Coming Out: Austin Russell

Earlier this week on October 11, many celebrated National Coming Out Day. National Coming Out Day is a day to celebrate members of the LGBTQ community coming out. People all around the country celebrated this day, including students at Western Michigan University. Three students from WMU described their experience with coming out and the positives and negatives that come along with it.   

Austin Russell

Austin, a freshman at WMU, describes his experience with coming out. "I spent my eternity in the closet as best friends with the only other gay male at my high school," says Austin. "I have struggle immensely with my identity and denied it time and time again." 

Austin said he knew since he saw Twilight New Moon. "I was like, 'damn, Jacob is fine as hell,'" Austin laughs. "But the idea of being open about it was a whole different story."

Austin slowly started coming out to his friends the summer after senior year of high school, just before leaving for college. His friends never said anything but apparently always knew. "It's about time," they told him. 

"We have been closer ever since," Austin says. 

"My mom was another story, and she's still in denial to this day." Austin told his mom in April of this year and he says that she's still holding onto the hope that it's just a phase. But he also says that his mom has always truly known what his sexual identity is. 

"That being said, my mother is still my best friend and always will be and I cannot expect her to be okay with it right away." 

Austin says that it's definitely a long process full of "sleepless nights" and "denial" but that he has no regrets in his decision to come out. 

"I love my life, I love my community and I love being free and open." 

Austin Russell (left)

Johanna is the campus correspondent for the WMU chapter and a senior at Western Michigan University. She is studying journalism and political science. She hopes to spend her life writing and influencing the world around her with her words. A member of the Western Michigan University Marching Band, Johanna has been in love with music for as long as she can remember and tries to balance out her busy life between writing and playing music. 

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