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Community Rainbow Waves

There are so many words like that that have accompanied me all my life. If you are young, inexperienced, hormone-controlled, such words can turn your life upside down completely and this mostly not in a positive sense. No matter how hard I tried to find out what is so different about me and tried to behave like the others, it didn’t change the fact that I was different. In puberty the finding of oneself is a central thing, one tries out, sometimes crosses borders, lets go of control, tries to integrate into society or to question it by rebellious behaviour. Puberty is a difficult patch and is unfortunately underestimated far too much on the way to an adult life.


My name is Daniele or just Dani and i am a Transgender.
I was born as a girl named Daniela Antonietta. My mother is a South Italian and my father is Swiss with Hungarian roots and Jewish confession. Temperament and passion are in my cradle. I could now tell you about so many wonderful memories that I had as the middle of 3 daughters. My childhood was very beautiful, we experienced so much love and were allowed to be who we were. I never wanted to wear little dresses, never play with dolls, never be a princess or do other quiet things like my sisters, I wanted to be a ninja, climb trees in the forest, build something, do nonsense, play soccer. I had the great luck to grow up in a very social and open minded home where I was not denied this, I was allowed to be as I was. There were very difficult and sad fates and experiences in our family, which I don’t want to go into in detail now, but I can say that we were able to deal with some of them through our solidarity and the love we have for each other, or at least found ways to live with them. I am definitely not one of those people who can say that my childhood was bad, or that I had bad parents who didn’t accept me, or that I grew up in a country where strict guidelines apply, no, it was the other way and I will always be grateful for that. but unfortunately this is not always enough to avoid falling into very big problems. I won’t tell you my whole journey when my Pupertys startet now, because then I would have to write a book 🙂

no matter how my journey was and still will be. i have been living happily as a man now and full of love , just as i have always felt.

You ask on the Start the wave page what we do good for the world and that is not so easy to answer. I can only describe what I do good in my environment. With my open nature that is full of love and my motivating, energetic, empathic and very humorous way I try to support people in their lives. I always try to be free of values and try not to change anybody if they don’t want to change themselves. I appreciate life very much and try to give the world something good with my profession as a nurse, namely hope, relief and a beautiful smile on their faces.

All the best for everyone and Love will always win 🙂

CONTENT WARNING: THIS COMING OUT STORY CONTAINS DESCRIPTION AND/OR DISCUSSION ABOUT ABUSE.

I live in a country where homosexuality is punished by law – up to 20 years in jail and whipping. The government and religious bodies here are against the ‘lifestyle’ and want to ’guide people to the right path’. I have seen a member of my family spit at an interracial straight couple. My best friend is of mixed parentage, and I have received so much pushback from my family to stop being her friend because of this reason. I come from a homophobic, racist, narrow-minded family. And my mother abused me growing up – physically, emotionally and mentally. I also come from a minority racial group, where in my country we are second class citizens. We do not have equal rights, this is the law. Imagine all that and going through a sexuality crisis at school all by my lonesome.

My life was very sheltered. My mother had her own values that I didn’t agree with. She would call me useless, unwanted, heartless, ungrateful and a pariah everyday. For no reason, or a very small mistake like not completing a chore before she got back home from work, she would make me squat outside the house in the dark facing the wall for hours not knowing if snakes, scorpions, spiders, centipedes, rats or cockroaches were approaching me from behind. For hours. And over a span of years, this went on. If I opened my mouth to protest, I would get a caning, and still had to do the punishment.

I became a loner. I didn’t talk much. I tried to stay away from home as long as I possibly could. I would give excuses like I had extra classes or after school activities. During these times, I would take walks and sit by the paddy fields across the road from the house. Just thinking. Because on top of all these things going on in my head of being just a complete useless person, I was also dealing with my sexuality. I didn’t have a sense of there even being such a thing as lesbian or bisexual. I’ve never heard of these things, coming from a fishing village. In the small amount of time in a week that I did watch television, there was no representation of such things. And there was no Internet back then. Therefore there was no awareness.

So when I started developing crushes for other girls, I felt like I was doing something so wrong. I felt dirty and guilty and shameful of myself. But I couldn’t stop these feelings. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I couldn’t talk to my parents. Not even my dad because he was too afraid of my mother to say anything to me. I certainly couldn’t talk to my school friends. They were an immature bunch of kids who just wanted to talk about fun things like the latest pop music or television show. I don’t blame them, they were happy kids from happy households. Our priorities were different.

Things got a little bit better when I started college. My parents moved to the town where my college was in. So I continued living with them. This is the culture in my country. Kids don’t move away from their parents at 18, we stay together as long as possible. Therein lies my problem. Because until today I have to take care of my still abusive mother who is now 81 and immobile. I have put aside my life for her, but that’s a different story. In college, I had access to the Internet, and with that came the awareness of the LGBT community. I didn’t feel so alone anymore. I didn’t feel like I was wrong. And I started a relationship with a girl I have been crushing on for a while (turns out she had been crushing on me too). We were together for about 4 years, in secret, until her parents got her married off to a man and they moved to a different country. It broke my heart, but it also opened my eyes to the awesomeness of being in a relationship with someone you love.

I don’t know where I’m going with this, but I thought I’d just share with everyone that things are bleak sometimes and it may seem like there is no hope. But in all that craziness, there will always be a small sliver or light you can hold on to. Life gives you that much. My situation is still shitty at best but I choose to believe that things will turn around for me. I did not become like my mother, and I am proud of that. I chose kindness and compassion and tolerance over what I have been taught and shown my entire life. So I know there can be some good in this world that rubs off on you and sticks with you because you know it feels right for you.

I knew I was gay before I knew what gay was. I remember watching Hocus Pocus as a child and being in love with Alison. I knew how I felt, but remember thinking “that’s not right though because girls like boys.”

When I was 11 and started high school I had 2 friends who soon stopped talking to me because I wouldn’t say which boy in our class I liked, I could have said which girl I liked but I knew that “wasn’t a thing” having still never heard the word gay and with no education on the subject or representation on TV or in films.

I actually can’t remember the moment I found out about different sexualities but I know at some point my understanding went from “girls like boys” to “okay girls can like girls but it’s wrong/frowned upon.” Whatever my understanding I knew that I liked girls, and girls only, but I also knew that I would never tell anyone.

I am a people pleaser, I didn’t want to stand out or ever be controversial in anyway. In fact that’s something I still say to people when they say that being gay is “my choice” – if they knew me at all they would know I would never choose to be something anyone deemed as unacceptable.

I really tried hard to like boys, I could write a book on the disastrous dates I went on when people tried to set me up. I never had a 2nd date with any of them, I’d get home and cry and make excuses as to why they weren’t the right fit. I just thought that was my life, I’d just be on my own, it was easier than coming out and not knowing how the people I love would react.

I wrestled with these demons and never told a soul I was gay until I was 26 years old.

And then everything changed, a new girl started at work and as soon as I met her I was in love, we had the same interests, the same values, we soon became best friends.

We had been friends for around a year and a half when she came upto me as she was leaving work and said “text me when you finish, I need to tell you something.” I didn’t think anything of it, so when I finished I was text her “hey! what did you want to tell me?” She replied with something cryptic like “can you think of anything it might be?” for a brief second the thought flashed in my head “Oh my gosh she likes me” but I quickly dismissed it. Emma was a beautiful 19 year old dancer who everyone was after, I was a 26 year old spectacle wearing lump. So I replied and said no I didn’t know what she wanted to tell me.

Then came the text.

She liked me! It was a long text and I still know it by heart but the gist of it was that she liked me, and she knows I probably don’t think of her that way but she just had to tell me because sometimes she got the feeling we were on the same wavelength.

Well, I didn’t reply for a good few hours, which I still feel bad for. I just led there in bed thinking okay this could go 2 ways, I could reply and say no sorry I don’t feel the same and carry on living this lie without the disruption coming out would cause, or, I could say yes actually, I feel exactly the same and be true to myself for the first time in my life.

Thankfully I went with the second option, the hardest part was coming out to my family and my friends. My sisters were both amazing, my mum and dad took a bit of getting used to it but are now the biggest advocates. I lost a few friends but those closest to me were just so proud of me. Not a day goes by when I don’t appreciate how blessed I am to be surrounded by such an amazing group of people.

So that text from Emma was back in 2014, the 11th of July to be precise, from that day forward we spent every moment together. We lived between our parents houses until we could afford to rent a flat of our own. Then in 2018 we bought our first house together, and now we have 2 beautiful dogs and will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary next month.

If I could tell 26 year old me that in just a few years your girlfriend will be proposing to you in front of your whole family and everyone will be cheering, I don’t think I’d believe myself.

Ours is my favourite love story, I know not everyone is as lucky as me, but it’s important to give hope to anyone who is in the same position I was – it gets better, and being true to yourself is never the wrong choice.

People ask me if I wish I’d come out sooner, the truth is that no, I don’t wish that. I wouldn’t change a thing in my story and risk it being any different than it is now ❤

I would say that I always sort of knew that I was not aligned with the social norms of the society around me. I knew I was a little different because as a girl, I hated dresses and pink and I loved playing in the dirt and racing the boys in my class. I know that those differences alone didn’t make me sexually different but I felt it was a small sign that who I was in the sexual manner was different. My cousin ended up coming out long before me. He was just a few months older than me and he was my best friend. Seeing as I grew up mostly in a very religious area and was raised in that religion, I learned that homosexuality or gender fluidity was wrong and would send you to hell. So at first, I didn’t understand my cousin much because I was raised to think that sexuality was a choice. I soon saw that he was still the same guy who was my best friend and that I absolutely adored. We still laugh about it to this day, but he knew that I was going to come out someday. As I entered high school and progressed in understanding myself, I knew that I did have strong feelings for women and that men never really interested me, romantically or sexually. I tried to push this down and deny that part of myself but like one of my role models had mentioned is that you can’t really understand yourself without understanding your sexuality because it is such an integral part of you and who you are. I also pushed down ever multiplying thoughts about homosexuality because my mother was very homophobic. So on I went ignoring that part of me and hoping that one day I would fall in love with a man. Then the summer of my junior year in high school I went to ALA Girls State, which was a state camp for girls to understand how government works and all that good stuff. That was where I had my first crush. I really had never had a crush before that I mean not to that intensity. If any of my friends had asked I would have made something up about who I liked at the time. But that summer, I had my first crush, and it was a girl. The moments I realized that I was crushing on someone, I started to panic and try to talk myself out of it. But there was no talking myself out of it anymore. As the time at that camp had come to an end, we had all grown very close and I decided to come out to them. It went very well. I felt so confident about it and was so grateful to have had such a supportive group of girls to come out to first. Not long after, I had my second crush on a girl on my lacrosse team. Let me tell you, it was a hard crush. But really it just helped me understand myself and the feelings of attraction. At that point I was getting a lot more comfortable in my sexuality. I had already come out to some friends and my cousin. Another maybe month later, I was on a cruise with my mother and boyfriend, now step father, and that was when my mother decided to drag me out of the closet. My mother and I have always had a very strained relationship and this really did not help. She really asked me if I was homosexual and at that point I was done denying it. So I said yes, hoping for a better reaction than I got. I didn’t get what I was hoping for. She ended up guilt tripping me and keeping my own money away from me to try and make me not love women. I would as for $10 of my own money that she was holding on to for a souvenir and she would say, “can you not be gay?” as an answer. I ended up having to promise that I would not “be gay” until I was 25, which I really just said to make her leave me alone. I then started to think that she already knew that I liked girls and I wondered how she knew, so I asked. The answer was that she had gone through my phone and my texts and found out. It wasn’t a great. So after that we had many heated talks about my sexuality but in the end she’s still homophobic and probably will never accept it. She and my stepfather think that it’s a phase because “studies show that girl’s sexuality is fluid until they are 25”. As I am distancing myself from them, I am becoming more comfortable and happy with who I am. Thank you to the entertainment industry for being the example and showing me that love is love and that I am okay the way I am. Big thank you to The 100 and Wynonna Earp specifically. I don’t have a label for myself at the moment because I am still discovering who I am. But what I do know is that I am who I am, and that is good enough. STORY CONTAINS DESCRIPTION AND/OR DISCUSSION ABOUT SELF-HARMING BEHAVIOR AND SUICIDE.

My name is Lauren. I’m a 24 year old disabled woman from the United States. If you’re taking the time to read my story, thank you. I hope something I’ve written encourages you.

I am a Lesbian.

Yes, you read that correctly. I’m disabled and a lesbian.

No big deal, right? Wrong!

Don’t get me wrong, I love being lesbian and loving who I wish. It wasn’t always that easy though. Due to a conservative Christian, non denominational church background I grew up from day one believing I must be straight. My parents made comments about my getting married to a dude and having children so many times I lost track. Every time they did, something inside me broke a little more, until….

I dated a woman in secret while living with my parents. It was a long distance and we never managed to meet in person and the relationship ultimately ended, but during that time I learned so much about myself. I became much more confident in myself as a person and as a Lesbian.

Ultimately, my parents and I clashed over religious views among other things. I was invited to leave their home and I did. Though I still attended church with them

October of 2019 – I’d been wanting to leave the church for a long time as I felt it was no longer for me. I texted my mother to inform her I was no longer interested in attending church. She replied that she was disappointed and heartbroken. My father’s reaction was similar, but I’d expected it.

Since moving into my own place and telling my parents I was no longer attending church, I’ve felt so much freer to express myself and be who I am. Although, before all that I attempted suicide twice before ultimately embracing every part of who I am. I know in my heart that my parents and conservative friends that I grew up with will never approve of my being a Lesbian. (That’s why I haven’t told them) After 20+ years of a religious upbringing I know that to tell some people who I am would only lead to arguments and hurt feelings.

For every hardship there’s a rainbow at the end of it all.

I’ve found this community within the last year or so as well as an extremely supportive Discord community that has welcomed me with open arms. I feel stronger, kinder, and better, overall then I ever have before in my life. Throughout my journey, I have met so many amazing, loving humans and I am grateful for every single one.

Was it hard?

Absolutely!

Do I wish my story were different?

No.

If I hadn’t gone through everything that I have I don’t think I’d be the person I am today. I don’t think I’d even be sitting here writing this, and hoping that it makes a difference to you, dear reader. I’m grateful to be me. I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful for everyone reading this.

If I can leave you with one lesson, it would be this, be GRATEFUL for who you are and where you’ve come from. No matter what your background is, no matter how dark or challenging it may seem right now.

IT WILL GET BETTER!

One day, you may share your coming out story with people, as I have done here! Be grateful for who you are, because someday your story may mean the world to someone else who is struggling with their sexuality. When you share your story to help someone else, they will be grateful, even for a moment, for your existence. They will spread that gratitude and courage to others.

Let’s build a better, more grateful, inclusive world one rainbow at a time!

CONTENT WARNING: THIS COMING OUT STORY CONTAINS DESCRIPTION AND/OR DISCUSSION ABOUT SELF-HARMING BEHAVIOR AND SUICIDE.

My name is Lauren. I’m a 24 year old disabled woman from the United States. If you’re taking the time to read my story, thank you. I hope something I’ve written encourages you.

I am a Lesbian.

Yes, you read that correctly. I’m disabled and a lesbian.

No big deal, right? Wrong!

Don’t get me wrong, I love being lesbian and loving who I wish. It wasn’t always that easy though. Due to a conservative Christian, non denominational church background I grew up from day one believing I must be straight. My parents made comments about my getting married to a dude and having children so many times I lost track. Every time they did, something inside me broke a little more, until….

I dated a woman in secret while living with my parents. It was a long distance and we never managed to meet in person and the relationship ultimately ended, but during that time I learned so much about myself. I became much more confident in myself as a person and as a Lesbian.

Ultimately, my parents and I clashed over religious views among other things. I was invited to leave their home and I did. Though I still attended church with them

October of 2019 – I’d been wanting to leave the church for a long time as I felt it was no longer for me. I texted my mother to inform her I was no longer interested in attending church. She replied that she was disappointed and heartbroken. My father’s reaction was similar, but I’d expected it.

Since moving into my own place and telling my parents I was no longer attending church, I’ve felt so much freer to express myself and be who I am. Although, before all that I attempted suicide twice before ultimately embracing every part of who I am. I know in my heart that my parents and conservative friends that I grew up with will never approve of my being a Lesbian. (That’s why I haven’t told them) After 20+ years of a religious upbringing I know that to tell some people who I am would only lead to arguments and hurt feelings.

For every hardship there’s a rainbow at the end of it all.

I’ve found this community within the last year or so as well as an extremely supportive Discord community that has welcomed me with open arms. I feel stronger, kinder, and better, overall then I ever have before in my life. Throughout my journey, I have met so many amazing, loving humans and I am grateful for every single one.

Was it hard?

Absolutely!

Do I wish my story were different?

No.

If I hadn’t gone through everything that I have I don’t think I’d be the person I am today. I don’t think I’d even be sitting here writing this, and hoping that it makes a difference to you, dear reader. I’m grateful to be me. I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful for everyone reading this.

If I can leave you with one lesson, it would be this, be GRATEFUL for who you are and where you’ve come from. No matter what your background is, no matter how dark or challenging it may seem right now.

IT WILL GET BETTER!

One day, you may share your coming out story with people, as I have done here! Be grateful for who you are, because someday your story may mean the world to someone else who is struggling with their sexuality. When you share your story to help someone else, they will be grateful, even for a moment, for your existence. They will spread that gratitude and courage to others.

Let’s build a better, more grateful, inclusive world one rainbow at a time!

When I was 12 years old, I had realized that I had been an oddball for the entirety of my schooling. I was different, almost like an outcast and I didn’t like it. I had realized that I like girls. My parents along with the rest of my family are incredibly homophobic, so I decided to internalize everything. I had done so for 6 years until I got to my senior year of high school. I wanted to start being myself, but I knew I couldn’t as long as I was under the same roof as my parents. Summer 2019, I moved in to college and within 3 days of being there, I had already met a girl. I could finally be myself. My parents didn’t have to know about it, everything was okay. People at college really accepted me for who I was and it was so different compared to high school. However, both my parents ended up finding out along with the rest of my family the day before my 19th birthday. A lot of my family are now hesitant to talk to me. In this period of time, lack of acceptance from them made my motivation decline. I had stopped going to my classes, I stopped eating, and I stopped taking care of myself all around. I ended up having to drop most of my classes as a music therapy major due to failing grades. I lost scholarships and money, but worst of all I had lost myself. When 2nd semester came around, I was excited for a fresh start. However, my mental health hadn’t gotten any better. I ended up having to drop out of college on a full ride in which I had been studying for my dream job as a music therapist. I live at home now with my parents and never stop getting to hear the homophobia. I’m doing my best to try and support myself as well as my girlfriend. I’m trying to get a stable job so that I can move out before the end of 2020 and plan to apply to a 2 year paralegal program so I can have a somewhat stable career. Currently, I’m a full time musician trying to record music and get my name out there for people to hear. All I have ever wanted to do was make people feel good with the music that I make, whether they relate to it or not. I want to make music for people like me, but also for people who aren’t like me. Anything to bring more positivity and awareness to the world.
I usually label myself as a lesbian, but I just want to love who I love and have it not be an issue to others that I just so happen to be attracted to women. I know that good things are to come for me, all I can do is be patient. But I’m proud to say that I like women. I had never had this much pride for something since I started playing music and it’s such a beautifully bizarre feeling. I’m happy to say that I am a 19 year old raging homosexual female.

Hello, my name is Maria G. I come from a Catholic home. I am the second of three sisters and one brother (the youngest). I had a frustrating adolescence when I wanted to open the closet door. Although my family was not homophobic, I was afraid to face it. Since I was 9 years old I focused on sports (archery and athletics) it helped me a lot, it was my escape, my work, my everything, it kept me busy, traveling, meeting people, socializing but I never dared to open up to anyone. The first person I told was my sister Carolina the 3rd she was 18 years old and I 26 Wow! However I am one of those who thinks that our life, we should manage it ourselves, not because I won’t tell people it wasn’t “free”. Before coming clean with me I tried to have boyfriends, but not to pretend anything with my family, but because I had the need to be loved, to have someone give me love, affection, since in my home it was a constant and resounding fight. I had 3 boyfriends between 15 and 19 years old that didn’t last 3 months and I hid from them because I didn’t really feel anything, but it was nothing hahaha…
At 23 years old I came out of the closet when I started playing handball. It turns out that there were two sides there, the Heteroes and the Gays. I was very innocent, I only realized which side I was on after I came out of the closet. I started to get to know my teammates, I adapted easily to the team, although I am introverted and I usually integrate well with people. Well on the 2nd side, the Gays were wondering if I was or wasn’t hahaha… one of them started to seduce me this little flower showed its colorful petals… at first it was like an internal struggle to accept me. The worst thing that happened to me during this time, was once I took this “friend” home, my father was traveling with my brothers, only my mother was home, she had a foot in a cast from a fall. It was already late, I assumed that my mother was asleep, the door to my room was between open because my parents did not like us to close the doors of the rooms; my “friend” and I began to kiss, suddenly I heard a noise outside, we separated immediately, I got up, checked and saw my mother “asleep”. I went to bed, nothing else happened, everyone slept, but my head was turning, the next morning my suspicions were confirmed, my mom was acting strange, she avoided me, I did the same and I went with “my friend” to the university. In the afternoon my mother called me and told me that if I could go home early she needed to talk to me. I got home at 5pm and there she was waiting for me to talk… wow! My heart was pounding into a hole in my chest, it was pounding that I thought it was going to come out. We sat down, she told me what she saw and asked me the question, not before telling me that she was going to accept whatever decision I made, that I was her daughter and she loved me above all things, my heart was beating stronger and stronger, there was a silence, she was waiting for my answer, everything was going through my head, I felt nauseous, Dizzy, it was a horrible moment I thought hours had passed, but not a minute had passed, and the moment my mouth was going to pronounce a YES I am Gay, I changed my answer and said NO, I was confused, my mother looked at me, knelt down in front of me, grabbed me by the legs and said these words: Thank you God, because I thought I had lost my daughter. Wow! At that moment I was in shock. Even though she told me she loved me above all else, the fact that I had confirmed to her that I was gay was going to destroy her inside, and my father had already done too much damage for me to sink her any further. The days went by, although I continued with my friends, I didn’t bring anyone else into the house, I stayed out of the house. These words marked me forever, even today. After telling my sister Carola, I told my father years later, it didn’t cost me anything to tell him, my father was more open with me than my mother was. After that I have not told anyone else. I have always been an independent person, I have made my life to my liking, in my own way, although my family has been a great support, I have always made my own decisions about each of the steps I take, I have never consulted anyone about anything, I only comment when I have made the decision, I do not like that they interfere or manipulate what I want, so that is why I decided to make my life without caring what they think or say. When I was 25 I moved from the West to the East of the country, I left because a handball team signed me to play with them. I had a freedom that I had never felt before, I lived alone, already graduated from Lcda in Education, without rules, without tense looks, new faces, another culture, less reserved, it was a 100% change, that was coming out of the closet. I began to experiment, imagine it when I was 26 years old. At the age of 27 I met a girl 7 years younger than me, through sport her name is Rosme and was my first serious relationship, my first partner as such! We lasted 4 years, after a year of relationship we got married, it was a ceremony on the beach, but it was because of Santeria, native beliefs of the region. After a year and a few months she got pregnant, not from me in that we agree hahaha… it was a strong situationeee the day I found out it was from comics. She started with pain in her belly and we went early to the doctor, the doctor attended to her and I stayed in the office but withdrew, so that the doctor did not see my face when she gave me the news; the doctor made the echo and asked me: what are you of her? Immediately I answer: her cousin, not to hide it but so that she could not see my face. The doctor said: She is only pregnant, she is 3 months old… my jaw hit the floor and Rosme covered her face with her hand, I took a deep breath, I controlled myself, I thanked the doctor for her attention and I left the office with a cloudy mind. Rosme came out behind me, not knowing what to say, so she spoke to me and I told her: don’t say anything, please, the only thing I’m telling you is not to have an abortion, have the baby and if you don’t want it, I’ll adopt it, but don’t kill it, because then I’ll hate you all my life. We continued walking, we arrived home, I asked him for space, to let me breathe. She had no one else to support her, so I took responsibility. I had always wanted to be a mother, but since I don’t like men, I didn’t have money for an artificial insemination. I told her I only supported her because of the baby, if it was a boy, but I made it a condition that she would not separate me from the baby, that she would allow me to be part of her life for ever. The child’s father only gave her his last name, since he was a married man. When he was born it was like that light that completely fills the void, it was an inexplicable happiness, it was an angel, it is my angel. Rosme asked me to forgive her, with time and the pregnancy I forgave her, we continued together, she asked me to name the baby: his name is Gabriel Moses. From his first day he illuminated my life, seeing him was the most beautiful thing God could create. Wow! I became a mother, I worked, trained and raised Gabriel, who I did not love, so when I was able to take him out for a walk I took him everywhere, whether it was the three of us or just him and me. I felt complete. Later Rosme and I separated, at the beginning of the breakup it was horrible the treatment, although Gabriel practically raised him, she was very absent “experimenting”, with the passage of time she stabilized got a good person and our treatment was improving especially for the good of Gabriel, for his stability. Today Gabo is already 10 years old, I can say that he is a wonderful, noble child, he is my life. After my relationship with Rosme 7 years ago, I had two more relationships but they were not lasting. I believe that with Rosme I learned a lot, I matured a lot and my self-esteem was reinforced a lot. Today I don’t have a partner but I am calm and emotionally stable. Although it takes a lot to be loved, it takes more to love yourself to feel fulfilled.

Salaam from your kazah nomadic wanderer, who finally has found her place in Turkey.

Please do not blame me for my pretentious greeting, it is only a slight whiff of those feelings and sensations that live in my heart (in positive tone, of course 🙂

The overemotional part of me, having overcome the thorny path of finding myself, looking back, can say with a big smile on my lips that it was a long way back and really hard.

There is no greater happiness than being yourself. To be able to breathe freely and not be afraid to confess your feelings to someone who excites your soul so much that your heart skips a beat every time you catch a familiar face on the rearview mirror of your car.

You can deceive everyone around you for an endless time, and sometimes play this role so convincingly that you begin to believe it yourself.

But even so, no one has the right to judge you. Because no one else knows what you went through or are still going through. Only you decide how to live: rise up and fly high in the sky freely, like a bird, or sit in a dusty closet, where it is dark and damp. This is your choice. There are different circumstances and everyone has their own reasons.

I am 33 years old, I am from Kazakhstan and I am a lesbian.
I have always known about my orientation since kindergarten. But even when I grew up and went to elementary and then high school, even after I entered the adolescent phase, I never spoke openly about myself. Never to anyone. At University, there was a moment when I told my friend about my orientation and she stopped communicating with me. Then I decided to just not stand out from the crowd and be like everyone else. Just like the others.

We live among people who are so used to putting labels on everyone and everything that if someone doesn’t live up to their expectations or does not meet their ideas of “normality”, they immediately turn into outcasts.

We live in an environment where society sets the rules and dictates what is “normal” and what is”abnormal”.

We live in a World where money and status have become more important than the mental health. Where real life and colors of nature are erased in the glossy pages of social network. Where the individuality and uniqueness of individuals are distorted under the forced images of imaginary saints.

This is how we live. I lived in such an environment, socialized with such people and tried so hard to match their scale of normality that I began to lose myself. After a while, I didn’t know where I really was, and I couldn’t tell my real self from the image I had created for the public.

Yes, I had a cool job with a high salary. Yes, I had “friends” with whom I spent time, had fun and talked about abstruse topics. Yes, guys were interested in me, asked me out on dates and even confessed their love. Hoy, but I wasn’t interested. So yeah, I really thought I was asexual 🙂 And I didn’t have the most important thing – happiness.

I was just a pale reflection of other people’s emotions and feelings, and deep down I was always alone. Loneliness and I became best friends. During the day I put on my loneliness like a shirt, and during the long cold nights it wrapped me like a plaid. When my circle was celebrating holidays and having fun to the fullest, there were none of those faces who knew the real me. Nobody. The saddest thing is to feel completely alone when you are surrounded by people. This is the price of your obedience.

I was unhappy. How can you be happy if the light of your soul is muted, and there are no colors in the palette that you would like to paint the canvas of your life with?

Until I met Her. An unexpected meeting on a sunny autumn day that turned my whole world upside down. Our friends thought we were just colleagues. Our families thought we were just friends. I don’t know what I was to Her, but to me, She is my favorite topic of conversation with the Heavens for all eternity. No, I am not religious. I just believe in miracles, in the rainbow unicorn and in Sailor Moon 🙂

For the first time, I felt what it was like to be truly happy. And then I didn’t want to and couldn’t live the way I had before I met Her. 

I found wings to soar above the images of public opinion about “normality.” I got my voice back to say: “Hey, I’ve had enough of this shit! (pardon my French). Now, I will be myself”. I found the will to change my life and live in full colors. I accepted myself and found freedom. Yup, the number of acquaintances and friends has decreased. But the PLUS is that the atmosphere has become friendly.

Maybe your feelings will be one-sided or vice versa, you will be among the lucky ones who reciprocated (woohoo, congratulations dude!). Or maybe you haven’t met your soulmate yet and you’re not in a relationship right now. It is all right, sooner or later you will catch your wave 🙂

After all, to be able to openly talk about your feelings, about yourself and your dream means to have equal rights.

Equal rights to be yourself, to love and not to be afraid that you will come under the pressure of public hatred for WHO YOU ARE.

Someone will understand you and support you, someone will turn away and stop communicating with you. It is OK, everything will be fine. You are not alone! Here WE are, your rainbow soulmates 🙂

I am not asking for special treatment. I am just asking for equal treatment. To live. To be who I am. To love..

Sometimes words just aren’t enough to describe all your love. Sometimes a smile just isn’t enough to express that love. Hiding my feelings in a veil of lies, I don’t understand what is real and what is fiction. I choose to live under the same sky and enjoy a sunny day, speak openly, smile in front of everyone and hug when it snows or walk next to my loved one in the rain.. Always in this way.

When you are really happy, your soul shines so brightly that your heart becomes so warm. It is like you can embrace the whole World!

Na’vi from the planet Pandora greet each other with “I See You”, which means “I see the real you, not what you seem” (thank you, James Cameron). I see into you. And I understand you. Guys, I SEE YOU! Let’s be kind to each other. Let’s make a better World for you, for me, for ALL of US!

One meeting can change your life. One voice can change the World. One good thing can change Everything.

Be yourself. Be free. Be happy.

Much love and “may the Force be with you”!

#underthesamesky

To me, it seems like there are two stages to coming out: coming out to yourself and coming out to others. I was 13 when I thought I might be bi, 15 when I admitted to myself (after two years of self-flagellation) that I was a lesbian, and 16 when I came out to others. But it wasn’t until I was 20 that I could really call myself proud, or at least self-accepting. It was a long, rough journey, but definitely worthwhile.

I think it was that journey and maturity that made realizing I was polyamorous so much easier:

Me: “I like her…but I also like her…and it’s not that I like one more than the other…it’s that they’re equal, but different…”
My Brain: “Polyamory is a thing.”
Me: “…Huh.”
And that was that.

As much as people joke about gaydar, we do know our own. I’m lucky enough to know a lot of people who are out and proud, but every so often I meet someone who makes me think “this person is out to themselves, and they’ve accepted it, but they’re not quite ready to share it with the world yet.” And you know what? That’s ok. Coming out is a process, and it takes as long as it needs to. Coming out to myself and truly accepting my sexuality was the hardest part, but also the most rewarding. So whatever you feel and whomever you love, be honest and out to YOURSELF first and foremost. The rest will come in time.

And know that when you are ready to come out to others, you’ve got a rainbow of people ready to lift you up.

As a young child, I was kind fascinated by lesbian relationships on tv; Bad Girls (UK), All Saints (Aus), The L Word (USA) etc. etc., but this was all on the downlow. I’d watch the shows with little to no interest during the day and devour fanfiction stories about them by night. I had some instances of “experimentation” with a friend or two, but that didn’t mean what I thought it meant, did it? I went to secondary school, had no boyfriends, stuck with my fanfiction, and found “hot male celebrities” to “have a crush on” to balance the “girl crushes” I had. In my mind, I was totally chill with this me who ~has crushes on men and women~, but in person? I didn’t talk about it with anyone; I was scared because I didn’t want to hurt people, upset them, lose them.

In year 10 (UK age 14/15), my social circle expanded and grew to include a girl my best friend had met in another class, L. She and I quickly became close friends and it was great, until I heard that L and her childhood best friend had ‘messed around together’. Here my brain was like “wowww, another non-straight girl like me!”. I became slightly obsessed, I’ll admit. L was my best friend but she’d flirt with me; call me sexy specs while having a boyfriend, snuggle up with me then go and see him. I thought I was in love with her. I eventually grew a pair, picked my self respect up off the floor and walked away from that hot mess.
After a while, I met a guy friend at work and we became really close, like brother and sister. One night we were chatting and he came out to me as bi, so I did the same back. It fit at the time, but it was also the easy way out; it was a label and not a label. He helped me to be open about not being straight in a way I’d never been able to before and I’m still so grateful for that. We eventually found Tumblr and it gave us a place to “be honest in a sea of strangers”; it changed my life, quite literally.

On Tumblr, I met a girl. This girl became my friend, then my best friend, then so much more. She was like nothing I’d ever met before, made me feel things in technicolour and UV. She taught me it was okay to be me, to be different, to be honest and feel the things I felt. She was the reason I came out, the reason I wanted to come out. The day we met in London, I left my mum a letter explaining about me, about us, and that I had made arrangements for somewhere else to stay if she wasn’t okay with me any more. Half an hour away from London on the train I received a text from my mum telling me that we were okay, she was okay, and that she loved me. That was now eight years ago, and that girl is currently sitting next to me on our sofa, in our home, the day after our eighth anniversary.

Coming out is something I do every time I meet someone new, but it doesn’t have to be a huge declaration. I used to be petrified about it; my heart rate would spike, I’d get sweaty palms, I’d be all stuttery and lame about it. But now? “Yeah, I live with my girlfriend.” “Me and my girlfriend went there”. “I went to visit my mum with my girlfriend”. The other day, I was asked at work if I was a gay woman (due to my rainbow lanyard, not out of the blue!). Even a year or two ago, that question would have sent me into a panic. But this day, I held my head up, kept eye contact and said “yeah, I am”.

I still don’t really like labels or definitions but: I am a woman in love with another woman and that is okay.

Since the age of 11, I have kinda known that I was attracted to girls; I used to have crushes that i used to deny because one, i was young, two, it was never talked about in my household, and three, i just didn’t know what i was feeling. It all came in perspective when i started to develop a crush on my friend’s sister. I was 12. My friends started asking me questions: Why are so interested in her? Why do you act so weird around her? Do you like, LIKE her or something? Those questions wracked my brain day and night for almost a year. Then i managed to suppress it for a while. Cut to 2 years later, i finally realized that I was bi. So i tried to focus on the part of me that liked boys, told noone.
Then, last year i decided to tell my best friend. It was too much to keep it inside me for so long, so i called her up to Starbucks one day and as u started to tell her, she said she knew. She knew and she was okay with it. I still haven’t come out to my parents and family yet, because i know they won’t be okay with it but at least I’m not lying to myself anymore. That’s what keeps me going.

I realised that what I was feeling towards girls was attraction when I was 11 but was still convinced that I like guys. When I was twelve I started coming out to my friends as bi. There were all supportive (albeit some more than others) and I continued to identify as bi all through high school even though by my final year I was properly aware that I wasn’t attracted to men. I’m currently in my first at uni and am now out as a lesbian with two great new lesbian friends. Last night I came out to my dad who was super chill about it and I plan to come out to the rest of my family within the next two weeks. I’ve been out to everyone except family since I started high school but didn’t realise until I made gay friends that were out to everyone everyone that I realised that I was still restricted somehow. Even if it is just one family member, being out to my dad has let me breathe a little better. Being out really is freeing and I’ve never felt better.

Out really is the new in xx

When it comes to coming out, there is no such thing as “too late.”

For me, the time came during my sophomore year of college (only two years ago, though it feels like a distant lifetime ago now). Up to that point, I’d scarcely given a thought to my sexuality, let alone my gender. Sure, I’d had friends who’d come out as bisexual and/or nonbinary, I’d had 3 a.m. conversations with these friends about gender and related topics, and I supported those friends and tried to learn about the LGBTQ+ community as best I could, but as far as I knew, I was a cisgender heterosexual guy, and that was that.

Except, of course, it wasn’t.

Coming out, for me, took breaking away from so many of society’s expectations and perceptions of transgender people especially.

In the early months of 2018, the questions started to gnaw away at me, lurking in the back of my mind, ever-present even as I was just trying my best to make it through the rest of the school year in one piece.

Slowly, the questions shifted from “is it possible that I might be a girl?” to “is it okay for me to be a girl?” to “how much do I stand to lose from living my life as a girl?”

As if that struggle weren’t enough, I had to contend with one extra train of thought that complicated matters that much more: “I’m probably a trans girl… but I still like girls.”

There are so many stigmas that society places on transgender people, and what society had taught me was that if you were a trans woman, you had to have figured it out when you were young, you had to be into men, and you had to be as stereotypically girly as possible.

And so I held back. I suppressed as much as I could and tried to go on with my everyday life… until, finally, I couldn’t. The end of sophomore year came, and with nothing else to preoccupy me, the questions drifted back to the front of my mind, and I had no choice but to face them head on.

So, as many of us tend to do in this day and age, I took to the internet looking for answers. Slowly, I started to learn that everything I knew was wrong, and those answers I found smashed through the mental barriers that had held me back.

YES, you can be a trans woman and a lesbian. YES, you don’t have to figure out these things so soon in life. YES, you don’t have to adhere to society’s expectations. YES, you are valid.

By the end of May, I’d come to terms with my transness, though the goals I set for myself changed rapidly. At first, I’d thought I would hold back on coming out and transitioning until later in life… before long, that changed to “within a few years,” which soon gave way to “I’ll come out after I graduate.”

Eventually, I realized time was of the essence, and the last thing I wanted was to look back into my past years down the line and see nothing but regret. Living my life as my true self was the only way forward.

And so I started to make plans. I was going to come out by the end of that summer, and nothing was going to stop me.

I planned my coming out meticulously, because I worried endlessly that my parents, my family, wouldn’t accept me for who I am, that they would try to hold on to their perception of me as their 19-year-old son. I needed to be prepared, and so I took drastic measures. I wrote letters, and I made plans to leave them at home one day and then drive away for a few days to give my family time to take it all in, because I was so scared they would take out their emotions on me.

I remember leaving the letters and a poem explaining all the feelings I’d dealt with over the past months one afternoon in early August, and I remember how long that 90-minute drive to the next state over to stay with a friend felt.

It. Was. Terrifying.

My family’s panicked reactions that first night only made me more scared. I remember the frantic yelling over the phone, I remember the shock my family felt, and above all, I remember the fear I felt, with very few things to take my mind off of it. There was a part of me that worried I would never be able to go home again.

But to my relief, things got better. Within a few days, my family came around. I was able to go back home to a family that resolved that no matter what, they would learn, love me and support me (even if there were things they didn’t quite understand — I still remember the confusion in my dad’s face as he realized I was now a girl who liked girls, which, yes, made me a lesbian), and in the year and a half since my coming out, that hasn’t changed.

I’ve had the chance to well and truly find myself, and I am unabashedly proud to be who I am today. I finally feel like the woman I’m meant to be, and I am so much happier for it.

The road to finding yourself can be a long one, and oftentimes, it can be fraught with struggles, both internal and external. But as I look back at who I used to be and think of how much things have changed for the better in my life since then, I firmly believe traveling down that path has been worth it, and I hope that so many more people will get the chance to take that journey in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.

Ive know I was apart of the LGBTQIA community from a very young age. Its been interesting trying to figure out who I am as a individual and how I identify. Growing up as a twin, had its own impacts which affected how I see myself in ways some people don’t understand. While coming to the realization that I was attracted to women, allowed me to have my own voice separate from my twin which was definitely something different. We were seen as one, like most twins are especially if they’re the same sex. But coming to the realization and coming out are two different situations. As well as realizing it and accept it. It was a struggle for me at first to accept it because no one asks to be “different” especially when people are hated for it in some places. My home situation was the best anyone could ask for but the people i grew up around weren’t the most open minded. In my case, I was petrified of what others would think rather than my family because I knew regardless my family would love me but would i still be the same person to the people who were my friends. The beliefs I had made me suppress the feelings for a while but then high school started. My high school experience gave me much anxiety during the first year because I had accepted it by then but i didn’t know if i was ready to be out. The first year of school forced me to be the best “straight” me, so i could connect with others, but not fully show the real me. At this time I was still suppressing a party of me regardless of what anyone said. Id get asked often if i was gay because i’m not the most feminine girl but i refused because the concept of talking about it was never there. My best friend at the time didnt even know and she would often try to get me to tell and it just didnt happen. I was genuinely terrified. Freshman year had just ended and I had been watching a lot of youtube videos on coming outs for inspiration. It had become so physically and mentally exhausting to be in the situation where i’m not being the full me, it felt like I was holding my breath most of the time. i wanted to be me but i couldn’t bring myself to do it so I told myself if my mom asked if i was gay i would just say yes and that would be that, but its not always so easy. My mom had asked multiple times between me maki the decision and me coming out because after a point it became obvious the I wanted to say something but nothing was coming out. Then fathers day came, we went to swim and I was sitting next to my mom in the pool just talking and then question came up. She asked me and I froze. I started to cry and shake my head. She was shocked that I had said yes after denying for so long but she was proud. She was the first person I had come out to, not even my twin sister. A couple minutes later I came out to my sister, then later that night my dad which was harder than I thought it was going to be. I had felt so much relief like a rock had been taken off my chest and it was the best thing i could ask for. They love and support me regardless and thats all I needed. In the next coming weeks I came out to my friends one by one. The deeper the relationship established I did it public while the once that were less intimate I did over text. Although I am out now, i still find it hard occasionally to come out to new people in my life. I don’t think it’ll completely go away but as of right now i’m comfortable with who i am enough to not let others make me feel invalided for who I love. In the fall, i’m starting college in tennessee on a full ride scholarship, and its going to be a ride coming out to my teammates and the other people I meet, but i’m ready for it. Essentially you’re coming out everyday to someone new and its just apart of being who I am and i fully accept that because Im proud of who I am and absolutely nothing will change that.

All my life I was asked ‘are you a lesbian?’ And I always said ‘No I’m not.’ It started when I was really young, like 9 years old, people noticed I loved being around girls and loved taking care of them, so they assumed I was into girls. For pretty much 10 years I thought I liked boys, so I dated boys throughout middle school and high school. I had a terrible relationship when I was 16 with a boy who always wanted to have sex, he broke up with me because I kept pushing him away. The truth is I didn’t trust him, so I couldn’t give myself to him. It was a very bad breakup and then he harassed me for the rest of the school year, my mom had to step in because I was mentally broken. I haven’t been in love with a boy since then.
When I was 19 I moved to my own flat for the first time, I started university and I was very happy to be done with high school and to start over. That’s when I fell in love with a girl for the first time. Terrible story, it was 13 months of pure pain because she wasn’t in love with me. I was so jealous of everyone flirting with her and she made a friend on Twitter and I felt like something was going on between them. I was so mad in jealousy… that friend came to our hometown during summer so we met and I hated her so much but I was nice to her anyway cause I don’t want to be a bad person. After that they went on holiday together and I got so mad that a month after that I had a huge fight with that girl on Twitter. Funny story, that girl I was so jealous of has been my girlfriend for over 3 years now haha. Everything changed so fast and I still cannot believe that I fell in love with her after all the hatred we felt for each other.

About my coming out, I told my mom a month after I started university, I was back home for the weekend and I wanted to tell her so I did and I cried so much because her reaction was amazing. She was totally ok with it. Then my siblings pretty much knew before I did so they were already fine with it. Last but not least I had to talk I my best friend at the time, who’s bisexual. I told her I fell in love with a girl and she told ‘look baby, I knew, we all did, but I didn’t want to tell you, I wanted you to find out on your own’ and that meant the world to me. So coming out was beyond ok for me, I feel extremely lucky to be surrounded by such open-minded people and I know many of us are struggling out there.

Today, I’m 23 and I’m happy. I am so grateful to have such amazing women to look up to, of course Dominique and Kat, and so many others.

I’ve never admitted it before, ever, to anyone… I’ve spent 15 years feeling like there is something wrong with me! I am brand new to this world and to earpers and I’m blown away by the community feel. I was introduced just a few weeks ago after reading Dom’s birthday post and after reading it I related so much. I was so inspired by her words. I related to the feelings of suppression and putting the part of me I knew to be true to the back of my mind to pretend it didn’t exist. The part of me that I know is also attracted to woman. I’ve got that feeling where my tummy is doing flips by even just typing it. Because I’ve never faced it until now.
I’ve been in heterosexual relationships my whole life and have been in my current relationship for the last 10 years. I have young children who are my everything. This is part of the question that runs through my mind, how can I be in a long term relationship with a man, be a mum and still know that I do have an attraction to woman too? Does it make me a bad person? Or a bad mum? My partner would also likely feel betrayed that I never talked about this. I don’t even know how he would feel about it. There are so many scenarios in my head.
I’m still not ready to verbalise what I am but at least I have finally admitted it to myself. Maybe over time, meeting the right people and continuing to be inspired within the STW community I will one day be at my bravest. But for now, all I know is that Dom sparked something within me to be true to myself. I’m a thirty year old bisexual.

I was about 17 when I realised. I developed a crush on not 1 but on a group of 3 girls on the bus. 2 of them were sisters. I didn’t have a big coming out, not even with my parents, but I grew up in a place and around people that I knew wouldn’t have a problem with it. The first time I did actually tell my mom was right before I was going live on a radio show. My mom NEVER listened to the radio but that night of all nights she was. So I figured I would give her a little heads up I was going to be on the radio. So I ran into her bedroom and yelled “I’m going to be on the radio!” and then ran back out just to run back in and yell “to talk about my bisexuality!” I didn’t give her time to respond and she never actually did but I knew she was gonna be okay with it otherwise I wouldn’t have done that. Now we’re so many years later, changed a bit (or a lot) and I’ve come to the realisation I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with a man and can only see myself in a serious relationship with a woman. The older I got, the less I was interested in men to not at all anymore. Which is also why I identify as gay, because I don’t want to give myself a specific label like lesbian or bisexual. I’m happy with being gay.

I always knew that I was different in many ways : I wasn’t thin enough, I wasn’t “girly” enough, I wasn’t quiet enough, funny enough…. As a child I was proud of what make me different from the others, I was a little girl who loved biology and astronomy, who loved to read everything that fell in my hands. I practically grew up surrounded by boys so I acted like them and loved the same things that they loved : I loved playing soccer, playing in the grass and mud, jumping in puddles and climbing in the trees. And of course the women in my family (my mother, my godmother and my grandmother) disliked it. They wanted me to behave “like a girl”; for them it was not get all dirty by playing in the mud, sit correctly and straight, and most importantly I didn’t have to be loud. I believed that in order to fit in I had to stop being myself. As I grew up and went to middle school I started to shut myself down, I would stop going outside to play with other kids and instead spend hours in my room, reading books and creating stories with my imagination. I became quiet, I barely talked anymore… I kind of disappeared.

I was in 8th grade when I started to question my sexuality. I was never really interested in boys but seeing as every girl was, well I forced myself into being interested. I even had a boyfriend for a few months. So at the beginning of this new year, with a new class I met new people. And I remember noticing this girl in my class. She had the most beautiful eyes I ever saw, they were as blue as the summer sky and I couldn’t stop thinking about her, about the sound of her laugh or the way she smiled when she was talking with her friends. Of course at first I didn’t really thought much about it, I assumed I admired her and just wanted to be like her. Then I realized that I was becoming strangely obsessive with her (not in a weird way, just in the way of a middle school girl with her first crush), I started to look for her in the crowd of middle schoolers and every time I would spot her, I was flustered and lost the track of whatever was happening around me. That’s when I realized that I had a crush on her. At first I tried to deny it as much as I could, but even with all the will in the world, I couldn’t fight these feelings. I was scared and didn’t know what was the meaning of this or to who I could talk about it, so naturally I decided to hide it as best as I could.

Then one day, I was talking with my best friend about this new TV show that we discovered a few weeks ago. She wouldn’t stop talking about this one guy that she find cute and also really hot and I was like ‘Meh I guess he is ok, but like have you seen her ?!” and I launch into a huge rant about this other character. As we join others friends, my mind started to wander back to this conversation. I realized that I talked only about female characters while my best friend talked about the male ones. I thought back on other conversations and I came with this same conclusion every time : I couldn’t stop talking about girls. Later that day at home, I started searching for answers on the internet and fell into the many LGBTQ+ websites and articles. As I learned more and more through different stories of people and put the pieces together, I understood that I was a lesbian.

I came out gradually to my loved ones when I felt that I was ready to share my truth. I’m lucky to have many people supporting me and it helped me accepting myself and be comfortable in my own skin. I learn to be more loud and proud of who I am, to embrace all of what make me different and to make the little girl I once was, proud of the woman I became.


What I want you to take from my story is that you should never let anyone tell you that you need to hide who you are in order to be more like anyone else, because our differences are what makes us beautiful and what make this world so interesting. Even if sometimes things are difficult and you think you will never be able to be yourself, you need to keep going, and be as true to yourself as you can because in the end everything will be worth it. My mom often says “Everything happens for a reason and it will make sense in its own time”, so remember that you are not alone in this and if nobody told you this yet : I am proud of you.

I knew I was different from about 9 or 10 but I knew I was gay when my teacher in 8th grade, giving a talk about sexuality, gave all the girls a survey to ask, “on a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you desire a boyfriend?”. It was an odd question but it was anonymous so I answered truthfully. He then collected the papers and read out the numbers aloud “8, 10, 9, 2! Two??? Wow.” The class laughed…I was mortified. I spent the next 20 years hiding this truth from myself and everyone around me.

In order to keep up pretenses I slept around and dated every guy I could but I never felt love. It always felt like friends with benefits. I joined the military at 26 during Dont Ask Dont Tell and after I started dating women, in secret, I still did my duty at work but that law kept me from feeling connected to my fellow troops. I couldn’t share my dreams or hopes or loves. I couldn’t talk about my weekend trips without dancing around pronouns or lying altogether. I lied to myself, my family, my friends…i felt like a fake. I was externally happy-go-lucky and adventurous but inside…I felt alone. Empty.

At 30 yrs old, I finally stuck with one girlfriend longer than a few months and we moved in together. I couldn’t keep lying and I wanted to free myself of the burden I had felt most of my life. It was time to be honest. I was a grown-ass woman; brave in every other area of my life except this one. No more lies.

I knew my biggest rejection would come from my religious family so I went big and started with my parents; if I could tell them, I could tell anyone. I knew that the moment I said it out loud I would lose them forever but I could no longer live for others; it was time to be authentically me. My parents and I got into a car to head to the beach and on the way home I told them I had to tell them something big. They saw my face turn white, my voice began to shake, tears started to fall. They said, “Mija…whats wrong? What is it?”. I said that I was gay. I knew I was attracted to women and I was tired of living a lie. I then commenced to crying even harder. My father spoke up, “Lisa, you are my daughter…you are the same person you were 5 minutes ago, nothing has changed. I love you. I will always love you.”. My strict religious father surprised me with LOVE. My mother took it harder but she came around over time.

I’m 44 now. I’m happy, healthy, and OUT to ALL . In the military I have to still be careful who I let into my circle but those who know me, accept all of me. I am finally allowed to serve and feel connected to my team. I am absolutely unafraid to live and love. It feels so good to say that. I lost some homophobic friends and family members along the way but you find that when the lies are gone you are able to have closer bonds with those who truly love you. It was worth it.

Sending love and amazing vibes to all my fellow LGBTQ+ family. May you all be free to explore your path and live devoid of any shame that stifles your happiness.

Oh man. Where do I begin, how do I even begin. I’ll just keep it as short as I can, because there is things I can’t yet discuss. I’m 25 years old and I am a proud gay woman. I came out (if you can call it that) about 6 years ago. The way it came to be is not how I have planned it. Things happened to me that previous night and the following day set everything in motion. It was awful and I had no one to stand beside me. I was in a dark place, my family didn’t want to talk to me. I didn’t know what was going on around me. When I was young I’ve always known that I was different, that I like girls, not boys. I felt like the odd one, like the weird one. I have a crush on this girl but it can’t be right. Hell, I was so young, how did I know what all this meant? I had so many questions but no one to ask them to. It was hard and I felt like I was suffocating.  My family at that point (I actually still don’t know if they changed their views) was completely against our community and what they’ve learned about me. I was told it was not the way I was raised, that I am the “black sheep”, like I was intoxicated by my friends, that they were a bad influence on me. There was a point that I thought I didn’t belong in this world anymore, that I could just end it all. I am in a relationship and they seem to accept it. I feel somewhat free, but also feel I’m not entirely myself yet. I’ve recently told my girlfriend of 5 years (and now you’re the second, third or fourth person to know the next part) that I think I feel like a man, but I don’t know what to make of it. Will people except it, will they expect me. Shit, what will my family say? I just want to be myself, and live a fearless life, with all the beautiful things I sometimes see this world has to offer.

So this is me, coming out again and coming out with something I’m not sure about.

Thank you for creating this space and thank you for making me feel so welcomed that I could share this without any hesitation.

I would like to start with a line from a song I love:

Siamo destini
We are destinies

Siamo sempre noi
we are always us

Ma più vicini
but closer

the singer is “Zucchero” the song is “blu”

At the age of 30 I understood that destiny exists, but I also understood that I have to help destiny to come true.
At the age of 30 I realized that I still have to understand what happiness can really give me.
I grew up in a good Italian family, I never lacked love … but they always told me I was a certain way because I had to be perfect in society.
They never asked me what I wanted …. and my fault was never saying what I really wanted.
5 years ago I left my city, moving to Milan for work and this gave me the opportunity to understand
something more about myself.
I was supposed to marry a guy my family loved … but I couldn’t suppress the voice inside me that leads me to love women … and I had the courage to cancel the marriage … I started asking myself what I wanted.
But I do not deny that I am afraid of people’s judgment, fear stops me, fear makes me wear a mask every day, fear confuses me.
For society I am still the girl from a good family, with a good job and a good mental stability but they don’t know that inside I have a volcano of feelings that fight each other.
Last Sunday at a fair in the city, there was a fortune teller in a booth, I was walking and she came to meet me, she looked me in the eyes and told me that inside I suffer but I also have a lot of light to give … it’s was the first stranger to understand this.
In the sea of my life there are still no real waves but the sea is no longer calm.
I just need to have more courage.

While this might be a little lengthy I assure you, it’s the truncated version of the story. I’m always open to speaking further about my life and experiences for anyone interested and especially if it may help someone else.

Let’s do a little travel back in time. Before Ellen’s famous coming out “Puppy” episodes in 1997. Before AOL went unlimited and allowed the first wave of people to surf the web and access information in a whole new way. Let’s go back to the 1980s where a young girl so desperately wanted to hang with the boys. A young girl who played with He-Man instead of Barbie. A young girl who felt like her skin was crawling every time she was forced to wear a dress. It was a “dark ages” because there was no information about anything LGBT+ anywhere around. Fast forward a little and the only time a gay or “trans” person was seen on the screen was a prostitute, druggie, or some other evil or mentally deranged type of character. But I kept finding myself drawn to girls and even those a little older than me but I didn’t know what this “draw” was because I had no vocabulary for it.
I wasn’t overly religious but I was asked to be a godmother to my cousin who was born in 1991 so I had to get confirmed and that meant I had to do confession as part of the final “classes.” I told the priest I was confused and didn’t know what was going on but that I was finding I was attracted to other girls. The priest turned to me and asked how I thought I’d look black and blue and unless I wanted to find out I should leave the confessional. I was surprised but as I wasn’t overly religious to begin with I didn’t feel “betrayed by my faith” as many others might have felt.
I was constantly tormented and teased in school as the “weirdo” and the black sheep in general. There was a small, dark phone booth in my middle school that I would often hide in to avoid the tormentors. In the tiny room were a little bench built into the wall and a little rack where a little newspaper-type booklet was placed in the slats. I would flip through it often just to have something to read and noticed a section for gay and lesbian. What are these words? What do they mean? I wasn’t entirely sure but, at the same time, I felt like these were incredibly important words. There was a listing for a local support group for youth. When squirreled the booklet away but was too nervous to call.
I was distracted by constantly being beaten up at school, beaten up at home by my father, and feeling like I had nowhere to go and no one to turn to. I fell in love with the Phantom of the Opera in middle school because I felt a kinship with Erik (Phantom). I felt like my attraction to the same gender was like his deformity. I felt grotesque and shunned by the world and so I started to turn away from the world in kind. I retreated to my mind and turned to writing. I’d write all kinds of stories but the recurring theme was a female “hero” always rescuing some female “damsel” – really likely the same old stories everyone else told except same-sex based. When I discovered that my parents were breaking into my writings I felt everything and anything I did was violated – I had nothing! No one to speak to, no one to trust, and I couldn’t even “speak to myself” through my writing. I retreated even further into my mind – opting now to just keep my thoughts to myself and never write anything anymore because even that was being violated. The more I retreated into myself the more I became “odder” to others and the more I was tortured and beaten up by my classmates and at home.
I spent the summer before I entered High School as a freshman just riding my bike. I’d get out of the house first thing in the morning and would ride anywhere and everywhere all day so I wouldn’t have to be home and deal with my father. High school started and I went to classes and joined the drama club because I always had a passion for theater thanks to my grandmother (who passed back in 1992) and the love I had for Phantom of the Opera was still strong because it was “my story” too. He was deformed on the outside and I was deformed on the inside because I liked girls. There was a boy in drama that was gay and said I should check out a support group. I remembered that booklet and eventually called and spoke to a lovely young woman (who I believe was about 18 or so) who told me all about the group and “coming out” and told me when the next meeting was going to be. I felt that maybe I wasn’t crazy or disgusting and maybe it was okay to like girls. I told a senior girl I was crushing on at the time that I liked her…
…Apparently, I was wrong…
She told the school principal and before I knew it I was being kicked out of school and being mandated into a mental hospital for “observation” for a month. It was true! Something was very wrong with me. I was a filthy disgusting creature just like I always knew I was! In the hospital was a girl and a boy, both around my age (maybe a year or two older) and they were lesbian and gay – the girl was discharged within the first few days of my being there but the boy was very friendly and told me about this local support group that I should check out when I got released. It turns out that it was the same group I called about and planned to attend a meeting before I got tossed in the loony bin. We got out around the same time and he agreed to meet me at the next meeting so I wouldn’t have to go alone.
When I got there it was a small, dark room with just a couple of chairs. There were a couple of older kids (18 or so) who ran the group and then a couple of others around my age and so. I was instantly attracted to one of the girls there and so I reached out and we went on a date. We wound up dating (in secret – I didn’t come out to anyone yet) for a little while when her mother kicked her out so my parents said she could stay with us. My sister and I were hanging out on her bed while she was in the shower and I fell asleep so my sister left to go to her room and my girlfriend just crawled into bed next to me. The next morning my mother walked in and saw us sharing the bed, both sound asleep, and started screaming. She grabbed me and pulled me out of the bed and started beating on me and screaming for my girlfriend to get the F— out of the house. My mother then proceeded to out me to my entire family and, thankfully, most of them said they weren’t too surprised and didn’t have much issue with it overall.
Unfortunately, that girl wound up cheating on me with someone I was on a volunteer ambulance squad with and that was the end of my first same-sex/lesbian relationship and I was thrust out of the closet. From then on I decided I would beat everyone to the punch and just introduced myself as “Hi, I’m the lesbian…” and while it startled people it also took away the power many would have over me. Most of my relationships wound up ending because I was cheated on. Around 2005/2006 I was working in an animal shelter and a woman (6 years older) saw my MySpace and we started chatting. We agreed to lunch and hit it off instantly. We were together for 4 years and my family was very accepting at this point. I started to talk to her about feeling like I was in the wrong body. For a long time I thought maybe I was just a butch lesbian but – once again – I had no vocabulary to understand what I was feeling – only that I was feeling something wasn’t right with how I saw myself in my head versus what I saw in the mirror. So, I stopped looking in the mirror. Despite her being married to a man previously and my telling her I think she’s bi versus lesbian she was adamant that she was lesbian – to the point where she told me if she wanted to be with a guy she would have stayed with her ex and that she didn’t want me to keep talking about this “wrong body” nonsense. I proposed to her, she accepted, and at one point a bunch of friends of mine planned to gather in the city (NYC) for dinner. I was excited to have everyone meet her and so we went. I introduced her to one guy and his live-in girlfriend and several other friends. Not long after I found out she went out to hang out with the two friends and they wound up kissing – before we knew it – she and I were breaking up and the guy kicked his girlfriend and her kid out of his house and now my fiancé and he were suddenly dating. I started online dating almost immediately after and hooked up with a girl from TN so I hopped on my motorcycle with everything I could manage to fit into bags strapped all over it and rode for 22 hours straight until I reached Nashville. She told me about Drag Kings and that I might be interested in that since I kept feeling like I was in the wrong body. We went to the gay clubs in Nashville where I saw Drag Kings for the first time and learned about transitioning for the first time. A month later we moved to Raleigh, NC where I started to do my own drag (dressing up as a male) and thought maybe I’m a “male-identifying lesbian.” I still didn’t have a grasp of what being transgender was or even that was what I wanted to do. I was clueless.
When I talked about “doing drag full time” as my mind understood it, my new girlfriend gave me the same old story. “If I wanted to be with a guy, I’d be straight and I’m not.” Okay, I will put the relationship ahead of my fulfillment. I wasn’t even sure what to do so why risk a long-term relationship on a “who knows what?” When I found out that she was cheating on me for some time (including one of them being with a GUY!!!!) I was done putting others ahead of my happiness. We split and I immediately went into full research mode about transitioning and March 22, 2014, I started my first shot of testosterone. But… my sister was getting married in August and I very quickly grew facial hair and my voice dropped – I needed to come out to my family quickly.
I spoke with a couple of cousins (I’m an Italian New Yorker, I have a lot of cousins) who I knew would be supportive and they said the same thing – “we’re not really surprised.” With support of some form, I told my family and they were confused but also gave me the “not really surprised” kind of response. Oh, but could you still shave and wear the dress for the wedding? I once again suppressed myself and did it so that my sister’s special day would go off without a hitch.
I’ve not dated since 2014 for a variety of reasons. I’m tired of being with people who would physically beat on me, who kept repressing me, and constantly being cheated on. I have been treated so badly by so many, including so many who claimed to love me that I didn’t believe that there were any people with genuine kindness or love in them. I got so tired of being told someone loves me “in spite of” this or that quality of mine. I have since been split from my family and have found myself to be incredibly alone and heartbroken but, at the same time, I feel like I’ve been stripped down to the barest form of myself so that I can rebuild myself better and stronger than ever. To be honest, I still wonder if there is any genuine kindness in people but having come across Dominique who seems to exude this incredible light of beautiful kindness from deep inside her soul I find it gives me a little touch of hope that there are beings out there with true love in their heart. That someone out there will be willing to be patient with me as I cleanse my scars and love me BECAUSE of who I am instead of the dreadful “in spite of.” I know that I have so much to give as a person, as a human, and surely there must be someone out there for me. It’s just very hard because I’m “too female” (ugh) for straight woman and “too male” for lesbians – or so I’ve been told multiple times. Finding someone who seeks to love me for my soul is perhaps the hardest journey of my life but I’m open to the universe guiding me and that person together. In the meantime, I continue to learn about myself and grow and learn. I may have “come out” twice – first as a lesbian and then again as a trans man – but I find that life is constantly about growing into yourself and all the many ways we come to embrace and express ourselves. So, until the person who will love my soul comes along I will keep on living and learning.

Since I was 15 years old I thought there was something wrong with me. I never had a boyfriend in my life and it always made me wonder if there was really anything wrong with me. All the people around me were getting into relationships and I was still alone, because no one interested me or was not attracted to anyone (especially boys, which was the idea of ​​what I liked at the time). I started to question if I really liked boys or if girls attracted me more, but by putting that idea in my mind I knew that there would be a lot of people talking about me and making jokes about it and then immediately exclude that idea from my head , forcing me to be attracted to boys or the idea of ​​being with boys.
When I was 18, there was a boy who became interested in me and I, convinced that I had to convince others around me that I liked boys, ended up being with him for a month without feeling anything. It was nothing more than a friendship, but I wanted to deceive myself.
I spent the worst 4 years of my life hiding the pain I felt at not knowing what was wrong with me or who I was. It was the worst years I’ve ever had. I was lost, aimless, without anyone.
When I was 19, when I went to college, I completely changed my group of friends and started to get along with a lot of people from the LGBT + community and from then on I started feeling confident to start discovering who I am and I started to feel a little happier. I think that realizing that those people would never exclude me if I liked girls, made me start to question who I really like. I started to open up by talking to some people and clearly that I was attracted to girls. But I also continued to be attracted to some boys. And it was then that I realized that I could be bisexual. It was a difficult year, with many ups and downs, to discover who I am. My family has always given me the opportunity to like whoever I want, nothing would change with them if I liked girls and that made my life easier.
Nowadays, I still don’t really know what I am. I like boys and girls and that’s for sure. But, deep down, I think I like people for what they are and not for their gender. Therefore, I consider myself a path to my happiness and I just let love speak for itself.
My next step will be to come out to everyone who likes me for who I am and then to come out to the world. And when I find a way to do it, I’m sure I’ll be much happier.

My first attraction to a woman was when I was 11 years old (2015) I didn’t really understand what was going on since I had heard something about that in my life since what my family believes and the way I was raised is that it is always a man and a woman so I thought that I had some flaw inside that made me feel very strong emotions towards someone that was not right. When I entered high school (2016) I had already heard and researched more things about the subject, on the one hand my family told me that the behavior of these people was unnatural and on the other hand the social networks began to ask for acceptance with the phrase ¨love is Love¨ which confused me more and more but one day on the program ¨supergirl’ Alex Danvers came out of the closet and I wished I was in his place, At that time I identified myself as a young bisexual woman, I began to watch programs like Wynonna Earp which is also one of the programs that has most marked my life from the way Waverly begins to accept her sexuality to her commitment to Nicole.
The first person I proposed to was my best friend and his reaction was better than I expected since he only told me that he supported me and then proceeded to ask me about her as if she was the most normal thing in the world and I loved that.
At my school I liked to talk to my classmates about it because sometimes my perspective and theirs helped us empathize with each other’s situations.
I hope that in a future there is no more the phrase ¨come from closet¨ and that all this is taken as something completely natural.

CONTENT WARNING: THIS COMING OUT STORY CONTAINS DESCRIPTION AND/OR DISCUSSION ABOUT SEXUAL ASSAULT.

I came out when I was 14 years of age, 13 years ago, most of my family were accepting, though a few were not. Some still not to this day, but have been a little more accepting through the years. Shockingly for me the older generation in the family were more supportive than the younger, excluding my dad. My dad was not accepting at first, it come to the point where I didnt have any contact with my dad for over two years.. due to the fact that when I was in my late teens he actually tried to pay me to be with a boy! As you could tell that was a big no. Thankfully my dad is 100% supportive of me now and we have a great relationship. Many people ask me how I could forgive him? My reply.. whats the point in holding on to something bad, when hes sorry and I’ve had many more happy memories shared with him. I have had many struggles in life many battles I have fought, the most hardest was being told I was confused because I was sexually assaulted from the age of 12 to 14, “your not gay, your just traumatised”, i always new from a young age, the first time I kissed a girl, 9 years of age (practising) like kids did. My happest memory of coming out was actually only 2 years ago, to my great grandfather, I was always told not to say anything as he was old and wouldn’t understand, i was very close with my grampa so, when he was 93 I came out to him, he did not judge me what so ever he just told me about the time he met my great grandmother, and told me it doesn’t matter who you love, it doesn’t matter how much you fight, if you love you them don’t ever let them go . That conversation was one of the last conversations I had with him. Its a conversation that I hold dear to me and one people should listen to.

Hello there,
I guess I should start with the introduction.
My name is Deniz, most people call me Deni (sounds just like Danny or Denny) and it kinda grew on me because in reality I don’t like my name. Actually I don’t like how it sounds, and sometimes people have hard time pronouncing it correctly (They usually use alternative spelling version in their native language). I just gave up eventually. In Turkish language, “Deniz” is a unisex name, the word means “sea”. For unknown reasons, people always I assume that I’m a biological man and address me as such; on the phone, on documents, in emails and etc. I know that my gender expression isn’t helping at all, but it always bothered me, being assumed to be someone and stuff.

I’d like to share a story about the time I came out as bisexual because 12 years ago coming out as queer just wasn’t in the cards. Society I was in, including myself, wasn’t ready to face the notion of gender expressions other that the binary system itself.
When I was 16, I decided to come out to my friends. I wanted to be honest, lying is not my strongest quality, never was. I was always in trıuble for being blunt. No one apreciated it, probably my dead pan face gave it away. I dunno.
I was the team captain of when I was teenager, and lots of younger swimmers in my team were looking up to me. I felt like I had the responsibility to set a good example (I mean I was the older child, I expected too much of myself I see it now). Parents were trusting me to be a wise leader, kids were coming to me with their problems. I was changing in the dressing rooms I shared with lots of younger girls and I didn’t want them to fear me. I didn’t want to seem like a predator, a freak who was supposed to be their older sister (I wasn’t even sure if I was capable of being sexually attracted to anyone until I graduated from high school, it was more of an emotional state of mine for me)
Shortly, I didn’t want to betray anyone’s trust. My coach was already sexually harrassing and grooming, flirting with (I mean what a cliché, amirite?) kids, other athletes, moms…
However, I never had the chance to be myself, I didn’t have the chance nor time to discover what I was, who I was and what I wanted in life other than what was bestowed upon me as an ideal supported and encouraged by the adults in my inner circle. (Truth time, I thought french kiss was the worst thing ever, it was messy and unsanitary, plus in high school at one time I was dating a med student and wait, I just realized that I’ve sated so many med students and I work at a hospital, what is wrong with me – I hated the French kiss because of all the med students I dated)
I attended an elite high school that is still ranked in top ten in the country I live in. It was competitive, very stressful (I don’t want to brag but Turkish education syatem is shit, I was one of the lucky ones and I had to earn my place by sacrificing anything that could be considered as fun). I never get to enjoy that high school experience as most people did. (I don’t even know what that means I mean I made out with girls and went to parties and got drunk and shit but it was low key, considering who I was in college)

One day, I just turned to my friend while we were sitting at our desks in class (I think we were in recess), mind you we were all nerds and geeks with extra ordinary curriculums up our sleeves (up to our butts, my classmate is a soloist – violinist and a successful lawyer right now), and that friend of mine was trying to solve a trigonometry equation that was bothering her for so long (time is relative). I looked at her, and in all seriousness told her that I was bisexual, that I actually liked boys and girls, as if it was my big shameful secret – it felt like I died inside.
I mean, I already dated the basketball team captain in freshman year and the drum player of the school band in sophmore, I was popular (as a weirdo maybe). It felt like a legit mistake. I could’ve seen the next day, people making fun of me and the mentioning the time they found my Lindsay Lohan photo album and asked what it was, the I replied with “She is my role model” bullshit when it was clearly, ehm… whatsevs…
Anyway, she stopped, looked at me, and said “Good for you, I’m happy for you. Now please solve this one because I can’t, and it’s embarrasing.” So, I did. It was easier to solve it if you pretend that the triangle was a part of a pizza slice, and the radius of the arc under the triangle was mirroring the parabol on the graph, thus tan(x) wasn’t just a mystery that haunted my friend for the last couple of hours. (it might have been 5 min)
She was more interested in solving the geometric riddle than whom I’d fancy. I was heartbroken. Who did she think she was? I’m just joking, it was a huge relief.

That was a wake-up call for me to be honest. That eureka moment bunked many negative pretend-comments I had about myself. I was in my head for so long. I was afraid I would let everyone down that I never realized I was letting myself down by belittling myself. I was who I was, I still am who I am. My sexuality, my gender, my gender expression are just not as interesting comparing to my personality, my vision, my interests, what I am capable of, and what I succeded.
I was really proud of myself, and then college happened…

I’ve known that I wasn’t straight for the last four years of my life, and in that time, I had only come out to two other people, both of whom are a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Recently, as I have come to better understand and accept my sexuality, I felt that it was time to come out to my family but could not broach the subject without feeling (rightfully) nervous about it. Surprisingly enough (or maybe not so surprising), I came out to both my uncle, as well as my mom and sisters in two completely separate, yet unplanned ways.

My uncle is a jovial man who has always lovingly teased us growing up and him bringing up whether I had found a boyfriend yet was a daily occurrence which I always indulged him in by answering “nope.” For some reason, receiving this answer on a random day in July promoted him to ask if I was even interested in men. I stayed silent, unsure of how to respond, so he moved on to ask about women. When I refused to answer that as well he slyly asked about both, and having made up my mind to tell him the truth the moment this inquisition began, I simply raised my glass in toast. I wasn’t expecting a negative response, but the cheerful slap on the back and zero hesitation in his joking ways as he continued the conversation were gratifying, to say the least.

Cue two months later, we’re in early September and my immediate family still doesn’t know. I had noticed a new beauty mark on the heel of my palm that sat right in the middle of the intersection between two palm lines. I instinctively brought this up to my mom and showed her the beauty mark, and she responded by joking that maybe it’s position meant I was bisexual. I brushed off her comment, not intending to come out right that moment, but my twin sister quickly followed my mom’s comment by questioning whether I was bisexual. Now, I can’t lie to save my life. My whole family knows that. So the moment my twin asked this question I knew I’d be coming out to her, my mom, and my younger sister who was sitting with me on the couch. I answered with a simple “yeah,” and the conversation moved on. Admittedly, they were a bit shocked that I had known this about myself for the last four years, and they were completely taken aback to find out that my uncle knew before them and had kept it to himself without me asking him to, but they accepted me, as I knew they would, and that’s all that matters.

I have yet to come out to my dad and brother, and despite being out to a lot more people, I’m still nervous about broaching the subject out of the blue. I’d rather let it come about naturally, as it did with my uncle, mom, and sisters, but hopefully I can gather up the courage to let them know soon.

I first came out fifteen years ago, when I told my best friend about a crush that was stirring up an epic inner turmoil in the way that only teenage drama can.

A year later, I told my parents that I liked girls, staring fixedly at my shoes and wishing I could disappear. Both of those memories are still so vivid, because although I received compassion and understanding in response, I felt like my whole world was turning upside down. I thought I’d changed my life forever in a single moment. I also thought that was the end of it- I was out. Spoiler alert: that wasn’t the end of it.

I have been coming out for more than half my life now. I start a new job and give my partner’s name as my emergency contact, and I come out. A new friend asks what kind of guys I like and I respond with full honesty, and I come out. Someone spots my engagement ring, we talk about wedding plans, and I come out.

I have experienced every kind of response- confusion, awkwardness, curiosity, anger, delight. It never stops, but it gets easier every time because I know I have community and I know that there is nothing wrong with me. I am proud of who I am and even prouder to be part of the LGBTQ2IA+ family. My fellow queers have taught me so much about love, identity, selflessness and courage, and every time I come out I remember that, and I count myself lucky.

I love who I love.
Growing up I knew I was different. I was a bit of an introvert. Didn’t want to be around anyone. I felt awkward. I always wanted to please my family. I wanted to leave my little town and never look back as soon as I graduated. I joined the Marines. But I still felt like I needed to please my family. Long story short, Two crappy marriages later (and two wonderful children), I decided to do me and not worry about anything else. I have found someone that truly makes me happy. And my family loves her.
We will all have our ups and downs, but that’s love/relationships.
Be you no matter what. Love the one who loves you.

I’m 17, and I don’t know myself. Or at least I don’t think I want to know myself. As a child, I didn’t really have anyone to talk to because I didn’t have any siblings (other than a dog). I turned to the media, video games, and fictional characters from TV shows and movies to feel a connection to someone or something. Man, I would sit in front of the TV as a kid and watch these shows where I saw these beautiful people and I would always imagine myself pretending that I was their friend. And as I got older, the same thing happened where I continued enjoying characters. But then around my older teenage years, I realized that maybe it wasn’t an “obsession” with the characters, it was that I really liked them. And I was confused because no one had ever really mentioned this feeling to me, but in my mind, it just made sense. And I’m a relatively athletic person, so I got the whole “tomboy” thing as a kid, so people probably chalked it up to that. But I didn’t. Because, as of recently, I figured out who I was. And while only select people know, it’s cool to like the best of both worlds. Like God must have invented males and females for everyone’s enjoyment, so why not enjoy them both? And I’m lucky to be able to say my parents would be accepting of me, but in a way, I feel like they know, so I have avoided making it a “thing,” because why should they focus on a part of me that’s just who I am? There is no reason. And thanks to many TV shows, like Wynonna Earp and their amazing characters and cast, and movies, and just people in general, they have helped me with who I am.

For me, it all started with a dream. I had a dream about my best friend when I was 15, and that was when I knew that I had deeper feelings for her. We ended up falling in love and having a relationship for almost two years. We chose to keep it a secret because we were so afraid of being judged by our family and friends. The secrecy ultimately led to our demise. In college, I started to tell people my story. Everyone struggles with their identity, but it’s even harder when you grew up in a community that has a negative view of who you truly are. When I stopped repressed who I was, I started living as my true self. Honestly, I was so surprised by the love and support I received from everyone. I told my family and have their full support. For me, I needed the love and acceptance of others to ultimately love myself. I am proudly bisexual! Being apart of the LGBTQ+ community is my superpower and has given me the ability to feel deep empathy towards others. I have learned to stop judging myself, which in turn made me stop judging others. Love always win.

I’m a law student in India and I have not come out yet. I am terrified by the idea of coming out because I know my country nor my family are progressive enough to accept it. Writing it down right now is the first time I’ve ever actually admitted it. I don’t know if I can ever be okay with saying it to my family and friends or live here and live my life out fully.
But I am hopeful because of initiatives like this. Dominique is one of the first mainstream celebrities I’ve ever seen recognize the struggle of this community specifically in India. It somehow made me feel very acknowledged and I am grateful for it.
I intend on moving to another country as a whole just so I could get a chance to live out life the way I really want to.
I love this community.
I don’t know what the label is for me but I have come to understand my attraction to a person has nothing to do with gender, it’s always personality and their aura, but I’ve never acted on any attraction till now. I haven’t ever been in a relationship cause it’s never felt right ever. But the more I introspect, I’ve understood what it is that I’m actually excited to but i cannot say anything just yet. But I hope one day I can.

I realised I was a lesbian right after ending my first ever “relationship” (with a boy). Because of the lack of lesbian representation on the media, SPECIALLY in Spain (where I’m from and live), I never really knew that that was and option. It wasn’t until I was 14 or 15 that first week after the breakup that I started watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix. I instantly knew that was me I was watching on the screen. For the first time I didn’t feel like I was broken and unable to love or be loved.

I came out to my cousin via a song I found on YouTube months after (cringy… I am fully aware) A year later I came out to my grandma, which was my everything at the time, and the response couldn’t have been worse. It pushed me back into the closet for another 6 months. After I gathered the courage I came out through text to my mom, dad and two older brothers. They were all amazing at the time but apparently either my cousin or my grandma had told the entire family months before.

They were extremely disappointed in me and honestly it hasn’t been easy at all. My family has one of the most toxic dynamics I’ve ever seen.

I’m just happy I have found peace and comfort knowing exactly who I am and what I stand for.

Hoping to move out in a couple of years to NY and pursue my filmmaking career.

Can’t wait to see what the world has planned for this ragging homosexual to be honest.

Sending my love to anyone that needs it, you are not alone.

i came out in October of 2017 to my parents.
i told my brother and sister before anyone else in august that year, then a few of my closest friends.
i wasn’t too sure of what label to come out with so when i spoke to my mum i said i was bisexual a thought it would be easier to come out with a known label.

it is now September of 2020, almost 3 years later and i am in a relationship with my amazing girlfriend, Rachael, who wasn’t out to anyone, infact when we met she didn’t even know she liked girls.
However, we’ve been together about a year and 8 months.
we have gone through our ups and downs by we are all round happy and in love.

i was personally helped a lot by Wynonna Earp and the representation on the show,
obviously the relationship between Waverly and Nicole and the way it began and grew amazingly, helped me
along with watching all the cast at conventions and the wayhaught panels.

I personally felt free after i came out and started to be true to who i was and i couldn’t have asked for a better more supporting family.
i was so lucky to have been brought up in this amazing accepting environment and i will always be immensely greatful to my family and friends.

i am unsure what my label is

bisexual?
queer?

i don’t know, but i do know i will be accepted and loved either way

as Dominique Provost- Chalkley put it “i guess i’m in love with love”

I consider myself still in the closet. Afraid that ill be defined a certain way even though theres so much of my personality that i love other that who im attracted too. I want people to know me for me a person who has a big heart and wants to inspire people through my career, who loves to celebrate the small acheivements in life and loving my friends and family. I find coming out too be special if you have enough courage and support behind you. But it is freaking scary too come out. I find myself looking away, avoiding eye contact as i feel my heart pound out of my chest whenever someone asks me if i am in a relationship. Can’t muster up an answer quick enough so i avoid it. The world is scary as some people judge others based on what they think is morally correct. But whats worst is myself judging myself on top of others. Being ashamed that i cant feel the way i do because of what society shaped my worldview, fear that i dont deserve acceptence and love. Too afraid to say it aloud.

But if other people can maybe i can…………someday…..

During high school. When I got my current girl friend, I came out to my best buddy and one of my close aunt. Only 2 of them that I told them personally. One day, 1 of my BFF noticed my interactions with my girl friend and confronted me. That’s where I’m forced to come out to another few of my BFF.

Hi my name is Belen and I struggled with finding my sexuality and who i was all throughout middle school and the beginning of high school. I am 16 years old and i came out to my mom at 15 on November 11th 2019 and then came out to my dad in February of 2020. It took me a while to come to terms with me liking girls and hated myself for a while because of it. It was a big struggle that i had to overcome and i am very proud of myself for finally being able to be my true self and be proud of who i am and how far i have come.

When I was 5 yrs old I had a huge crush on my female teacher. I knew it was different because I felt butterflies in my stomach. It was way different from my admiration to boys. After that I had another crush on a 6th grader when I was in my 3rd grade. She didn’t like the attention and the fact that I had a deep admiration to her so she ended our friendship. I was so heartbroken and confused. What did I do wrong? Why can’t I just like her? Then on my 5th grade I had a 6th grader gf whom I invited to go to my house. My mom was open about it and made a joke of how weird and abnormal I am. I think my family knew I am into girls since I am more boyish than girlish. I love playing ball games, wearing shorts and big shirts. They even call me “Cathy Boy” for standing up to boys (who bullied me and some girls) and for just being me. I haven’t had any struggle coming out with my family probably because I have a colorful family (gay aunt, sister, and cousins).

Though I am fortunate of having a family like them, I had difficulty coming out to the entire world. Coming from a Catholic and patriarcal country like the Philippines, it is still a big deal if you’re part of LGBTQIA++ community. I could remember back in my college days that some of my friends lectured me from acting on being gay. They told me that it is a sin to engage into sexual lesbian acts but being one is not. Some told me it is just a phase in my life. So back then I had few experiments. I tried dating and kissing men for a week or two but it didn’t work out. I knew there was something wrong. Something lacking. SPARK! It is different when I kiss a woman. There is magic. There are butterflies in my stomach. There is fire. There is passion. There is care. There is love. There is happiness.

It’s been more than a decade since I decided to just be me regardless of what people say. All I know now is that I am proud of being me and for being in the LGBTQIA++ COMMUNITY.

Growing up in a catholic community, i had no idea of what it was meant to be gay. Sure, i have gay guy friends, but never girls who were one. I used to not to care of what i wore, cause i didnt have the luxury for new clothes. I only had what i have from hand me downs or ones i got years and years back. I tried to be friends with either gender. I wanted to ba part of something. But there came a time when people judged you for the way you dress and it was just hell for me. I got bullied and i was not part of any group, i was an outcast. It was hard, but a year later, i decided to suddenly blurt out my boy crush (of course i had a crush for boys) little by little, people began to forget the rumors of me being “tomboy”. My new found friends gave me clothes and chose what i should wear and that was it, i wasnt an outcast anymore without that label. In college, when experimentation began. I found that i was attracted too in women, but i hid and hid. I asked myself one time, am i really into women too? So i dated a guy and almost got taken advantage without my consent. Thug life. Men only wanted me for sex i thought, so i started dating women in secret, having relationships in secret. I had bi friends and lesbian friends but i really didnt have the guts to say i was one of them. Even when i started working, i was really scared of that label of that brand that people may say, but i cant stay in the closet forever. Slowly i opened up, whilst told close confidants only, who i trust the most. I felt relieved after all the hinding. I decided then to take a post graduate course, i still had relationships in and out, but more i found out about of myself. Indeed, love takes in many forms. Its in Happiness and sadness, its in pride and self doubt, its in all people. And the one you fall for, doesnt really need to conform the norms of the society. You love the person because of the peoson, not their gender or what others may say. Im just partially out of the closet, sticking half my body out,. Honestly, some of my family knows, but not straight from me. Well, i just hope in time id be able to have the courage to be trully free. I am happy now with my partner, and more comfortable of my sexuality. Greatful for people like you who share their thoughts and experiences.

Take care everyone,
Doc WW

This is the first time I have openly written about my sexuality so first of let’s take it back to the beginning.

I have always respected those in the lgbtq+ community, from a very young age i believed that love is love, and when you love you do it loud and proud. I was lucky for believing that statement that love is love. I grew up in a catholic household which isn’t typically an open minded religion from my experiences.

Now fast forward to my high-school years. I was also very lucky to be at a school that was diverse and open minded. We had a gay straight alliance club, I never went because I was scared but everyone loved it.

High-school is when I started watching a ton of shows that had wlw just because It felt powerful. And of course I began taking the quizzes every one takes at some point in their life. Along with me discovering who I love i was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. This took me awhile to come to terms with. Even though I struggle everyday I get back up even on the darkest days where I feel alone. watching those shows gave me peace along with validation.

The biggest influence for me discovering that I loved women was watching wlw couples on TV. The feeling I had when wlw couples appeared on the screen and got more than 5 seconds together was just… I was speechless and overwhelmed with love and support.
By far the most influential part of my journey has been watching wynonna earp.

As cheesy as it sounds watching wayhaught develop into this beautiful couple has just brought me hope. Watching them love so hard and support each other is so powerful. I hope one day to find that crazy love.

Now I wish I had this big “character arch” but im 20yrs old and this is me. I’ve spent the majority of my years supporting the community. And slowly began realizing how I would love to take her out for coffee over him. I’ve never felt connected to men, the way I look at women is completely different, I feel it and just know. Granted I have never been in a relationship with anyone.

The right one will show up when its the right time. As much as I’d love to do cheesy couple dates.

im scared that I won’t be accepted for who I love because I can’t find words to really describe how I feel and of course I feel like I have to explain myself to others.

I hope and pray that one day we can all live in peace.

I want to see a world where love isn’t frowned upon just because who i love and who you love may be different.

It’s okay to be different, that’s your superpower.

I hope whoever reads this is inspired or realizes that they are valid. I also hope reading this that you realize you don’t have to have all the answers now. Because Im still figuring myself out as well. tried writing this as accurately and open as I could, I still struggle to find words to how I feel, but its all a part of my journey. I find it hard to put a label on my sexuality like lesbian or bisexual so maybe I will figure that out soon too

Love Love

Love proudly

Love Loud

All my love and support for you beautiful people


~K

You can’t help who you love.

It began when I was 5 years old. There was a girl in my class with short dirty blonde hair and I still remember the red and white ruffled dress she wore, with her dingy white sneakers. I knew something was different. I was having these feelings that I couldn’t explain, and they continued to grow. My dad was in the Army so we moved a lot, and met a lot of different people. I was constantly bombarded with all these new attractions I was experiencing. When I was 10 years old, I realized that this was the real beginning of my struggle with my sexuality. There were two girls in my class that I could never stop talking about. I started drawing out their names during class and was constantly thinking about them. “This can’t be normal! Why am I having these feelings? What’s wrong with me? Do I tell mom and dad? What would they say?” Then I remembered I had an aunt, who was rumored to have a girlfriend, and that was highly frowned upon-yet no one ever confronted her about it. My parents just told us that “they were girlfriends.” I took that as they were together, but it was never explained or rarely spoken of. When it was mentioned, it was always with eyebrows raised. Their reaction to her made it even more difficult for me to want to talk to them.

After a few months at a new school, my sister found a couple drawings of girls’ names that I had really huge crushes on. “I LOVE…” She went straight to our mom with them! I was so embarrassed and confused. “You are just confused. You can talk to me, okay?” I WAS NOT going to talk to her! “This is my secret and it will pass,” I thought to myself. Maybe I was going through a phase. My dad was away, so I felt a little more at ease that I didn’t have to try to talk to him too.

I was 16 years old when my mom came up to me and asked me outright if I was gay. Her eyes pierced my soul. My heart was beating out of my chest. I was so ashamed. I did NOT want to disappoint her. Without hesitation, I looked directly into her eyes and lied to her. “NO! I’m just not interested in anyone, that’s all.” She knew I was lying, but did not say so. I continued to have my secret crushes, but never allowed myself to fully give in to my feelings. It was miserable, to have all these feelings and be terrified to speak about them. My questionable sexuality was knocking at my door. I was in real trouble. It was getting harder and harder to suppress these feelings. My friends at school were all dating and here I was, not interested in any guys. AT ALL. I decided that I would just tell everyone that my mom would not allow me to date because I had to focus on my studies. That’s what Asian kids do right? They don’t have time for relationships!

I was 20 when I met Lou. She was the general manager at the restaurant that I worked at. Over the years of our friendship, she noticed that I never had a boyfriend, or talked about relationships in general. One day, I decided to date a guy. We had gone to high school together and he was recently divorced with a young son. Honestly, I was trying to test if I was really gay. This relationship ended quickly, as I realized that even if I had feelings for him, being with him felt like a job. I went through all the motions but had no real connection. I was watching him fall for me and for what? To disappoint him in the end? We ultimately broke up because I was always choosing work over him, or any excuse to keep him at a distance. My mom and Lou watch all of this unfold. Neither of them were fooled for a second. The thing that Lou said to me that I will never forget is that, “you can’t help who you love.” I didn’t answer, but I knew that she knew. I was 29 when I had the worst encounter of my life. I had met someone at my new job and had fallen in love with her, and I could NOT bear to tell her. The friendship ended horribly because I wouldn’t explain to her why I was so jealous of her boyfriend. In an effort to forget about how my life was completely ruined by me being in the closet, I decided suddenly to join the military. I needed a new environment, a change. I had to get out of here!

In a new place, I decided that I could finally be me. None of the past shame or mistakes. However, “don’t ask, don’t tell,” was still in effect (homosexual servicemen/servicewomen could stay in the military if they did not openly declare their sexual orientation). I got involved with a girl at the barracks, and things escalated quickly. We were careful, because we didn’t want to bring attention to ourselves. I lied to her about my past in the beginning, but seeing how serious it was getting, I finally told her to truth. I’d never been with a woman. I didn’t know what to do or how to act. During the duration of our relationship, we had difficult arguments. I had not come out to my family and was avoiding it, which was a huge problem for her since she expected them to know that she existed as more than my friend. She wanted to get married and wanted kids, and to be accepted by my family. I was not ready for ANY of that. Everything was still so new but I still was not able to be ME. I was living two separate lives.

The next year, my mom got diagnosed with cancer. Within that year, she passed away. I never came out to her. And now she was gone. I fell into a horrible depression and was not sure I going to make it in the military. I had only been in for a couple years and my girlfriend was afraid I would ruin my career. Since I had been free of suppressing my sexuality, I decided to suppress my grief over losing my mom. It caught up to me a few months later when I getting ready to report to my first ship. We dated for another year before she ended things. We were on opposite coasts and would be separated for 3-4 years. My first REAL heart break. As soon as I was able, I went home on leave and came out to my dad and sisters. I came out to my dad first, and boy was that the hardest thing I ever had to do. I couldn’t even look at him. He is a man of very little words so when he asked if I was sure, I looked at him through my tears. “Dad, I’ve known since I was 5.” He looked down, then said, “okay,” and walked away. I felt a huge wave of relief. I mean, he didn’t hug me or tell me everything was going to be fine, but I knew it would be. I came out to my sisters next, which was much easier. “I knew it! Why couldn’t you just tell us? It was obvious! I remember your little drawings,” my one sister yelled. The other one was still a baby back then, but then chimed in, “I was just waiting for you to tell us.” I started crying because I wasn’t able to tell my mom, and that I would never be able to tell her.

Newly single at 32 and a new duty station was just the change that I needed . “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed and I could serve the remainder of my time in the military truly happy and free. When asked “what I am,” I would always answer, “I like what I like.” I still to this day have no label and have been happy in my “no label” sexuality since then. I have never felt the need to come out to everyone. My dad and sisters know and I’m okay with that. In my dad’s words, “You don’t need to announce it to the world. You don’t owe anyone any explanation. You do what you feel is right, and what makes you happy.”

I finished my contract and returned home. I had a lot of people speculate on my sexuality but the only person I cared about was Lou. She has been my best friend for years and like a big sister, but I still have not come out officially to her. I don’t feel the need to. Outside of my dad and sisters, I know that she loves me unconditionally. I know that she knows, and I believe she is still waiting on me to tell her. Maybe I will soon. 21 years later is not too late.

Not much of a story, but have always felt different in a way. And when I tried dating a boy it felt so wrong. I’ve never felt those feelings you are supposed to feel when I was with a guy but would be attracted to woman or at that stage girls, and would only feel the butterflies with them.
Because of the way I grew up and the kind of people my family were I didn’t want to accept it and couldn’t accept what I was. Found my sell falling deeper and deeper into a hole and losing myself. When my sister found out, she was supportive and helped me thru it. Finally learned to accept who I was and when I did I felt tons lighter
It was a struggle and still learning what this all is but now I don’t apologize for who I am.

My journey of self acceptance started a long time ago. I was 15 when I suddenly started realizing that I was attracted to both boys and girls, on many different levels. People might think that being born and living in Belgium, it’s easier to accept this part of myself, because LGTBTQ2IA+ have rights here, and in a sense it’s true, but it’s always hard, no matter where you come from.

Growing up, until my 19, I haven’t really seen any positive representation in my personal life, and those 4 years are very important, that’s when you grow the most in my opinion, when you’re supposed to figure out who you want to be. That’s when I started watching what was going on online, in the media. Because I was still questionning myself, a lot. I’d already had strong feelings for another woman and fell in love at that time. This feeling being all new, I was navigating in the unknown. Now I realize that I wasn’t in love with the person but more of the idea if that makes sense ?

But when you’re young and discovering this part of yourself, you dive right in… And along the way you get hurt. I remember being so depressed because, as unhealthy as it was, I needed answers, I was hoping to find them with that woman. Clearly that wasn’t a good idea, you shouldn’t rely on someone to understand you’re trueself.
But then I left for college, and being free and starting over, in a new city.. Going to parties, class, meeting new people and everything that goes with it, kinda opened a new perspective of how I wanted to address this self acceptance, how I wanted to acknowledge it. I had the time I needed, away from what I’ve always known at home.

I was dating a guy at that point, who I was in love with, and I felt safe and had a huge trust in that relationship so at some point, I shared with him that I was bi. And he didn’t take it well, for a few weeks, He was being cold, distant, and kinda offensive towards queer people we saw at parties or at the restaurants.. I never thought he would react like that, clearly I didn’t know him like I thought I did.. I had already grown in the past few months, and I just knew I couldn’t be with someone whou couldn’t accept me, or the community I was part of.

When friends asked me what happened after I told them we broke up, all the anger and disappointment I was feeling just came to the surface. I just told them the truth, just like that. I have really great friends, who are so open-minded and loving, and supportive, they were like “Hell Yeah, So Happy for you”. This break up and my ex behaviour made me realize that actually, I wasn’t the problem. My feelings weren’t the problem at all. But the others who tried to convince me that loving a same sex person was wrong.

From that moment, I just lived my truth. I was getting more informations about representation,what was going on arountd the world about that matter. I was speaking about it to friends, and not being ashamed to say at parties or events “Oooh that girl is beautiful” or “Look at him, so handsome” And I was very comfortable about it. I was dressing up like I wanted too, sometimes it was girly, sometimes boyish. I didn’t care.

And then… I met my first true Love, I was 23. It was at a bachelorette party, and she was my half sister’s best friend ! We automatically got along very well. And I remember having a brilliant time that night, laughing, drinking, talking, dancing. And I never thought, because of previous bad experiences, that she was feeling the same. I knew that she was gay but you know, that doesn’t mean anything. And then on teh wedding day, a few days later, we spent the all day together, always looking for each other when we weren’t together. I had moved to NY and was back for my friend’s wedding so I was leaving a few days later, but we started talking online. And 2 months later, after thousands and thousands of messages, we actually told each other how we were feeling. And we liked each other, a lot, on a profound level. I wasn’t supposed to come back to Belgium for several months, but I did book a ticket to see her, that’s when I knew I needed to come out to my family. I told my cousin, who’s like my sister, and she was so excited for me. Then I told my mom .. And she cried, not because she was disappointed or anything thing, but because I kept all this part of me inside for so long. And then I told my dad, who just said ” Yeah let’s open a bottle of champagne”, and then told to everyone in my family. So it went very well, and deep down I knew they would react like that, but it’s always a challenge to let people know who you truly are.

And 4 years later here I am, living my true authenticity with no shame, being proud of who I am, who I like, being proud to go to parties and flirt with who I want, no matter what people might think.

Pauline

At the age of 12, (I’ll start with something that marked my life) in school I was beginning to notice discrimination from children my age. It was the age when everything around me began to affect me emotionally, shyness consumed me, I was silent for a long time, in the face of what I saw and what I heard (This was also because I grew up in a family with economic problems, communication problems, problems of home stability, (problems that exist in many families) this did not allow me to have friends, not for long).
In school, I began to experience this nervousness when someone who was attracted to you (boys and girls) would come up to you and point their finger at me (mostly because of the girls), talk behind my back. Children can be very cruel sometimes and I let that get to me.
I grew up having a different view of human beings, I grew up knowing my older brother’s sexual orientation (to label him would be gay). In my small family of my maternal grandparents, my mother, my younger sister, my older brother and I, his orientation was only a topic for my grandmother, something she found difficult to accept. This was the second thing that marked my life. My mother always saw it as something natural, it was never a subject for her. What I remember most is that she told us that we had to be who we wanted to be, and she would support us. Going back to my grandmother, what terrified me the most were her comments and her look I can’t forget, her look of disgust and rejection, I didn’t want them to look at me like that, and that’s why I decided to keep silent. And just go with the flow that was driving society. To be “normal”. But I always wondered what that meant.
Since I can remember, 4 years, I always felt different, I was very attentive to what was happening around me, but I did not remember that people were so cruel until I was 12 years old. I just felt like a little human being, living in a place that didn’t fit but I was trying hard to understand and learn.
At the age of 16 I confessed to my mother about my taste in both men and women, she looked at me, smiled at me, kissed me on the forehead and hugged me. And she told me that everything was fine. I remember walking with my sister on the way to a supermarket and we were talking about the freedom of tastes by different genders, and we are both very open-minded, we never confess or label ourselves personally.
But 3 or 4 months ago I don’t know exactly, my sister confesses to us that it is part of the non-binary genre, I already intuited it, but I never asked her because I think that it shouldn’t be a subject, I think that in all of us we should be free.

In my last years I have learned to observe and analyze more the behavior of the human being. And I don’t justify anyone’s bad behavior, but I think there are many people who live in fear and that’s their behavior.
In short, in order not to do this so long, today at 26 years of age, since this pandemic began I have rethought many things about my life and the society in which we live. And I have decided to RECONSTRUCTION myself emotionally, mentally and in many other things. RECONSTRUCTION and ACCEPTANCE. Some time ago I started with meditation and yoga and I discovered many things about myself, I realized that everything that happened in my past had to be like that, it took me to make the person I am today. I constantly have conversations with myself that give me the answers I need. I have never been emotionally dependent on anyone and I have moved away from the attachment of those emotional things that don’t allow you to evolve.
I have a core of friends who are wonderful in many ways, they are few, but, they are the kind of people that you need to have in your life, that show you how different we are in many things but you can learn from it and it would be a bit boring if we were all the same and with them I can express myself freely without getting a strange look back.
With them (my friends) and my family, I can express myself freely regardless of a person’s gender or sexuality. And so it should be. Hopefully, at some point mankind will realize that, we would all be better off as a society.
I would like to share much more, but I think that’s enough, the message is understood.
Tomorrow, September 4th, I’m having a birthday party and I decided it was already a good time to free myself. I mean, I’ve been here for a long time, but I wanted to share it.

Yesterday an acquaintance told me that Love does not exist, and I answered him with a “how can it not exist” and there you realize how damaged we are as a society. My life was also somewhat stormy but I never let myself fall, I always understood that this was only a human experience and that I had to accept it or fix it, personally.
I’m not going to label myself with respect to my tastes, I just leave it as a human experience. I didn’t know how pleasant it was to write, I wouldn’t give it up. But I have to keep going, right now I am sitting looking at my beautiful Andean mountain range while drinking an herbal tea.
It was a pleasure to share a little bit of myself. Most likely you have forgotten something.
(Sorry for the length of my story)

-Katherine, Chile.

I think I’ve always known I was part different, but growing up in a very small town I did not grow up with anyone in the queer community around me, or at least they were not open.

When I was in grade 8, my mom moved us to the next town over which was slightly bigger. There I fell in with a bunch of misfits, some of which were exploring their sexualities.
At the time, I was still dating guys, although I was tossing them aside before anything could become real.

In grade nine, I finally worked up the courage to tell one of my then bisexual friends that I thought I might also be bisexual. She then went on to dismiss me and said, and I quote “you’re our straight friend”. As you might have guessed this pushed me even further back into the closet, when I stayed until after I graduated.

It wasn’t until I moved across the province to the big city of Vancouver for school, that I actually allowed myself to start to come out to my new school mates. There I met this older Brazilian girl, who was my first relationship with a girl….and wow, eye opener.

Since then I have been dating women, identifying as queer as gay/lesbian/bi/pan feel too restrictive for me. I am pretty open with my friends that I have made since college and new people I have met, I am still not out to my family and a lot of my childhood friends back home.

I’m pretty sure my parents know, I mean I basically dressed and acted like a boy from the ages of 5-11. But I became rather famine during high school. One moment I feel ready to tell them and think they will be fine, and the next I remember and old comment they made or something they said recently that makes me hold back.

I’m 26, and I’m still a bit of a hot mess when it comes to relationships. But working on it.

I’m a 30 years old queer cisgender woman that knew from a very young age that I liked girls. However, I didn’t really know that I was a lesbian at that time.
As far as I can remeber I had crushes on girls, but as a kid growing up in the northeast of Brazil (a very “tradicional” region) I had no queer references whatsoever. I just knew that girls were suppost to like boys, so I faked it, throughout my entire adolescence. I dated boys and kisses a lot of them so that no one would suspect that I was actually in love with a girl friend.
It was only when I went to college in another state across the country that I had the courage to try to kiss a girl. In a traditional Brazilian festivity, carnaval, I kissed a girl for the first time and that made me realize how much I wanted to do that for my entire life. Since It was a party and there was a lot of alchool involved none of my friends said much about It, and I actually ended up with some other guys for almost an year before finally having the guts to admit first to my self, that I was definitely not into guys.
It was watching shows with queer characters that helped me build the stregnth to come out, in special Naya Rivera’s Santana in Glee. I related so much to her that I started to feel the need to be honest with myself, to stop hiding who I was, that’s when I leaned on my first openly gay friend to start going out more, meeting girls and telling people around me that I was gay. I then came out to my childhood friends who still lived in my hometown and it was such a releaf to hear them say that they loved just the same. It was time to tell my family. In a visit to my parents house, on a long weekend that my dad was way I told my mother. Her reaction was as far from undestanding as it could possibly be, she didn’t speak to me again for several months. As I left the very next day, heart broken, I didn’t really know what to do next. My mother told my older sister who called me and said that my mom was devasted, crying all the time and not eating, begging me to go to a therapist. I knew that they were expecting me to be “cured” by this therapist but I went anyway to try to make amends. It turned out the therapist was a really nice woman who knew my sister and their intentions and told me at the first session that she wasn’t there to cure me, but to help me cope with everything I was going throutgh. My father was the real light for me at that time, he asked me to have patience with my mom, that she was taking it pretty hard but was trying to be better for me and that he would love me for the both of them until then.
A lot of scars had to heal before I started to feel whole again and be proud of who I am, but as I was going through all of this with my mom I kept reminding myself that I needed to treat her with the same love and acceptence that I expected to get from her. Now, eight year later, she has come a long way. It took patience and love, but most importantly I knew I wasn’t alone.

I always knew I liked girls. But I waited until I was 20 to come out. I am 34 now. I told my parents first. I didn’t have the strength to tell them verbally so I wrote a letter that I gave to my mother. She cried and my father just told me: we suspected it your mother is just shocked by the confirmation but we prefer to see you happy with a girl than unhappy with a man. Don’t worry it will be fine. Always be proud of who you are. And he took me in his arms. I then told all the family and friends who took it pretty well. Apart from 1 or 2 non-tolerant people. Since that day, I don’t hide anymore and my family doesn’t hide from me either and I am very proud of who I am. Today I have a 9 year old daughter that I had with my ex wife. She knows very well that she has 2 mothers and that it is quite normal even if in France homosexuality is less tolerated than in other countries.

When I was 5 I started realising I didn’t really fit in with the girls who I was forced into groups with. I was more interested in playing football than dancing and I had a significant amount more friends who were boys than friends who were girls. The boys saw me as one of them and if someone said that I couldn’t do anything because I’m “a girl” they would defend me and say that I’m different. They were right, I am different.

I’m different but my differences make me unique. My gender dysphoria went unnoticed to me until I was 10, around the same time I started puberty. I started hating the body I was in and wished I could be more like the boys who I played football with. My gender dysphoria was manageable until I was 15.

As soon as I turned 15 I had reached my breaking point. I began researching what this awful feeling of hatred I had towards my body was and almost every article I read and every video I watched told me it was the same thing: gender dysphoria. After that I did more research and discovered what it means to be transgender. I came to the conclusion that I’m trans and that I should probably create a list of names for myself to try out.

By January 2017 I decided to tell my friends about my identity and my new name. At that point, I was identifying as non-binary. One friend knew about what it means to be non-binary so was incredibly supportive and the rest of my friends just wanted what was best for me. They used my new name and my preferred pronouns and it was going really well until a few months later when I realised that I’m actually FtM (female to male) transgender.

After I told people I was changing my preferred name again and was using new pronouns some people stopped talking to me which made me feel even more hatred towards myself. I soon discovered that coming out as trans in a Catholic school was a terrible idea (well for me at least). Someone who had stopped talking to me because of my new identity told one of my bullies about my identity and it caused his bullying to escalate. I soon began regretting coming out.

One day during our biology lesson we were talking about reproduction and my bully asked how same sex couples reproduce. I answered him in a clear and concise way that same sex couples can use IVF or surrogacy in order to reproduce. At this point he turned around and said “oh, is that how you trans freaks do it to?” before pushing a desk towards me causing me to be trapped between two desks. My teacher ran over to help and asked him to leave the classroom immediately. I was ushered off with some of my friends to go sit in an empty art classroom whilst we were waiting for the school nurse to come and check me over. Luckily I was only bruised and nothing worse had happened. He was suspended for two weeks for bullying and inappropriate conduct (apparently it would have been much longer if I’d have actually admitted to being trans but at that point I was too scared to come out to teachers).

Flash forward to now (September 2020) and I’m about to start my second year of university. I still haven’t come out to my parents but I’m getting there. My online friends help a lot with reassuring me that I’ve always got a chosen family and that I look masculine enough. I’m now at ease with my labels of transgender and pansexual (an identity discovery I made only a few months ago).

I first realized I might be gay when I was in middle school, though it was not something I was ready to accept. I have always been a tomboy, and was very aware of gender growing up. While I had an incredibly supportive family and felt that I could live my life without limiting myself to what society had dictated someone of my gender should do, there were times when it was incredibly stressful. I avoided using public restrooms for fear of someone thinking I was a boy and trying to kick me out, I hated when activities were separated based on gender and even lost a friend because he thought I was a boy until we were separated in an activity, and I had another friend tell me he wouldn’t believe I was a girl until I had boobs. Despite all of this, I never changed how I dressed or the activities I was involved in until I thought I might be gay. I felt I was different enough as it was, I did not want to add the stress of being gay on top of everything else. My greatest fear through high school and college was that someone would think I was gay and I wouldn’t be able to deny it. I successfully avoided any formal events in middle school, but in high school I started wearing dresses for the first time since my parents dressed me as a very young kid. I avoided any physical contact with women and didn’t allow myself to get too close to any woman for fear of developing serious feelings I couldn’t deny. In the moment, I didn’t think too much about it, but reflecting back, it was pretty horrible. This lasted until my senior year in college, when my best friend started breaking down all of my barriers. She started hugging me, holding my hand, and cuddling, and for the first time I realized how touch starved I had been. This was great, but also super confusing. I had never had a super close friend or a partner and I did not know how to interpret my feelings for her. She was also in a relationship with a man and was pretty vocal about being straight. Eventually I just had to accept that I had fallen in love with her, and this helped me to start on my journey to accepting my sexuality. It was not until the next year, after we had moved in together and had been living with each other for a couple of months, that I finally felt ready to come out. I told my family first, and they were amazing, and then I told my best friend, who was also amazing. I thought that after I came out, everything would just fall into place, which did not happen. It has been almost 2 years since I came out, and I have struggled a lot. I spent the majority of my life trying to convince myself I wasn’t gay and the deep sense of shame, fear, and anxiety that I had been living with doesn’t just disappear. But I have also grown a lot in those two years. The shame, fear, and anxiety don’t rear their heads as much anymore, and I am starting to get to a point where I can actually have pride in who I am. I even told my best friend that the reason I came out was that I had fallen in love with her, which is something I had been hiding for so long and was a huge relief when I finally released it. There is still room to grow, but I am incredibly happy with where I am now, and for the first time in my life I feel like I can love who I truly am.

Maybe when I’m 12 or 13. I used to like to chatting with girls. I used to have strong feelings. And then I know, it is love.
I got caught by my parents. And they were so dissapointed with me. Thats makes me so sad. But, I need to accept that. Cause the country where I live now, still cant accept LGBTQ.
So, I still hide it until now.
I adore you so much with your work, with your passion, with your kindness. Do more for other. There will be a lot of ppl out there that need to be encourage.

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