Coming out is not an easy task at all. On top of it being extremely difficult, you do not just come out once and then bam you are good for life. In my experience, I have to come out just about every day. Whether it is to people on the internet or family members and friends, it can be a traumatic experience.
People who do not have to go through coming out might not get what the big deal is, especially because being straight and cisgender are assumed from birth. However, a lot of kids are not straight and or cisgender. Our first coming out story comes from that girl in in the “sausage” video.
I knew I liked girls for a solid year before I told anyone, but I was worried about how I would be received by my classmates and family. I thought the best way to come out would be to slip the fact that I am bisexual into everyday conversation and downplay it. So I told a couple of my close friends about my crush on this one girl and they all were very gracious and took it in stride. They began helping me flirt and drop hints to her and such. Ultimately it didn't turn into anything. That fall I ended up falling for a new girl at my school who I'd become friends with. I slipped it into conversation with my mum, mentioning we had "mutual feelings." She got this sort of grimace on her face for a second but then smiled at me and said, "Well, I wouldn't worry about forcing yourself into anything." I told her I wasn't and she said, "I just feel like young girls these days are taught that there isn't such thing as strong friendships, and I don't want you to feel like you should make these decisions right now." Then to come out to my school, I was in the sausage video and I stated, “I like girls, can i still take the sausage?”
The next three stories all come from SUNY Delhi students. Leanne, Andi and Zie, AKA supergirl. I hope that through these stories I can help people understand how difficult it can be to come out.
In seventh grade I came out as bisexual to my "friends" and then they told the whole school. When I walked in the hallways everyone would jump out of my way and I was made fun of by these "friends." During this time I was dating a girl long distance and that just added to the bullying. Then in eleventh grade I came out as lesbian to my friends at the time and they were supportive and I was so happy to have them. I was afraid another middle school situation was going to happen, but thankfully it did not. In senior year, I came out to my dad's side of the family. It was at a family BBQ. I sat with each one of my family members individually and told them. I decided to tell my dad and his side of the family because I felt like I was not myself, as if I was hiding behind a facade and people started wondering why my relationships were not working out with guys. Everyone on my dad’s side was supportive, and I found out my cousin was gay too. I have yet to come out to my mom because she is a little bit tougher to get through to. My dad told me if I wanted help coming out to my mom he would help, but I haven't had the guts to do it yet and I can never find the right time.
Andi is up next, and there is a common theme between the beginning of her story and Leanne’s story, one in which many LGBT members use as a sort of stepping stone to their true identity.
I had known I liked girls all my life and one day I could not take it anymore so I decided to to come out. When I first came out, I came out to my parents as bisexual. They told me not to tell anyone! Eventually, with a little more self discovery (and supportive friends) I realized that I am a lesbian. This made it so I had to re-come out to my family. Now that I identify as lesbian, my mom is much more comfortable with it. When i told my biological father he said, “as long as you are happy." However, when I told my step dad he said he wanted nothing to do with it.
And finally we have my story. On campus they call me supergirl but my name is Zie. I have been struggling with my identity all my life. In middle school after my parents divorced I got teased relentlessly about whether I like girls. I got asked daily on the bus if I was bisexual or a lesbian. I would get super defensive and claim that I do not like girls. Looking back, I wish I had not gotten so defensive. I thought it was wrong to like girls, so the thought of liking them never even crossed my mind. Then the summer before my junior year I started questioning myself. It was tough -- I hated myself at first, but slowly came to terms with it. That is when I came out to someone I thought was my friend. She then outed me to my entire friend group and although they were accepting, it was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. A year later, after figuring out my sexuality, i figured out I am genderfluid. Once I figured that out it was like a missing puzzle piece that just fit right. Around this time, I found out my mom already knew that I am bi which was a huge weight off my chest. Then recently I was outed at doctor's appointment about my gender. And although my mom is accepting, she still calls me her daughter, uses "she" pronouns and will not call me Zie. All this despite knowing that my pronouns are he/they and I do not like my birth name. But even after going through all that and being constantly misgendered, I am still happy in my own skin.
I hope reading these has made you think twice about how you treat others because you never know who is hiding in the closet.