Coming out is a process. Some people come out all at once to everyone they know. Some people never come out. But most people come out several times, to everyone, one by one. Below are some of my coming-out stories.
“Well It Took You Long Enough”
I remember when I came out to my Dad. I was so nervous and decided to do it via letter because I’m a better writer than orator (despite my years in Speech and Debate). So, I wrote him a lengthy one, and sat him down at the kitchen table and watched him read it. As soon as he was done, he said “Well, it took you long enough.” Then went on to tell me how he knew I was gay ever since Little League when I was five. I was picking flowers, and a ball came out to right field. I didn’t notice though, because the dandelions were in bloom. He then told me that he would always love, and that he was proud of me. I was almost 19 when I came back and probably could have come out sooner. But am so thankful for my Dad’s unrelenting accepting and unconditional love.
“Bi Now, Gay Later”
My newspaper adviser from high school was one of the first people I came out to, ever. But I didn’t do it all the way. Like many gay people, I decided to say that I was bi. Once I told her that, my newspaper adviser said to me “bi now, gay later.” She was right.
Out At Work
I was pretty nervous coming out at the library I used to work at. I was about 19 at the time, had worked there for two years and knew that legally, gays are not protected under non-discrimination employment laws. The city I worked for at the time didn’t explicitly include LGBT people in their non-discrimination policy either. (I’m not sure if they have since added it.) Being as nervous as I was, I quickly joined our union, SEIU, to protect myself should I need it. I also didn’t take the decision to come out to my work lightly. I had come out to a few coworkers, granted, but not everyone. And I’m not sure I would have come out at work, if I hadn’t been asked. You see, our teen library programmer asked me to. There was a Teen Leadership Conference, and I was still a teen. And they needed someone who was gay to speak on their diversity panel. I wanted to say “No” since I wasn’t ready. But then I thought about the LGBT teens, who are often so scare of coming out, they won’t. I wanted to let each teen who attended that conference know that it’s okay to be scared, and it’s okay to unsure, but it’s not okay to feel less than. And it’s not okay not-being yourself. So I came out not only to my work, but to a room full of about 100 teens. I was so scared of getting in trouble at work, but instead of getting in trouble at work, I got an award by my fabulous boss.