October 11, 2015 is National Coming Out Day. National Coming Out Day is a day to celebrate those who have come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer or for those who haven’t come out yet and need to encouragement to continue to have the strength to be who they truly are, maybe giving them enough bravery to come out on this day.
The LGBTQ community has experienced violence, sexual assaults, oppression, and even murder simply because they of who they are. Coming out is a huge decision that could potentially change someone’s life forever and it isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly.
Three years ago, I came out to my mom and it was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. I remember thinking what if she kicks me out? What if she doesn’t love me anymore? What if she thinks I’m so disgusting that she can’t even look at me anymore?
I thought these things because of what was happening to gay people all over the world in the media. People were getting abused physically and sexually, kicked out of their own homes, and even murdered.
I was petrified at the thought of any of that happening to me. One of my friends came out to his parents as transgender and they kicked him out, taking away his phone, his car, and basically everything he had. He had to grow up very quickly, getting a job and finding a place to stay. 40 percent of homeless youth are part of the LGBTQ community. I thought to myself if he was turned away by his parents, completely abandoned by the people who were supposed to love him the most, how do I know my parents won’t do the same?
I realized after three years of holding in this secret, that it was tearing me apart inside, and I had to tell my mom. I felt that it was unfair of me to keep this from her, to not allow her to support me in a way that I really needed at the time.
“I told her as we were waiting at a stop light, just blurted it out and she laughed and told me that she already knew.”
She told me that she loved me and that it doesn’t change anything, and she was right. I was one of the lucky ones, to have supportive parents who didn’t care who I loved or how I loved. I’m grateful every day for the way the allow me to by myself, to talk to them about my love life and have them not feel uncomfortable or have me feel uncomfortable. Love should be unconditional and unfortunately not everyone is built or mature enough to feel the same.
Being gay is not accepted in most parts of the country, although there has been amazing progression on the topic, with gay marriage becoming legal in 37 states. There is still so much progress that needs to be done and so much acceptance that needs to occur for the LGBTQ community to truly feel normal in society. National coming out day is a day that should be celebrated but not to be taken lightly.
Come out when you want to and when you feel is safe and right for you.