October 11th is National Coming Out Day, a day of recognition, awareness and celebration of the act of publicly and privately coming out as member of the LBTGTQ+ community. As a means of activism and advocacy, the holiday also serves to fight homophobia, transphobia, and other social stigmas associated with the LGBTQ+ community.
When we post a coming out story of an actor, sports personality, or star, there are 4 comments that are the most popular
- Who? – This just shows that someone doesn’t know how to Google or even read the post in the first place.
- Congrats! – Yes, congrats are in order for taking that step and being true to yourself.
- I can’t wait until people don’t have to come out anymore! – Yes, we agree, but even though it is 2019, coming out is still a step that many need to make.
- Why can’t you report on normal people coming out. Why is it just stars? – Well, that’s a good point! (but who is normal these days?)
To address the 4th point, I thought it would be interesting to ask our contributing writers about their coming out and have them share their stories with our readers. So to pregame for October 11th, tomorrow, National Coming Out Day, here are some of those stories. Can you relate?
Corey Andrew – I Was Never Really In
When I look back on when I “came out,” it’s a bit of a blur because, apparently, I really was never in. I was lucky in some ways that my mother wanted me to have all the opportunities she did not, so she encouraged me to participate in the arts and sports. I was terrible in sports, though I loved the matching uniforms and accessorizing fabulous leather belts and watches to coordinate with my brown catcher’s mitt. That should have been a gay giveaway right there.
I guess I always knew I was gay since I was 5, but of course, there’s no sexual context at that age. I just knew something was different. Luckily my reputation as a song and dance man gained me friends who were accepting of my so-called flamboyance, even in a town that could often be close-minded to those who were different.
By Junior High School, though, I was so lucky to have an army of badass girls I had grown up with who were like dear sisters to me, and I felt ultimately these would be the first people ever I would come out to.
Finally, around the 8th grade, it was time for me to articulate to these friends the truth about who I really was. I began with Karen, my funny classmate who could make me laugh like no other, and Nicole, a gorgeous girl who reminded me of Vanessa Williams. Karen came from a religious -Baptist family, and though she seemed like she’d be totally accepting, when “God” is in the mix, you never know how it’s gonna go.
Still, I mustered up the courage at lunchtime, and I said to her, “Karen, there’s something I have to tell you …. (dramatic pause) I’m gay,” to which she replied, “IT’S ABOUT TIME! BOY, I ALREADY KNEW!
Nicole’s response was nearly verbatim the same as Karen’s, and that response would be echoed by everyone I’d tell after that. That’s why I began this story with the reflection that at the time, I may have thought I was “coming out,” but it’s funny mostly everyone confirmed they already knew anyway, I had only provided the confirmation. Worst kept secret EVER!
Mickey Keating – Coming Out More Than Once
I feel like I have a few different versions of coming out stories. I mean, it’s pretty common that we all come out more than once.
Devin Randall – Drowning in Anxiety and Fear
For me, I got lucky. My coming out was met with overall approval and acceptance. When I was around 14, I first came out to two friends. I had just recently moved, so I told them over text. I felt this weight in my chest and I still remember drowning in anxiety and fear. Arm hairs extended, breath racing, and tears welling. It was one of the most vulnerable moments of my life.
After that, I came out online. I had seen a former classmate come out as a lesbian, so I thought, “Why not do that?” So I wrote something like, “I’m gay” on Facebook. Minutes later, my mother came into my room and asked, “Does that mean I can hook you up with cute boys?” (Still waiting on that, mom).
Most of my old friends took it in stride such as saying, “I knew it.” But my cousins and close family members were weirded out by the public announcement. My aunt, who’s out herself, even took me aside to say that’s not the way to do it. This was in the late 2000s, so coming out wasn’t as every day and showy as it is now. While I was put off at the time, I now understand where they were coming from. But I don’t regret it. I cringe a little, but I don’t regret it.
Steve Hinkle – He Just Can’t Sleep Over
So if you feel like sharing your story below, or on our Instinct Magazine Facebook page, or in our Facebook group Our Gay Life, we’d love to hear it and you never know, you may inspire someone be true with themselves and others.