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Experiences

“Coming Out” During the Pandemic: Embracing Who I Am

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I wish I could say that one morning, I just rolled out of bed and realized I’m gay, but that’s definitely not what happened. Embracing my sexuality took nearly an entire pandemic and a whole world shut down (so you know–not what I expected). Being in a lockdown for months pushed me to explore a part of myself that I was running from for a long time. I was finally ready to face the questions, confusion and overthinking involved in coming to terms with my sexuality. 

After years of putting my sexuality on the back burner, the pandemic allowed me to reflect on who I am. It was a very arduous journey to get to that moment where I felt genuinely comfortable with coming out to myself.  

I grew up in a relatively conservative family that expected me to live a “traditional” life and who were at times, homophobic. I’ve always wanted to believe that my parents would love me unconditionally, but there were conditions when it came to their views. Their views made it difficult to question my sexuality during the lockdown because it felt like there was nowhere to go and no one to turn to. 

I began to question my sexuality here and there, but almost every time I thought about my feelings, I immediately felt the need to repress them. I was afraid that the people I loved the most wouldn’t accept me.   

And then there was the overthinking: what will my future look like if I marry a woman? I’ve never seen two women married in real life. What will people think of me if I want to start a family? I’ve never seen two women raise children together. What if I’m not attracted to women because I don’t look gay enough? I grew up thinking all queer women had to be masculine, but my style is more feminine.  

Working through the complicated process of figuring out who I am was exhausting. It occupied my mind throughout the day and kept me awake at night. It took a heavy toll on my mental health, but it got better. 

Maybe it was Izzie in Netlifx’s Atypical or maybe it was Sarah Paulson in Ratched. The more I dared to immerse myself in queer culture and educate myself about the LGBTQ2+ community, the more comfortable I became accepting my sexuality. 

When I eventually came out to myself and slowly began to tell family and friends, it brought me a sense of joy and relief. It was the most illuminating experience of my life. I’m thankful that the pandemic allowed me to work on one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with in my life. Being free to be my authentic self has set my soul on fire. 

Ashley Barry

Wilfrid Laurier '25

Hey hey! I'm a first-year student at Laurier, working towards my BA in English. I'm an avid reader, wine consumer and vinyl record collector. I also enjoy long strolls through the bookstore — always at the expense of my bank account — and attempting to make Pinterest-worthy lattes with my espresso machine. I'm a passionate leader and writer and am ecstatic to be part of Her Campus!
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