Dear Gay Bestie

Dear Gay Bestie,

 

Let me just start off by saying that I miss you like crazy! I hope you’re doing well because you sure look happy in all the pictures you’ve been posting.

 

In honor of National Coming Out Day this October 11th, I wanted to take a moment to not only appreciate the courage you had to come out to your family and friends (like me), but also to appreciate your coming out story.

 

When I first met you way back in seventh grade (OMG the baby days), you were very shy and hard to get to know. You definitely had a lot of walls up; but once you let me in, becoming your friend was one of the best moments of my life.

 

It wasn’t until you came out to our friend group and your family during our senior year when you really came out of your shell (no pun intended). I have never seen you this happy before, and it makes me so proud to call you one of my best friends because you are enjoying life and living it to the absolute fullest.

 

You embraced who you are as well as your sexuality, despite knowing (and not knowing) all the challenges that will lie ahead, and I cannot begin to tell you how much I admire you for that.

 

I’m curious, when did you know that you were gay? Was there a definitive moment, or was it more of an understanding that took place over the course of a prolonged period of time? Was there ever a moment when you questioned yourself with this understanding? Did you turn to things like journaling or listening to music to help you solidify your understanding or to motivate you to push forward? What were the sorts of things you were thinking about when you decided to come out? What did it feel like to finally be free of those walls that had been constricting your voice before?

 

I’ll be honest, you were the first person to ever bring attention to the fact that gays and lesbians, unlike straights, are essentially socially obligated to “come out of the closet” and proclaim their sexuality to the world. Being straight, in a way, has been deemed as the social “norm” today, and I’m sorry that you will be expected to explain yourself to others because you don’t fit that societal “norm.”

 

However, you are one of the strongest—and sweetest—people I know, and that’s why I want you to pour your heart out about your story and show my readers how fulfilling life can be once those walls are taken down.

 

Most importantly, don’t ever let someone tell you that you are not worthy of love because you don’t fit the mold we’re supposed to maintain as females. At the end of the day, we all only get one life to live, so we might as well live it in pure happiness!

 

Love and miss you,

H

 

 

Dear Straight Bestie,

 

I’m gay. When I was first beginning to realize that about myself, I couldn’t even speak those words aloud because every time that I would try, I felt like I was choking. From a young age, we are essentially given a guide that we are told to live by. In this guide, a girl meets a boy and they fall madly in love, get married, have a family, and live happily ever after.

 

When I was growing up I thought that one day I would find a boy, maybe fall in love with him, and then just kind of live my life the way they do in the movies. This is what I was told I should want. But I didn't want that... My friends growing up were boy-crazy (especially you)! They would talk about boys for hours on end, and I just couldn't relate. At the time, I didn't think much of this because I was pretty focused on schoolwork. When I was young, it was never an option to be gay. This is due to heteronormative influences in society which lead the vast majority of people to assume that they themself, as well as everyone around them, is straight. This is not the case.

 

I started to question my sexuality at the start of high school. I would hear the way my closest friends (all of whom are girls) would talk about guys, and I didn't feel that way in the slightest. That changed when I met her. Let's just say she was the first girl I had feelings for; it was kind of like a lightbulb being turned on for the first time. I quickly realized that my feelings for her were more than just wanting to be her friend. I never told her or anyone else about her because I was terrified at the possibility that if I admitted to liking her that I wouldn't be normal.

 

For a long time, I felt very isolated. I couldn't talk to anyone because nobody knew my biggest secret. I was alone and afraid for two years before I was able to begin the process of coming out. The first person that I told was my aunt over FaceTime. I cried a lot more than I would ever admit to, but I also felt a profound weight lifted from my shoulders. This was in the fall of my senior year of high school. Shortly after, I told my best friend, my brother, and a few close friends. A few months after telling only a handful of people, I knew it was time to tell my parents. It was terrifying for reasons you may not think. I knew they would support me because they are pretty open-minded. But I was still terrified to tell them.

 

In my experience, the scariest part of coming out is not whether they will accept you... it is the reality that they will most likely treat you differently. For better or for worse, coming out changes your relationships with the important people in your life. For me, almost all of my experiences in coming out have been positive and have allowed me to be more open and live my truth. But not everyone is so lucky.

 

Since coming out, I feel as though I do not have to hide something that is an important aspect of my identity. I can love freely and be who I truly am. I am one of the lucky ones because all of my closest friends and family love and accept me for who I am.

 

In the last year, I have moved to a different country, started university, and  most notably, I have fallen madly in love with a girl that I am lucky enough to call mine. I want everyone to be able to experience the kind of love that I am lucky enough to have found in her, because loving her has undoubtedly changed my life for the better.

 

It is of the utmost importance that you live your truth and that you allow others to do so as well. Coming out is terrifying and requires a profound amount of vulnerability and trust to do so. Love will always be stronger than hate. Work to adjust your frame of mind to be more inclusive: not everyone is straight! There are so many expectations in society. If I could change that, I would tell everyone to love unapologetically, stay safe, and be yourself. You don't need to wear a rainbow cape to be a good ally of the LGBTQ+ community; all you need to do is understand that we are all human and we all deserve to love and to be loved. Your support can save lives because I know it saved mine.

 

-M

 

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