I said it on February 13, 2009. I was 17.
I was more nervous than I had ever been in my life. I was shopping at the mall with a very close friend. I don’t remember exactly why I chose that specific time or place to come out, but the pressure of being in the closet for so long was just getting to me. I didn’t like it. I needed someone to know.
As my friend and I walked through the stores, I kept thinking I would just blurt it out and tell her. I actually did start to open my mouth and speak a few times, but I would look for any excuse to not say anything. It felt strange to be on the verge of saying it: what I had thought was wrong for so long and had just recently come to terms with. It was rough letting it out.
Later that night, we had gotten in the car but I hadn’t started it yet. We were just talking. I looked out the window, took a breath, and started to tell her. It took more emotional effort to do that than anything else I’ve done. I don’t know if a straight person could understand how it felt.
I came out as bisexual for a few months before I realized I was gay, but this was enough for me at the time.
My friend had questions, but she didn’t judge me. She wasn’t mad and didn’t make fun of me. She still accepted me as her friend. We talked for a long time, and it was all I wanted. Someone knew.
Once I was alone and driving to my house, I was jubilant. It seems funny now, but being out to even just one person in the entire world felt like all my problems with being gay (or bisexual, as I thought then) were gone. Someone else knew, and didn’t care. It wasn’t a problem. That was what mattered.
That night, I wrote an entry in my journal titled “Friday the 13th was not unlucky at all.” I think that sums the experience up.
The collective experience of coming out during my life has been one of the most emotionally trying experiences I’ve ever had. Of course, now that it’s been several years after that first experience, I come out through general conversation to most people and don’t even think about it. Coming out and being given acceptance, love and respect is an amazing feeling all LGBT people should have every time.
That first time of coming out was such a scary experience. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what it was like to come out. I didn’t know I would be so thrilled about it. I didn’t know it would feel so good to come out and still have a loving friend. It feels good to come out and let people know. It’s the right thing to do for yourself and for the entire gay community.
Note: Coming out can have negative consequences. I always think carefully before making any decision to come out to someone when I’m unsure of how they’ll react.