Today is national coming out day. A day to commemorate the bravery it takes to admit to the world who you truly are and reassure those who have not taken the step that they can take their time and the journey is their own. Coming out is scary to pretty much everyone, for a multitude of reasons. Some fear being rejected by their parents, others fear losing friends, some are scared of experimenting with their sexuality and so many more. But, arguably one of the hardest parts of coming out is knowing what to come out as.
The LGBTQ+ community has become a place for self-expression and inclusivity, with many genders and sexualities now gradually being recognised. However, when people hear the term “coming out”, one instantly assumes as gay. So many other identifications are easily neglected and forgotten about. Unfortunately, many of the newly recognised identifications are receiving greater stigma in mainstream society than being homosexual.
So, let’s talk about coming out as queer instead. Identifying as queer can mean many things, and that’s the beauty of it. I identify as queer as I am not only sexually attracted to men but I like to play around with the binary a little too. There’s more to me than simply being gay, being queer seems to rid me of some stereotypes, I can now create my own identity without feeling the need to conform to literally anything.
When struggling with your identity, what a lot of people don’t realise is that it’s a journey. Discovering who you are is not a destination, it is a continual journey that will never end. Our personalities, interests and wider identities are constantly evolving and changing. That’s why it’s so hard when we first start to doubt our societal conformity as we are just starting the journey, but it doesn’t end when you come out. Coming out is a choice, being who you are is not. You are born to be you. But when you decide to present your true authentic self to the world, is completely up to you. One day we won’t have to come out and it will simply be the mainstream to just be who you are with no judgment.
Here’s the hard part, this post will be completely subjective. Some people will read this and relate completely and feel proud of who they are, are authentically themselves and may even share this without shame. There may be others who are reading this on a private browser with complete confusion and frustration. There may also be others that are reading this with a heavy heart knowing that their rights are not even remotely close to those in western society. This is why coming out day is so important. We are bringing awareness not only to the bravery of those that have presented themselves to the world exactly as they are. But we are also bringing awareness to those that have not had the privilege of a comfortable coming out experience.
Now, here’s for a bit of advice:
It’s Your Choice - Don’t ever feel pressured to make a decision that you’re not comfortable with. You can come out when you’re good and ready, and you’re no less a part of the community by not expressing yourself yet. Take your time.
Experiment, But Don’t Use - Experimenting is fine, it’s all part of the process. There are many people that question their sexuality and end up being wrong. So, if you’re questioning then go ahead. But, don’t let people get hurt in the process. Make sure the other person is fully aware of what the situation is. Also, do not lie to yourself about who you are and stay with someone because you’re scared. This may seem like the easy option, but it will end up being unfair on the other person. As my best friend once said to me “Don’t lie to yourself about being sexuality attracted to someone. Everyone in a relationship deserves to feel like the most beautiful person in the world and nothing less”.
Feel Free to Ask - People within the queer community will be more than happy to answer your questions. I’ve had people approach me to simply ask me about my experiences and my journey development. It’s ok to ask, we’ve all been through it so most people will be more than happy to help.
Being Scared Is Ok - This is completely understandable. The majority of people that come out are completely petrified of the idea, so know that it’s normal to be scared. The best way to calm this fear is to listen to other people’s experiences. There are many bloggers and YouTubers that have shared their coming out stories online and now show how much happier their life is. This can instil some hope in you for the future.
I’ve also shared my coming out experience on YouTube and you can click the link below to watch it! I hope that this has been of some help to you. Just know that you are loved and that you are valued.
You’re perfect as you are