Gonna get straight to the point, here: I’m gay! Figured out that I liked girls in eighth grade, thought I was bisexual for a few years, recently realized that I have no desire to ever date a guy, went through a three-week identity crisis before coming to the conclusion that I am, in fact, gay. I could write a lot more about all of that, but I want to focus on the actual act of “coming out” and how weird it is.
For the few years I thought I was bisexual, I was almost completely in the closet. But I was in high school, in a small town, and I did not feel ready to tell anyone. I also didn’t feel totally comfortable with that label, for reasons I only realized when I realized I was gay, but again, another story, another time.
Now, a sophomore in college, I felt so behind. In middle and high school, I watched youtubers and celebrities coming out on huge scales. In most of the LGBTQ media I’d seen, kids came out at fifteen, sixteen, seventeen years old. And there I was, closer to twenty than eighteen, and I hadn’t even told my parents yet. My sisters knew, and some close friends, but that was it.
I felt like “coming out” culture had shifted. I imagined the queer community being like, “that is so 2013.” Straight people don’t have to do it, so why should we? It’s 2020, we should be able to just exist, right? But for me, discovering my identity was such an active, immediate struggle. I wasn’t explicitly denying my sexuality, but it was still half hanging over my head, and that kept me from acting on any of those feelings. I couldn’t just “exist” no matter how much I wanted to. It needed to be addressed. I needed to tell people outright.
After deciding that I needed to come out, I was faced with another, equally complicated problem: how did I want to do it? Coming out to my sisters sort of just happened. And I ended up texting it to my close friends (which was a lot easier considering we were all in quarantine and I couldn’t physically see them). But the big one was telling my parents. I tried to do it before I left for school, but being in quarantine I couldn’t really do the text since I was with them 24/7. I tried in-person, a couple times, but the words just wouldn’t come out, no matter how hard I tried to convince myself it’d be fine. I just couldn’t find an opening.
A little over a week after being on campus, and with some encouragement from my sister, I told myself it was now or never and ended up writing them a letter and sending them a picture of it. My mom called me right after, and it went very well, better than I thought. But it hit me how inorganic the entire “coming out” ordeal is. It’s not something that can come up in normal conversation, or something you can casually insert. That’s ultimately what held me back all that time. No matter how lowkey you want it to be, it’ll still be a big deal.
And that’s why I’m writing this. Coming out isn’t one big announcement like it can be for celebrities. You have to tell people again and again. I wish I didn’t have to, because to be honest, it’s not fun. But it feels so, so good afterwards. So I’m going to share this with as many people as I can, because if coming out is going to be a big deal, I’m going big or going home.