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October 11th is National Coming Out Day. This is something I have known for a few years now, but I never had the courage in past years to talk about myself in the LGBTQ+ community. I have known my place in the community since I was fifteen years old, and I officially came out to my family and friends this past June. I was so proud of myself when I made the move to speak my truth.

Ever since I came out to my loved ones, I have felt free. I don’t feel like I have to hide anymore. There’s something that lifts off your chest when you can finally be yourself without judgement. When I was able to say “Hey, I’m pansexual, and I’m proud to be this way”, I knew that this was one of the best moments of my life.

But coming out isn’t easy for everyone. Sometimes, it’s not even possible when they are surrounded by people who won’t accept them for who they are. This day can be difficult and intimidating for many individuals in the LGBTQ+ community. So, I am writing this article in hopes that maybe whoever is reading this will be just as supportive for others as the people in my life.

Listen

If someone wants to come out to you, listen. Please don’t talk over them or be distracted. This individual could be terrified with how vulnerable they are being. Be sure to pay attention. This is an important moment in their life, and you are getting to be there for them.

Get Rid of Judgement

I cannot stress this one enough. Leave the judgement behind. If you have questions because you are curious, then just ask them if they are open to questions. I know personally that I am more than willing to answer questions about my sexuality or the LGBTQ+ community, but stop putting judgement in front of learning and acceptance. You don’t have to completely understand at first, but you have a choice. You can practice blind ignorance, which results in losing a friend or family member, or you can put the bias aside and be open.

Support

Remember, this individual is vulnerable and possibly terrified. They need reassurance that you are going to support them. Please help them out by defending them and supporting them. Validate their existence and give them hope. This world isn’t completely hateful to the LGBTQ+ community. Be part of the love.

Coming Out day is a great day for some, but terrifying for others. Please… be the light for people instead of killing the hope.

Carli Christenson

Bowling Green '23

My name is Carli Christenson. I'm a third year student studying Visual Communications Technology for a specialization in photography and print. I'm an absolute nerd, and I adore musical theater. I'm also part of the LGBT+ community!
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