If you're reading this, You've probably gotten to the point where you're ready to have the so-called "dreaded" conversation with a friend or family member. This conversation can be a very difficult and daunting topic to navigate. It will never be an easy thing to do and you have to weigh up multiple options and scenarios which could affect your safety and home environment.
People often feel afraid to come out due to circumstances such as feeling like their friends and family won't support them anymore, being scared of getting bullied by people around them or they get scared of being treated differently than what they did before.
Coming out doesn't always have to be a scary thing, it can be an exciting time to feel the pressure just lift off your shoulders but in reality, most people don't have the chance to feel that way, it could have the opposite effect on them due to people around them and could potentially act different upon knowing.
In this article, I am going to be sharing my coming out story. I hope this article brings you some comfort and makes you feel less alone on this journey.
My coming out story
I came to the realization that I was queer around the age of 12-13 years old. I'd often find myself quite puzzled about why I was attracted to men, as when I was growing up, I was surrounded by people in my town who would often make negative comments about queer people. Being stuck in this environment confused me and I would often find myself questioning my sexuality, just wondering if it was a phase and that it would pass.
I didn't realize I was queer until the age of 15 when I began to develop feelings for this person at school.
During this period, I spent a lot of time with a lot of weight on my shoulders, feeling ashamed and scared of all the what-ifs. At this point in my life, I didn't tell a soul; not even my best friend. This felt awful to me because normally, we would tell and know everything about each other. It felt like I was an outcast during my time at school because there were no openly queer people that I could be friends with or chat with about my situation.
As time went on, I began to find people outside of school by joining LGBTQIA+ groups with people my age and began talking to them. This was a refreshing feeling for me as I finally felt like I belonged somewhere and was accepted for who I am.
It wasn't until I got into my first relationship around the age of 16 that I had to start slowly telling people around me about my sexuality. The first people I told were my friends, and this scared me more than you can imagine, I was worried they were going to drop me as soon as they found out, but they did the exact opposite. They gave me so much love and unconditional support which I’ll never forget. Even to this day, I still have so much love and gratitude for their support during this period in my life.
This is when we reach the scary part, telling my mum. This was the most daunting and gut-wrenching experience I've ever had to go through. This process wasn't easy for me, despite my mum always being open-minded and accepting of people no matter what. I was still terrified because, in my head, I felt like she was going to turn against me after I told her. Gradually I became more confident and built the courage to tell my mum.
When it came to the time to tell my mum, I sat her down and just blurted out the words " I'm gay" as I couldn't handle the pressure of the build-up to the conversation. She didn't take the news well, she got upset and began to deny that I was gay and that I was just "confused" which frustrated me. Things didn't go as well as I thought they would have and t took me months to build back a relationship with my mum as I was so hurt by the things she said during this conversation. It wasn't easy, but as time went on, we gradually built the relationship back up.
Fast forward to now, me and mum have the best relationship with each other than we've ever had before. I tell her everything and she's become my best friend. I often think about the time I came out and think that things could have gone a lot smoother. But it's in the past and I think the whole experience made me grow as a person in some ways as it taught me to face my fears and confront anything head-on.
I hope this article brings you comfort and shows you that everyone's coming out experience is different. It's never going to be an easy process no matter the outcome. You might get scared of what people may think but at end of the day, it's your life and you should do what you think is best for yourself. Don't feel pressured to tell people if you think it will impact your safety or day-to-day life.