LGBT Awareness Month: Coming Out Stories

There is really no right or wrong way to reveal your sexuality. No matter if you are straight, gay, transgender, or queer, everyone has their own particular coming out story and unique way of telling it. These next stories will prove to you just that.

The LGBT Foundation, based in Manchester, believes words are a strong support system for the LGBT+ community. Anyone, from around the world, can submit and share their coming out story. These stories have been able to help thousands of people by giving them advice, confidence, and encouragement. Here are just two of the many submitted stories.

Julie, 42.

“I had often thought I was ‘different’ as I was growing up, but being a strict Catholic meant that being gay was not something I could even consider.

So I ignored my feelings and hoped they would go away. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t and when I was 22 and traveling in the U.S. I met a woman who dragged me out of the closet and changed my life forever.

It took me about five years to pluck up the courage to tell my parents I was gay and even then, instead of a face to face conversation, I wrote it all down in a letter because I wanted to be able to say everything I needed to.

It took them about two weeks to get in touch following that letter – it seemed like a lifetime. They asked me to come and visit and sat me down and just said ‘We love you. You’re our daughter and we just want you to be happy. Are you sure this life will make you happy?’

That was 15 years ago and they have seen how fulfilled and happy my life has been. They have completely accepted how I live my life, are open to people about my sexuality and they absolutely adore my partner.”

Adam, 25.

“The way I spoke, walked and behaved just seemed natural to me. I’d always been called names ever since primary school. It made me feel upset and isolated from everyone else.

It wasn’t until we were all about 12 that I realized what that difference was. Everyone else started passing notes in class and going on ‘dates’ in the playground but I was left out again.

Being a teenager is hard for most people. But being ginger, camp and having glasses didn’t exactly help matters either!

They say coming out to yourself is the hardest thing but I disagree. When you just know something in your own head I found it easy to just bury the feelings of shame and difference I felt.

It took until I was 16, I went to the cinema with my friend Sophie and we watched a film about a boy who writes an anonymous article in his school magazine about being gay. In the resulting scandal, he outs himself in assembly.

I wish my flair for the dramatic had been as highly developed. In the end, I just broke down at the end of the film and my friend guessed. I knew once I’d admitted to one person it wouldn’t take long, and once back at school the next time someone asked if I was gay (as happened quite regularly) I would have to say yes. So I did.

I was really pleased I came out at school. I felt it brought the issue ‘out’ into the open and my headmaster was very supportive. Lots of gay boys and girls who come out or are forced out at school are not as lucky.

I didn’t tell my parents until I was 21. I didn’t want to upset or disappoint them as they’d always been so good to me. But in the end, I didn’t have anything to worry about. My then boyfriend was welcome back home at my Dad’s 60th birthday which I will always remember as one of the best days of my life.”

Her Campus is another site that posted a few very inspirational coming out stories. The website interviewed four different college students and got their opinions on what it is like to come out of the closet. No two stories are the same, and each and every story is unique and displays bravery in its own way. Here are two of the four stories to give you a taste of what these coming out stories are all about.

J.E. Reich

“Whenever I am asked about my coming-out story, I am always inclined to pause. No one has just one coming-out story, because every time you meet someone new, you inadvertently come out again.

At 17, I wrote a 10-page e-mail to my father, who was in Europe for work. I cried noiselessly in a computer carrel in the empty school library during lunch period and figured I was signing my own disownment notice.  He wrote this back, ‘Surprised, but not shocked.  Love, Dad.’ Months later, when I told my mother I was gay, she replied, ‘No, you’re not.’

My step-grandmother, who I had somehow forgotten to tell, came out for me. ‘I don’t see why two women can’t get married,’ she said to me out of the blue, when I visited her on a trip I took to Miami.  The warm silence said the rest.

The more and more I come out, the more I grow to be courageous and true. By sharing how I continue to come out, I hope somewhere, someway, someone else will find them and have the strength to come out themselves.”

J.E. Reich is an editor for Medium, a novelist, and contributor for Thought Catalog, The Huffington Post and The Daily Dot. According to Her Campus, she says that “being a writer has given her the opportunity to tell her story again and again. It is part of why she is inspired to keep coming out.”

Angela Stahl

“The summer before my freshman year of high school, I attended a softball camp at the local college (University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point). During the camp, I started to grow close to two girls. I admired them for their skill level; they were way better than I was. As the days grew on, I started to become confused as to whether I felt so frazzled around these girls because they were older than me and I respected and admired their athletic abilities, or if I had a crush on one of them.

Practice for the school softball team started a few weeks later, and I started to grow close to the girls on the team. The majority of my team identified as either bisexual or lesbian. Homosexuality was the norm. As a crush developed for one of the players on my team, I felt the time had come to tell my friends and family that I felt I should identify as bisexual. I told my mom first. Her response, which I will remember forever, was, ‘Whatever makes your peaches tingle.’

My dad jokingly requested that I date more girls so that he wouldn’t have to worry about a teen pregnancy. My girl friends had no problem with my sexuality, and the dynamic didn’t change.

When I told boys, it seemed to break down a barrier in our friendship, and we could bond in more ways now than we could before. If anything, my social status went up, because, at that point in time, my peers viewed bisexuality as, ‘more likely to be open to threesomes,’ which wasn’t actually true. But I was okay with the positive attention at the time.

Once I told all my friends, I felt the need to play the part. I was aiming to be the stereotypical butch. I wore my hair back and stopped wearing makeup and used cologne instead of perfume.

After dating my first girlfriend, Kristen, I became comfortable with my new identity. I came to the realization that I didn’t have to dress or act in any particular way; I just needed to continue to act like myself. My experience was very easy because of all the support I had around me. My school had a large and involved GSA and a permanent transsexual substitute.

Once I got to college, I realized that the term pansexual suited my preference more appropriately. I personally think that labeling myself for my sexuality is strange. However, I understand that everyone does not think the way that I do, and some people need to be able to categorize people in order to understand them. For this reason, I continue to label my sexuality.”

Even though all of these coming out stories are powerful and thought-provoking, the world still isn’t in a place where coming out isn’t necessary. In a perfect world, the LGBT+ community wouldn’t need to come out. In a perfect world, a person’s sexuality doesn’t need to be shared in fear or hope of acceptance. In a perfect world, love is love, and your sexuality isn’t your identity.

Much of the LGBT+ community finds reading or hearing of other people’s coming out stories to be helpful. Many people are able to build up enough confidence to reveal their sexuality just by reading a blog or Twitter post. These people know they are not the only ones that are confused, happy with, or fearful of their own sexuality and fluctuating feelings.

What do you think of these four coming out stories? Tweet us @CelebMix with your thoughts and opinions. To read more coming out stories visit these two sites: Shout! or When I Came Out.

Written by CelebMix