I knew of was a teacher that used to work at the school where my Mom taught. My mom vilified her and talked about how much she disliked her. The other out lesbian I knew of was K.D. Lang. Again, my mind wasn’t thinking in terms of lesbian or gay. These were unfamiliar terms for me. I had heard them, but they almost felt dirty.

At the same time my brother who was of college age would come home talking about bands that were playing at his college, bands like Indigo Girls, REM, B-52s (yes, I am a Georgia girl.) My brother would also frequently talk about his friendship with Keith. I remember wanting to have a solid friendship like my brother had with Keith. I never had many friends growing up. I was very Introverted, still am, bordering on the clinical diagnosis of shy. My friend was whatever book I was reading at the time and the adventures it would show me.

I had been told by my Mom that it was normal for girls to be curious about other girls. Because my Mom said my feelings were normal, I never really felt like I was questioning anything. I just thought all girls thought like I did, and it was OK. Any time I felt weird about anything there was always an explanation. I would get embarrassed having to change out for gym because I was trying so hard to control where my eyes went. Mom said, “honey that’s normal everybody is embarrassed to change out for gym.” I would get “girl crushes” all the time. Mom said, “honey that’s normal girls get crushes on other girls all the time.” There was always an explanation for how I was feeling, and it was always “normal.”

When I was 19, I had just ended my first relationship. It was my first romantic relationship and the one and only relationship with a man. I was in college living at home. I was being exposed to different things. Indigo Girls where my favorite musicians followed up with Melissa Ethridge coming in at a close second. A friend of mine took me to a gay bar. I was more nervous about using an ID that did not belong to me to get in than I was to go to a gay bar. The ID wasn’t fake, it just wasn’t mine.

Once inside I remember seeing a young man with short blond hair. I only saw him from the back. But from the angle I saw he looked good. I remember commenting to my friend “to bad he is gay, he looks cute.” My friend said, “oh, that’s Chris, I’ll introduce you.” The introduction never happened. I remember being socially terrified and ran to the bathroom so I could hide. Later I found out that my friend had given Chris my phone number and told her I was interested. I was mortified both that I hid and that my friend had said I was interested in her. Chris never did call but I was secretly hoping she would.

As I am writing this and now looking back, clearly, I was a Lesbian. I was so “normal” I just hadn’t figured it out yet. I started to test the waters at this time with the idea of coming out and was desperately looking for someone who I could tell and would help me with my journey. I knew no one. I had always been told anything I needed to know I could learn from books. This was pre-internet. I couldn’t find any books about it. There was not gay/lesbian section in my local bookstore. I was a English major at the time so I used the reference section of my college library to find anything I could about being a lesbian. Most everything I found was related to men and it was some interesting at times and weird at times information. It just never told me what I wanted to know. I tried to come out to a person at my church at the time. I was told she was going through a divorce at the time and couldn’t deal with my problems too. It was probably the best.

Skip a few years ahead, I am now 21. Ellen has just come out. Now I know of three people who are out lesbians. My list was growing. The Internet was all the rage. If you were anybody, you had AOL and you would check out chat rooms to “meet” people outside of your bubble. This is where I ultimately met my first girlfriend. We had been “chatting” with each other for a couple of months before she said “hey, we should meet!” I knew she lived north of Atlanta. I had not seen a picture. I hadn’t even come out yet. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was interested the meet this person I seemed to know so intimately yet did not know at all. My over-protective mother had never allowed me to drive to Atlanta. I wasn’t sure how she would take this news. I knew there was no way I could tell her, “Mom, I’m driving to Atlanta to meet a girl that I think I might like. We have been talking on the computer for months. No, I don’t know what she looks like. Yes, I am going.” So, I told my Mom that I was going to Atlanta to visit my brother and Keith. Yes, they finally moved in together.

I wasn’t stupid, I knew if I was going to some random bookstore to meet someone, I had never seen I should probably tell someone. Just in case. I couldn’t tell my brother. I cornered Keith in their kitchen and said, “Before I tell you anything, I need to know that you and my brother are a couple.” Keith responded with calling out my brother’s name and saying, “get your ass in here and tell your sister that you are gay.” Learning this news opened so much more. It now meant that I had someone I could talk to. I “fessed up” and told them my plans. They were both very encouraging and told me to have fun.

It was on this occasion in October of 1998 that the woman I was supposed to meet kissed me. I had been kissed before but this time I understood what people meant when then said something was magical or they saw fireworks. I wish I could say that this first girlfriend and I fell in love and lived happily ever after. That is okay because eight years later when it was the right time for both of us, I met the love of my life and have been with her for 14 years.

A. Ward – Georgia

Hi guys my name is Gaby, I have 23 years old and I from Venezuela but I live in Argentina.

so here goes:
I started to feel strange when I was very young, when I have 10 I started to realize that I was attracted to one girl in my school something that not happened to me with boys, it was a stange felling it scared me a lot I studied in a religious school and my family were very traditional So what they had instilled in me since I was little was that those feelings I was having were VERY BAD because of that I made my feelings go aside I grew up trying to ignore what I felt, I knew that something was different in me and that kept scaring me a lot, I did not talk to anyone, many nights I cried and told myself that it could not be like this, God going to punish me and that My mom would suffer a lot, so I kept ignoring that feeling and hid it pretty well until I fell in love. I fell in love with a girl without realizing how it happened, but it was what I felt, I do not know what happened to me, but one day I woke up and told myself that I could not continue deceiving myself, that I could not let go of my happiness because of people think bad about me, so I dared to be myself, it was not easy to accept me but when I decided to talk to my friends they supported me 100%, gave me strength, I started to read and see lgbt characters on tv what made me inspire me more and more and make me feel great, YES I am different and what? being different is AWASOME.

Time passed and I decided to come out the closet with my mom, I can swear that it has been the most hard and sad moment for me, she cried a lot, got angry to the point of calling the who was my girlfriend at that time and demand her that she move away from me I was a minor (16 years to be exact), that night I felt extremely bad I came to feel very guilty for all the pain my mom was feeling, for my mom, being a lesbian was the same as being a drug addict, coming out with my mom it was not nice, but I must say that it is the best thing that I could do, After several visits to the psychiatrist, many conversations, and all the information my mother sought about homosexuality, today my mother has become my greatest support. hearing from my mother “You are my daughter, I love and accept you as and as you are “is the most gratifying and beautiful thing that has happened to me, she supports me, she loves me as well as she also loves my girlfriend (The love of my life), little by little I was telling my cousins ​​and aunts my truth and I The only thing I have received is love and support, now and after several years (I am 23 years old) I can say that I am a free woman to love whoever I wantand with all the confidence to shout it out to the world, thank you To my mother who despite being from another era and being a traditionalist, put love for her daughter before everything, thanks to my friends for always supporting me, thanks to the fact that we now have good and incredible LGBTQ representation on TV, I must thank the universe for putting such amazing people in my life. I really hope that if you are reading this it will help you, that you understand you are not alone, that the world is a beautiful place, love always win because LOVE IS LOVE and love is what moves the world.
Be BRAVE, be STRONG, be HAPPY and FREE.

This was my story, thanks for letting me share it with you

PD: Dom. I am so happy for you. I would like to thank you for always inspiring me. Your light makes others shine.

Start the wave.

My best friend at primary school was my first love. I remember a lot from that time although frustratingly not first meeting her. But I remember her vividly. Tall (obviously relatively) with long dark hair and a lick right in the centre of her forehead. Her name was Cassie and when one day she wasn’t well enough for us to hang out, it was the first time I recall my heart hurt. I sat on my swing and I cried.

But even at primary school at the same time I was clearly in love with Cassie I had a boyfriend with whom I shared my first kiss, and more boys and more kisses followed. I liked boys a lot – I still do, they are often the people with whom I feel most comfortable and share the most in common. But it’s easy to confuse these two feelings when you are 5! And once they are set you barely question them; society gives you no call or space to.

I didn’t know there was any other option to the fairytale ending of when boy meets girl, that was and mostly remains, ever present in our society. Until I watched Ellen coming out when I was 15. Channel 4 made it a big Friday night special – they celebrated. In 1997. At peak Friday night TV mania! I’ve never had an opportunity to say thank you to whoever made that happen (btw a generation of queers salute you) – but thanks to them I started to think about myself and who I was. And although I knew in my little world it would be hard – I had this possibility that in the big world I would join there were ways I could be me and maybe even celebrated.

I came out at university. I was 20 years old. I was practically the only gay in the village. It was 2003…

I have continued and evolved to at least try to be authentically me. What that means changes. The recent explosion (or at least it seems to me) of gender fluidity is another expansion of who you can be. And another moment for me to reflect. Who knows what that means for me yet because now I’m older there are more layers to peel back.

But the culmination of it all is where I am now. And I have a job I love, amazing supportive friends, a wonderful family – one I was born into, and one I made. The later of which includes my two beautiful little boys, who warm my world.

I’m an unconventional traditionalist. Or at least I am for now.

I’ve always known I was different. I grew up being a “tomboy”, playing sports, playing in the dirt. I also grew up doing dance and loving makeup. I came out as a lesbian at 16. Navigating that world was a tremendous journey. I still didn’t feel like that’s where I belonged. Fast forward 10 years and I discovered what it meant to be non-binary. Nothing has ever felt like it fit more than when I heard that for the first time. I came out as non-binary at 26. This opened an entirely different world to me. I met some really incredible people and actually felt like I finally belonged. Fast forward 2 more years and I’m now 28 and I’m out as a non-binary trans human who identifies as queer. I truly believe love can solve anything. Being part of the queer community opened my eyes to so many things and I truly believe I’m a better human because of it.

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