October 11th: Coming Out Day

It’s coming out day, My queer identity is not a huge part of who I am, I am privileged enough that that identity has been safe for me to express since I decided to start coming out my Junior year of high school, and again when I came out as gender fluid, and pansexual much later on in my life. The people in my life do not care, they respect my pronouns even though I am not super strict about it, odds are I won’t correct you, but it’s so nice to have people get them right.

In fact the first time I came out I was at a friends house staying over. I couldn’t keep it in any longer, I told her that I was afraid she would kick me out of the house. She didn't. She was wonderful. She told me “I love you no matter what…in a completely platonic way. She was horrified, I thought it was hilarious. We still laugh about it to this day. I am grateful for that kind of unconditional love, and I have experienced it over and over again.

I told my best friend that I was a lesbian (since then my identity has evolved) who I was 100% sure would be supportive, and nothing would change, in the hallway at school right before first bell. I knew it wouldn’t matter even one bit to her. I did it before first bell so I had an excuse to run. Of course I didn’t have to.

I told my parents and I did get one gentle “are you sure?” and then there was no judgement.

My coming out story is the luckiest they come. Sure, there have been comments every now and then, but they do not hurt, because the people I love do not care about my gender identity or .sexual orientation.

I am privileged in my experience, and so many LGBTQ youth are not as lucky as I have been, they are brave persistent human beings fighting for the rights and safety in their own homes. I can tell you from other life experiences that are not LGBTQ issues that fighting is worth it, it is hard and it is long and sometimes abandonment feels like the absolute end of the road. It isn’t. There is family everywhere. There are people ready to hear you. To lift you up.

To those of you who are out, keep showing the world how awesome you are. For those of you who are out to your friends but can’t be out to your family, hold those friends tight. For those of you who aren’t out yet, there is time, and you can take as much of it as you need. For those of you who are scared, stick around, the world needs you. Reach out for help. Friends, check in on each other, build a network. Learn your history, continue to be bad-ass.

Coming out is not just one thing, it is every new person, every job, it is determining safe spaces.

Coming out is brave