For someone who is in the LGBT community, coming out is one of the hardest things they will do in their lives. It holds people back from being their true self and makes it so they have to hide parts of their personality. Coming out is very important for people because it leads to more of society accepting the community. I wanted to share my coming out story because it has led me to where I am today, which has made me an overall happy human being.

When I was a kid, the word "gay" was not really mentioned in my house. It was never discussed as something that was wrong or taboo. I did not even see it being discussed much on television. It was the late 90's and early 2000's so LGBT people had little representation in the media.

I had always known that I was gay. There was no moment of realization; I just knew. When boys my age started to develop crushes on girls, I started to notice that I did not. I got crushes on boys and knew that it was not something that people would be completely okay with.

Around the time I was in 3rd grade, people started to use gay as an insult, so I assumed that it was something that was not going to be accepted with open arms. Throughout middle and some of high school, I hid it the best I could and had no plan to tell anyone. When friends would ask me if I had a girlfriend, I would just say I didn't like anyone at the time or just make up a fake story. It began to eat me up inside. I hid parts of my personality that I thought would out me to everyone. I would assume some things would come off as flamboyant and change the way I acted around others. I had a big fear that people would see through my big lie and out me to everyone else. I would hang out with mostly females because I felt more comfortable with them. I had no plans to come out even though I had accepted it in my head. It was still something that was always on my mind.

During the second semester of my sophomore year, I started to get closer to my friend, Becky (I change names so they don't feel called out.) Her boyfriend began to feel jealous of us hanging out. I then saw this as an opportunity to tell everyone the truth. I texted my now best friend, Micaela, and told her the truth. She was incredibly happy about the news and was very accepting. Telling my parents was the hardest thing I was ever going to do. When I told my mom, she reacted in a neutral way, with a lot of questions. She also asked to keep it a secret from everyone in our family, which was hurtful but I understood. My father slowly found out, and we still do not talk about it to this day. I think the rest of my family knows but does not talk about it. Coming out has still made me a happier person. It has lead me to make the decisions that I have made so far in life and also has led me to meet amazing friends during the past years.