11th October is national coming out day. We celebrate coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender queer and more (LGBTQ+) and the fact that coming out still greatly matters today in society. However, you should never force yourself to come out. Only do so when you feel comfortable and when you are ready. Never be pushed by anyone to come out, also don’t feel you have to come out just because it is National Coming Out day because every day is coming out day. YOU CAN COME OUT WHENEVER YOU WANT.
To celebrate this day, I tell my coming out story:
I am only 18 I came out as lesbian 4 years ago. I was 14! Some may think that is far too young to think about your sexuality, but that was when I knew and that was when I was ready. I was never into “girly” toys or activities as a young child. I never liked dolls, or painting my nails, doing my hair, wearing skirts or dresses. I was into sports especially football, action, ninja turtles, getting muddy and typical boy things. I wore joggers all the time and hated every aspect of wearing make-up and getting all dressed up. I guess you could say I was a tomboy and that’s what I thought I was. A girl, who enjoys activities normally associated with boys.
But come high school I still liked all those tomboy things however I tried to hide it from everyone. I began to realise that people in high school didn’t want to be friends with girls who liked wearing boys’ clothes, sports or what happened at that football match at the weekend. So I struggled a bit trying to fit in and lied to myself that I also didn’t like those things I had enjoyed for the past 14 years. I tried to fit in. I pretended to like boy bands, watched reality shows and gossiped about boys, just like everyone else. I even went out with a few guys just to try to fit in.
Until one day in our soc ed class we were made to watch a film called FIT. The film looks at gay and straight love among some high schoolers, where homophobic attitudes are revealed by the students taking Drama and Dance. At the time I didn’t know a lot about the whole LGBT+ culture, so I did some online reading to try and understand. This was when I knew. I wasn’t straight. Everything made sense. I was GAY! I just knew.
After discovering myself I came out to my group of friends simply just by stating in a group chat on Facebook that i was gay. They were all accepting, mainly because there was already a girl in the group who had come out (let’s call her EM, just for this story) which made it easier for me. A few months later I started dating EM and I was worried about the whole school finding out i was gay as I’d only told my group of friends. I remember EM at the time panicking about people judging me so she went to our guidance teacher and told her everything about my situation. I was then approached by my guidance teacher and was told I needed to tell my parents. I thought to myself I couldn’t, so I kept putting it off and off until I finally grew a pair and did it.
I wrote a note to my mum explaining that I was gay and I had a girlfriend at the time. I left the note under the lid of her laptop before school knowing she would see it at some point in the day. That whole day I was a nervous wreck. I was too scared to look at my phone, expecting a text and was on edge until I got home. I walked in the door now in tears of fear and my mum was waiting. She saw me crying, so she started crying and we just cried for a good hour and talked about it telling me that it was okay and that she still loved me as nothing had changed. And that was it. Although a few weeks later I broke up with EM which was quite messy. But, that’s a story for another day.
One thing I’ve noticed from identifying as gay is that coming out is not a one off event. You do it time and time again. It’s never over which is hard to think about. You just need to learn from each experience and hopefully it will get easier. Don’t feel you have to do it. Come out in your own time or don’t do it at all if you don’t feel you want to. Coming out it still important and that is what needs to be recognised!