Wed. May 18th, 2022

By Brooke Z., 17, Staff Writer

October 8, 2021

“Wait, aren’t you upright?” I still get this question a lot, even from friends who have known me for years. When I first started questioning my sexual orientation, it was deeply personal and a little scary. The idea of ​​trying to find out one’s sexual identity seemed predominant, especially at the age of 12.

Even when I thought I’d find out, I still haven’t come out. Getting out can be difficult, even if you know your friends and family will be helpful. It requires that you share some of your most vulnerable parts with others.

Therefore, there must be a day like October 11, which is National Coming Out Day.

A day to celebrate coming out

National Coming Out Day celebrates the spirit that is necessary to become yourself, including your sexual orientation and gender identity. It doesn’t matter if you are out or not, the purpose of the day is to empower you. In addition, it brings visibility and awareness to people with LGBTQ +.

My coming out was not a great fuss where I used to sit with all my friends to announce. In fact, the only person I knew for years was my sister. It took me a long time to feel comfortable in front of others around me.

Until recently, I struggled to share my sexual identity with an extended family. Most of them live in places where the culture is very different from my home on the outskirts of New Jersey. Many times, I felt unsure how to talk to them about things like sexual orientation. When I finally chose to visit them, I felt more confident in myself and in my ability to communicate with them. To my surprise, most of them were accepting more than I expected.

It’s okay not to come out

Coming out is considered for you. Some people do not feel safe going out because of family or community issues. For example, living in a family that may be more conservative on some issues, I hesitated for a long time before deciding to move out. My mother reassured me that she was OK.

Others just don’t feel ready. Either way, that’s fine! People who come under the LGBTQ + umbrella come from a variety of backgrounds, and individual experiences vary. Getting out looks different for everyone, and the way you choose to get out should make you feel comfortable and safe.

Labels optional

Sexual identity is also fluid, and you don’t have to feel pressured to label yourself if you don’t want to. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out which labels I liked best. Bisexual? Pansexual? However, over time, I have come to realize that I do not need to be identified with any particular label. Identity is personal, and most importantly, do what suits you best.

As a teenager, it’s normal to look for your sexual orientation and gender identity, and you don’t need to find out right away.

So, if you are struggling to decide what is right for you, the best advice I can give is not to force anything. The choice to come out should be made on your own terms, at a time and place that feels right. In addition, there are many incredible resources available to help you discover this, such as GLSEN, the Human Rights Campaign, and The Trevor Project.

Take the time this October 11 to celebrate the power of LGBTQ + youth across the country and around the world. Feel free to wear your Pride Pepper all over the city or not; it’s up to you!

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.