The following stories were shared anonymously by AccessCNY staff and participants. They show the amazing variety of coming out stories and celebrate the importance of National Coming Out Day.
Please be aware that these stories reference discrimination and violence.
I was a very depressed and anxious 13 year old and was in therapy. My therapist recommended that I journal as an outlet to work through my feelings. One thing that I was struggling with was sharing with my family that I am gay. Just a few years prior, the murder of Matthew Sheppard was in the news and I had heard of many parents kicking their children out for being gay. I was afraid of losing my family, and of being homeless or worse.
My dad happened to see one of my journal entries that was left up on the family computer. I knew he saw it, but he didn’t say anything until he took me to therapy. He sat down with me and the therapist and said that he knew, that he loved me no matter what, and that we could figure out how to tell my mom together when I was ready. This didn’t cure my depression, but knowing that at least one of my parents loved me no matter what made a huge difference in how I was able to face the world. Being loved unconditionally is the biggest gift my dad could give me as a queer youth.
Story Two- I came out as bisexual in my twenties and was terrified. Logically I had no reason to be- my family and friends have always been accepting and supportive of the LGBT community. But the fear that their kindness wouldn’t extend to me was still there.
I was lucky and my friends and family not only accepted me, but encouraged me to keep learning more about my true self. My partner even accompanied me to Pride this year!
Unfortunately, the love of those around me can’t protect me from the discrimination and hate that the LGBT community still faces. I see an LGBT friendly therapist to help cope when the fear feels like too much.
Story Three- Before I came out to my parents I was consistently seeking advice from my school counselor to help with the anxiety of the process. I was clueless with how I wanted to go about revealing my true self to my parents. My parents are divorced and I have a step mother who tends to lean on the conservative side of society’s issues. I was afraid mostly of revealing my true self to her because she was one of the people in my life who forced me into feminine gender roles. These were the things that I would discuss with my counselor, he would help me navigate those feelings of fear and assisted me with making a plan to come out. The plan we came up with was for me to stay after school a couple days to practice what I was going to say and if my Dad and step mom were not going to accept me what I would do. (I had no fear of my Mom rejecting me because of my sexuality) At the end of the week I would come out to my parents. I was accepted by all of my parents after coming out at 16. Being able to create a plan with my school counselor helped me so much to manage my anxiety about coming out and helped me feel secure being who I was out in the open. It’s important for young LGBTQIA people to realize that they are not alone and who they are as person is valid and beautiful because most of them feel that they are not deserving of taking space up in this world.
Story Four- As a child and young adult, I always knew there, was something different about me but could never quite figure out what it was. Growing up in a small conservative town, being gay wasn’t talked about and there was no acknowledgement of the topic or resources available for people that were questioning their sexuality or identity. After graduating from high school and moving away, I met my first gay friend who provided me a great deal of support and encouragement to be true to myself. Coming out to my family and friends was met with mixed emotions. While most of my family eventually accepted me, some did not. My friends turned their backs and I lost my job when one of my “friends” told my supervisor. I dealt with being called names, bullied, and even subject to gay bashing and violence. All of this has only made me a stronger person and more determined to be a proud gay man and support others that are dealing with a difficult time.