Coming out is a difficult process, but here are tips to make it a little easier.
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7 Things I Have Experienced and Learned After Coming Out For The First Time

Coming out is never easy and is a complicated process.

Marta Branco

Coming out is never easy, with or without support. However, that isn't the hardest part. The hardest part is what comes after. Of course, everyone's different, but the things most LGBTQ+ people experience when coming out are about the same. If you're thinking about coming out or if you are in the process of coming out, I hope this article serves as a guide. If you are already completely out and proud, I hope you reminisce on the struggle you went through and bathe in your newfound happiness, and here are seven things I have personally experienced and learned after coming out for the first time.

It’s not a big deal (depending on your demographic).

With many first-world countries becoming more socially tolerant, expressing one's sexuality isn't a big deal anymore. When I first came out in seventh grade, I was absolutely mortified about how people were going to think of me. One day, I let it slip on the bus. I was so sure the cool and popular kids would gain another thing to mock about me, but they were cool with it. Their response was a neutral "Oh, huh. I didn't know that. Good for you." Then, they continued their daily school gossip. While being Georgian and living in the suburbs, there wasn't a lot of LGBTQ+ hate in my generation; however, this isn't true for everyone. If you live in a very conservative region, you might've faced numerous account of homophobia.

Your sexuality doesn’t reflect your personality.

Personality and sexuality are completely two different things. When I thought I was a lesbian, I went all out: wearing flannels, getting faux piercings, talking about which girls I wanted to bed. I thought I had to act masculine because I liked women, but the truth was, I like dresses, flowers and innocent romance. Flannels are cool, but sundresses and four inch heels are more my style.

Your sexuality isn't a kink.

I have dated a few guys who knew that I was queer. Around this time, I identified myself as a bisexual. Two of these guys asked if I was up for a threesome. Of course, I answered no. I love women, may even more than they do, but if I'm dating someone, I want their romantic and sexual focus to be completely on me. Now, if you are a bisexual or pansexual who is interested in threesomes or orgies, go for it (just remember to always be safe). If you are bisexual or pansexual, people are going to ask you intrusive questions, but you have to learn how to turn them down politely. Just because they didn't extend that courtesy to you doesn't mean you can't be the bigger person.

It’s okay to be questioning/change what you identify as.

Discovering your sexuality is a deep and spiritual process where you truly find out who you are as a person. Some people already know, and others take a little longer to figure out who they are. In that time frame of self-discovery, its okay to try out different labels. When I was young, I thought I was lesbian but was so confused because I also had crushes on boys at school. Then, I discovered what bisexuality was in seventh grade.

It was so revolutionary to me when I found that I didn't have to choose. However, as I entered high school, came across other LGBTQ+ youth and learned about how big the LGBTQ+ community was, I was confused again. I noticed that sometimes, I like guys, and other times, I didn't. From time to time, I liked girls, and other times, I didn't. Once in a while, I liked both, but then there was a time I didn't find anyone romantically or sexually attractive. I researched my situation, and I came across "abrosexuality." Abrosexuality is when one's sexual orientation is fluid or changes between certain sexualites. I was so relieved to found out who I truly was.

There are others like you.

Tying back to my story of finding my perfect label, the more you research, the more you learn about the wide spectrum that is the LGBTQ+ community. When I knew nothing about the community, I was confused and hated myself for liking women. However, I found bisexuality and felt liberated. I searched deeper and found abrosexuality and felt like I belonged. I tormented myself with thoughts like "Stop trying to be special by making up a new sexuality just for yourself," but I discovered there were abrosexuals like me; my mind was put at ease. In middle and high school, I discovered my LGBTQ+ friends, and they helped me feel normal and more comfortable with coming out.

There’s phobia even inside the LGBTQ+ community.

You'd think people who have faced discrimination or self-hate would be more tolerant, but I have learned that wishful thinking was wrong. As an abrosexual, I have faced phobia from my fellow LGBTQ+ peers. I was told by a lesbian friend of mine that I couldn't call myself a lesbian when I felt lesbian. She said that I was stealing from lesbian culture. I didn't understand her standpoint; I felt lesbian, and the label felt natural to me at the time. If I only like women in that specific timeframe, am I not a lesbian? I've also have been told that I was trying to be special by creating a new sexuality for myself. I have become so afraid and exhausted from explaining my sexuality to every person who asks that I just tell them that I'm bisexual. Embracing a title I don't truly identify with and denying my real sexuality is one of the most painful mental tortures I have felt.

You won’t come out just once in your lifetime.

You will come out over a thousand times in your life. The first person you'll ever come out to is yourself. The first actual people you'll come out to are your friends; then, the scariest ones to come out to are your parents. Maybe afterward, you'll come out to your extended families. Finally, for the rest of your life, you'll come to strangers, colleagues and potential future mates. Each time, you'll discover more of yourself, and it'll become easier. The thousandth time, it'll feel like the most natural thing on earth because you've walked a long journey of self-discovery and know who you are now.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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