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Out Is The New In​

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This isn’t really the most interesting coming out story in the world but I thought I’d contribute my story anyway.
I figured out that I was attracted to girls in the seventh grade. It wasn’t so much a “Oh shit! I like girls! I’m not straight!” as it was a “Oh, so the magnitude of my fixation on *insert any female actress* is NOT experienced by everyone”. However, I didn’t really process what that information meant until one of my classmates had offhandedly mentioned that she had a girlfriend and that she identified as a lesbian. Now don’t get me wrong, I knew that people could like someone of the same gender identity, but the meaning behind being queer held no weight to me until someone put a label onto it. It sort of clicked in a way that made me realize that maybe I was bisexual. Because of that realization, I did the obvious thing and took hundreds of “What is my sexuality?” quizzes and found solidarity and comfort among the dozens of famous or slightly relevant LGBTQ+ Youtube videos and Youtube series’ that were available in 2014.
Before my descent down the rabbit hole that is the numerous quality LGBTQ+ media available to the public, I decided to come out to one of my former best friends. She did not realize that was trying to come out to her, and I had to come out to her again 4 years later.
It took me 2 years after I had realized that I wasn’t straight to actually come out to someone, 1 year to feel comfortable with a label, and like 1 month to decide that- if someone asked me what my sexuality was- I would tell them the truth. So basically, it took 2 years for one of my other best friends to outright ask me if I was asexual before I could say that I was pan/bi. It took me a year after that to come out to my best friend since elementary school. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to hide my sexuality from her as it was that it wasn’t something I wanted to be defined by, nor was it the most important detail about me. Despite my resolve to just come out to her if I ended up liking someone who happened to have the same gender identity as me, I panic texted her. This was after a friend of ours asked me if I was straight while my best friend was sitting there with us. I ended up giving that friend a roundabout answer and then came out officially to my best friend at midnight over text.
Now, I am luck enough to not experience extreme homophobia directed at myself and I am extremely lucky to be, and have been, friends with open-minded and accepting people, so I didn’t really consciously feel internalized homophobia/biphobia until years after I realized that I was indeed NOT straight. I didn’t feel that way until I was asked by my mom to warn her if I happened to be attracted to a girl or, better yet, just not like girls at all. Because of that, I grew conscious of the underlying yet ever-present homophobia found in my relative’s uninformed opinions about the LBGTQ+ community. I wasn’t afraid that my family would disown me or stop loving me, but I became afraid that I would have to compromise who I am in order not be seen as an outlier by my aunts and uncles. Honestly, I was more afraid because I wasn’t sure how my parents would react. I ended up hiding who I am from both my parents and my older sister, who I knew didn’t care and didn’t hold the same “traditionalist” values that my extended family and my parents did. I was too afraid that, if I told her, my parents and extended family would somehow find out. I made the same resolve that I had made before with my elementary school best friend: I would just casually introduce my girlfriend to her when I eventually started to actually date girls (or people in general). That, however, did not happen. Instead, I came out to her when she asked me how I identified while we were watching Bon Appetit Youtube videos.
These aren’t the only coming out stories that I have, and I definitely didn’t elaborate on every detail, but these were the moments that actually held some importance to me. Each time I came out to someone that held/holds an extreme amount of importance to my life, none of it went as planned. I had to take a leap of faith and trust that I was loved enough that, a detail about who I was, wasn’t going to change how my friends and family viewed me. I’m still not out to the rest of my family, but knowing that I didn’t have anything to hide from my sister lifted a weight I didn’t even know I had on me. Even without me coming out, my parents have started to become more welcome to the idea that girls like girls and that’s okay.
Just having even one person to talk to, who knew I liked girls, helped me to become even more comfortable with my sexuality. Without the positive LGBTQ+ representation in the media, I would have felt alone before I even knew what I identified as. I was okay with my sexuality until I wasn’t, but, even then, I had enough support to continue to take leaps of faith.
I don’t think there’s really a right way to come out, nor do I know when the right time to come out is. However, I do think that having even one person (whether it’s someone online or someone you know in real life) know and support you for who you are is by far the most freeing thing in the world.
I’m out and proud to the people that I get to choose to include in my life, and I am so excited to see the world continually progress and become a more accepting place (with better LGBTQ+ and PoC representation in mainstream media)

A human that can’t pick a label

I knew that I was different when I started to have a crush on someone that in society would deem abnormal/not under social norms. If I was straight, it would not be weird if i had a crush on a male teacher, honestly people would have praised it and would have said that was normal. But as a female having a crush on a female teacher, that would be what some may call weird or disgusting just because I am a female. I am a feminine female, i love wearing dresses, make up and what you would consider “girly things”.Having a Christian/Anglican upbringing I didn’t see people or a person I could relate to growing up. My brain has battles with itself; when i was in junior school (5-12yrs old) I had crushes on many boys, I could relate to my friends but as i started entering high school, I couldn’t relate to my friends much anymore because i was not only interested in boys; i was interested in girls too and by the time i was 15 i saw someone that i could relate to on TV. Even though i saw representation, my head was still filled with battles about labeling my sexuality, so i can just come out and be me. I was telling myself that Bisexuality is what I am because I am attracted to both male and female; but it did not feel right having that label. I was not comfortable about that label. Then looked up quizzes for what my sexuality was. Most of them just said I was curious, honestly i felt offended. I’ve always said that people deserve to be loved and to love someone other than themselves. I found the term Queer and Pansexual I said, I related to both equally. But I just don’t feel like a label fits me. I just love love and want to feel loved and be loved. That’s all that should matter.

2nd generation Homo

I think I knew I was gay before I knew I was gay. To a lot of people that will make no sense and to so many others it will make perfect sense! I used to write on my diary about people I liked and make up boys names to use instead of the girls name, but still I didn’t reall realise i was gay. I have this clear memory of sitting with my friend when I was about 13 and telling her that when I imagine myself when I’m older and settled down, it is with a girl and my friend said cool so your gay then? And I remember being like what?! No, of coarse not…. It wasn’t until a few years later when I couldn’t stop thinking about my best friend at the time that it finally started to sink in, I think I might be gay. I came out when o was 15. When I told my friends they just sighed a breath of relief that I’d finally cottoned on. When I told my mum, who I was terrified to tell. She told me ‘ive known since you were 3 and wouldn’t wear a dress’ as soon as she said that I knew we would be fine. I mean it took a few years but we got there eventually. She may still say the odd comment here or there but she doesn’t mean to offend when that happens usually it’s just a lack of understanding and then we talk and it’s better. I came out when I was 15 and I’m now 31 so I have been out longer than I was in and I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to be my age and only just being able to be your authentic self. My dad came out when he was 40 and I felt so much sorrow for him that he had to live so much of his life not being himself. He was always a bit of a grumpy man but that completely changed when he came out. He is 60 now and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him grumpy for even a minute on the last 20 years since he has been out. For anyone out there who is struggling with coming out, who is worried about what the people around them think. just remember you are part of a community, a community full of love and acceptance and we will always accept you. ‘the people who matter won’t mind and the people who mind don’t matter’

MJ — One label at a time

My coming out story isn’t much different than the next person, I suppose. It boils down to the fact that I grew up thinking that being a straight cis-woman was the only option. While I wanted a family, the idea of fulfilling the role of Suzy-homemaker never appealed to me. I didn’t want to be a brainless baby making machine. I wanted an education, a career, and a partnership. I didn’t want what my parents had and it made me sad thinking that I would never get what I wanted, simply because I didn’t think it existed.
Fast-forward a few years and I was a High School Junior with a best friend (I’ll call her L). A best friend, who I thought would stick with me through thick and thin for the rest of my life. Oh how I was wrong. Anywho, through a long series of events L took a chance one night and kissed me. She was more shocked by my lack of negative reaction than I was. I remember thinking “wait, that was it?” and wanting to try it again. And try again we did.
For a little bit of background, I grew up in a Mormon household where I was taught that homosexuality was a sin. I knew that I had an uncle who was gay but I also knew that my Grandma had disowned him back in the 80’s at the height of the AIDS epidemic. So what I knew at that point in my life was being gay was wrong and I’d definitely go to hell if I was gay. So I never said that I was. When friends started to figure out that L and I were dating, I would say “Oh, I’m not gay. I just like L” or “I’m only like 5% into girls, so not really gay”. I was wrong, but I thought I was in love so labels didn’t really matter to me.
As most High School relationships go, our relationship only lasted about 6 months before it was over. I was devastated as she moved on to college and I was left to navigate the rest of high school by myself, without a best friend or a girlfriend. In hindsight I don’t think my devastation was caused by the loss of a relationship but rather with the mountain of questions she left me with. Was I gay? Was it just her I loved? Am I going to hell? Will I ever find someone who loves me? It wasn’t just the usual post-breakup mountain of questions I had to deal with. I was also left questioning my identity. Who I was, down to the core. So what did I do? I tried to get “rid” of my gay feelings and dove head first back into the world of heterosexuality, which didn’t last for long.
I went to college in the very liberal, LGBTQ-friendly state of Massachusetts, where I told my first college roommate that I might be bisexual. I think I chose that label not because I couldn’t pick a side (obviously an incorrect stereotype), but because I never had even kissed a boy before so I felt like it was “safe” to identify as someone who could go either way. So I gave it the good old college try and dated several men during my four years at school. Through many hookups and short lived relationships I kept finding myself saying “Hm, I’m not into him, maybe it’ll be the next guy”. I was always left with an empty feeling in my chest and the thought that maybe I was broken. I couldn’t understand how so many of my peers were able to find a partner and find happiness with that person. Maybe it just wasn’t my destiny?
I never dated any women in college despite all of my friends encouraging me to try. It didn’t feel right to me, probably since my 4 year experiment of dating men wasn’t quite finished yet and a part of me didn’t want to potentially skew the results by adding the gender I knew I had a connection with into the mix. I do have respect for the scientific method after all. It wasn’t until a cold night in October, as I was about to have sex with yet another man who’s name I never bothered to remember, did I realize that this wasn’t for me. I’ll spare you all the graphic details that helped me come to this conclusion, but ultimately I left that guy’s house at 2 A.M., without my socks and the newfound realization that I am, without a doubt, gay. I finally felt free.
I told my friends the next day and I was met with overwhelming support. I waited several months to tell my mom and again, nothing but support. A few months later I told my extended family, and to my surprise once more, full support! I felt a profound sense of relief and also guilt. Why the guilt? Well, I knew I was one of the lucky people in the LGBTQ community and I was thankful for that, but I realized that I just spent the last 5 years of my life battling internalized homophobia. Could you imagine how utterly disgusted I felt with myself? I never had a problem with homosexual people so long as I wasn’t one of them. Here I was with complete support from my family and friends and I felt like a fraud. I felt awful for identifying as part of the LGBTQ family all while I had feelings that it was wrong. I blame a lot of my internalized homophobia on my Mormon upbringing, but I also knew it had something to do with the fact that I’m a perfectionist and wanted a life that was normal. I had a life plan to get a college education, get married in my early twenties, and have children before I was thirty. In my mind, being a lesbian totally derailed that plan and it made me angry. All I ever wanted to be was “normal” and it took me until I was 24-years-old to realize that being normal, is totally fucking overrated.
So, I had officially come out to my family at 22-years-old, but something still felt off to me. I was out, I had gotten over my internalized homophobia and guilt, AND I was actually dating women. What else was missing? I didn’t figure it out until my job had moved me out to Northern California, just outside of San Francisco, and until I had met my best friend. H is a beautiful straight blonde woman and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t totally have a crush on her. But life isn’t like some of the movies out there and as much as I’d wish she was secretly in the closet and would one day fall in love with me, I know it won’t happen. Oh well, I’m over it. Mostly. Anyway, what I love most about this woman is her confidence to be her authentic self. She doesn’t give a shit about what anyone thinks about her and does whatever she wants simply because it makes her happy. My mind was blown. Who actually lives life like that!? I certainly didn’t.
Eventually, after months of internal debates with myself, I decided to take a page out of her book. I was going to do something because I wanted to do it and I didn’t care about what anyone thought about it. I cut off my long brown hair. I went from having hair halfway down my back to using a buzzer. It was fucking liberating! It took a few haircuts to get the style that I wanted but once I did, damn I looked good. A few months later I went through my entire closet and donated all of my dresses, feminine shirts, and shoes. I started shopping almost exclusively in the men’s clothing department and even bought a custom tailored 3 piece suit. I went from a shy tomboy to a semi-confident soft-butch woman. I was starting to feel a little bit better about myself, but I still wasn’t quite there yet.
Shortly after my extreme makeover, something weird started to happen to me. I was getting misgendered. A lot. But something even weirder caught my attention. I didn’t mind getting misgendered and I never corrected anyone who referred to me with male pronouns. What the hell did this mean now!? I had just gotten comfortable with my sexuality and now I was questioning my gender identity. Was I ever going to find a label that I actually fit into? I felt full of questions again.
I wish I could say that I’ve figured it out, but I haven’t yet. Do I think I’m trans? No, probably not. Am I non-binary? Maybe? Androgynous? Possibly. Am I just a soft-butch lesbian woman who doesn’t give a fuck about labels and loves women? Could be. Will I ever figure it out, who knows? What I do know at this point in my life is that I don’t really care. I don’t care what gender people think I am. I don’t care if the woman who I will eventually fall in love with has a sexual past with partners of different genders. I don’t care what people think because I finally, FINALLY feel some sense of peace within myself. I don’t have all the answers and I don’t think I ever will, but I’m finally living my truth. I don’t hide who I am anymore and I do the things that make me happy. Some days I can’t believe that I spent 24 years of my life living in shame and other days I’m so happy that I’ve spent the last year of my life embracing myself. I know my journey isn’t complete and I know I have more things to discover about myself and my goodness, I can’t wait to see how this goes.
If this ever gets published, and it’s okay if it doesn’t because quite frankly this was cathartic for me to write, but if it does, I hope someone can identify with my story. I hope this helps someone else realize that we are all on our own journeys and there is not one specific timeline you have to follow. It took me 24 years to live my truth. It took my brother 17. It may take someone 5 years or another person 75 years. All that matters is that you are true to yourself. If labels make you happy, use them. If you don’t care for them, that’s okay too! There is no right or wrong way to be yourself so just do it. You’ll be amazed at just how brightly you can shine.

Thompkell (she/her)

I have a vivid memory of walking home from school when I was 13 years old. Where my steady footsteps on the pavement, the soft weight of my backpack, and the gentle warmth of afternoon sunshine created the conditions for my mind to wander to romantic curiosities about one of my best friends – a girl (like me). The memory doesn’t stay with me as a milestone for my first gay thought (which I’m not even sure would be accurate), but it hovers because of the innocence that emerged when I remember telling myself afterwards with a playful shrug – “I’m sure everyone has thoughts like this.”

Whether or not more people ever do feel a pull to kiss their same-sex friends, my experience was that it was unsafe to consider – so forget talk about – that this desire could be any part of my truth. But there was something enchanting about the tension that I then began to experience as I felt called to acknowledge this part of myself.

I had to make a choice.

So instead of pulling myself together – I split and divided core facets of my being to maintain an illusion of a “normal” life and to hide the pieces I was not ready to accept.

The division, as one might expect, led to secrecy and a dynamic where I could only find true happiness in controlled, private, and hidden spaces. Escapism and disconnection. And, as if to further confuse my inherent sense of self and intuition, my friend – who I had imagined kissing – ended up playing in these shadows with me. We “dated” in the later years of high school – a secret we kept from literally everyone else in our lives. But where we were each coming from, at our cores, wasn’t aligned. She would cycle through boyfriends and force a hard separation from our day life and our shadowed life. I started living a life so empty on the surface – craving the time in the shadows – that I became numb to who I was spending time with when it wasn’t her.

I lost my centre.
I lost my own personal sense of who I was since I was craving to exist in the only one place I permitted and allowed myself to connect to what I was truly feeling.

Eventually it became too much to maintain the separation between the two lives. When I had approached her with the confession – that what I felt in the shadows was something I wanted to share with the light – I was met with hostility and denial. This would start a dysfunctional pattern of dismissing my own needs for those I love. How can you develop any sense of confidence in yourself when the person you care about most and feel you can be your truest self with is ashamed of who you are? Can look you right in your eyes, speak directly to your heart and tell you that who you are and what you feel is wrong?

But perhaps the biggest hurt was to realize that we did not feel the same way about what we were experiencing. That the space we had created together was starkly unsafe for me to feel the way I felt.
My world began to collapse.

I had separated an incredibly significant piece of my identity from the rest of my experience, and since I had defined my happiness based on how worthy I was in someone else’s eyes, my core became a void. Who was I? An emptiness emerged from the gaping hole that I had been filling with validation from others – validation I did not recognize I needed to be seeking from myself first. And when the sadness shifted to numbness it became an exceedingly difficult vibration to move out of – especially when fear and shame took control.

Then in the swirl of sadness, shame, confusion, loss, and uncertainty – the emergent realization that maybe I am gay snapped any remaining stability out from under me. To be this way wasn’t safe, especially if my love won’t be reciprocated, wasn’t enough, or was to be used as a weapon to demonize me. I couldn’t trust myself if this kind of happiness also meant so much harm.

But what is a “coming out story”?

I would love to say that this was the lowest point of my life through this journey – but that isn’t the case. I would also love for this to have been the moment that I accepted and acknowledged my place in the LGBTQ2IA+ community – but that isn’t true either. It would take many years to get to where I am today, and maybe I will always be going through the process of coming out and deepening my self acceptance.

What is the case though, truly, is that as I have found more self acceptance, the people in my life and the world (I believe) have also been finding softer hearts and raising their levels of acceptance, awareness, and love – consciously and subconsciously. And I genuinely believe that we will only get better. We will only love more. We will only build on and grow our collective kindness and compassion.

And, at least based on my experience, I deeply believe all of this is possible through the simple, challenging work of each of us turning inwards towards ourselves – first – and lovingly embracing all of who we are.

Change doesn’t need to be a light switch – but trust that lights shine their brightest in the dark.

Thank you for creating this space for us to share. Thank you for starting this wave of change and inspiration. Thank you for your sincerity and courage.

Power in knowledge

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.


I have always been a tomboy and ever since I was in elementary school I had crushes on girls and boys. I was the one who hopelessly fell in love with their best friend… twice. I never felt like it was necessary to “come out” to anyone around me. There was probably rumors and gossip around school but no one ever had the nerve to say something to my face and when my family finally put two and two together there was no discussion, just acceptance. And for that I consider myself lucky. I am glad to be a part of a community that loves so intensely and I’m happy to apart of the generation that is paving the way for younger people to live and love freely.