Everyone's coming out story is different. For some, it was as easy as having a 5-minute conversation with their family. For others, it has been like climbing a mountain barefoot. And while some coming out stories are cocoa-like bitter, they can turn into sweet chocolates when we share them.
Here are some of these coming out for the first time experiences.
“I was 19.
Tuesday afternoon, October. I was on the way to college. Sweat was dripping down my back as I stood outside the black iron gates of Mary Immaculate College in Limerick.
My mum rang me and asked me, “are you gay?” It was as easy as that. Her simple question did all the hard work for me. She would later out me to my sister in Australia, my grandmother, grandfather, aunties, best friends and the local parish before I was even home from college that weekend.
At the time, I was furious. I felt it was my story to tell. But now it’s a funny story to speak on the first date over a pint or two.” – Dave
“I was 16 and in love for the first time.
I was scared of my feelings. Thankfully, my crush confessed her love for me. I expressed my feelings for her as well. We decided to be girlfriends but took it really slow.
We would kiss goodbye secretly in the girls’ bathroom after school. We spent the whole summer together. When it was almost time to go back to school, we decided to be open about our relationship.
Unfortunately, she was also putting a lot of pressure on me to come out to my parents. I did tell my parents eventually, but not because I was ready. I was scared of losing her if I didn’t.
My friends at school seemed to take it quite well. Even though it was a shock for them, they were very accepting. My parents took it harshly. My mother cried a lot and told me a lot of hurtful things. My father told me as long as I am happy, he is happy. I don't know how other family members (aunts, grandma, cousin) took it.
To this day (I’m 20 now), my parents still vocalise their wish to get married to a man.” – Yasmine firstname.lastname@example.org
I had already come out to my friends for two years when my mother found out I was on a trip with my boyfriend.
I was 22. I had just returned to my parents' home from my studies—time to reorganise and move on. After the trip with my boyfriend, my mother needed to speak—she figured out we were together through Facebook.
I had to fight with my mother and father for almost a year. I went to the army to let everyone breathe out of this weird unending situation. I’m 27 now, and my family still can’t accept that I’m gay. It might be a tough situation for us, but I would never take it back. I hated living with lies, and the freedom that I enjoy now tastes good. My only advice to anyone thinking of coming out is to come out only when they feel safe. Most of the time, things get better. – @tazbones on Instagram
“A whole night on the phone with my close high school friend.
A telephone conversation that lasted more than 4 hours. So relaxing. What a relief that someone now knew how I was feeling and what my real identity was…” email@example.com
“I’m assuming by “coming out” you mean the first time and first-person one has come out to? Because we all come out more than once in our lifetime – it’s an ongoing process for ourselves and others. So if you mean first time to another person, then here is the story.
I was watching an episode of Phil Donahue with my mother. I was ten years old. The show focused on bisexual people, and I was baffled. I was aware and close to people who were gay and lesbian but did not know anything about bisexuality.
I asked my mom how this was possible, and she said, “What is so hard to understand? I have told you your whole life that you can love anyone regardless of their religion, skin colour, etc. And this is no different. Bisexuality is loving people for who they are and not what they are, and it is beautiful.”
And just like that, I had a word to describe how I had always felt. So I told her I was bisexual. It was a life-defining and beautiful moment.” – Markie Twist. @Dr_Markie_Twist
“I was 15 to 17 in the 1970s.
My parents took it badly but came around. School was my nightmare.
I’ve always been out at work. I was just who I was. I might have held back in environments I knew weren’t safe, such as my high school at the time, but no regrets.
Come out in your own time on your terms. It’s about you and your expression of who you are.” – Brian Madigan GayIfa.com
“I came out many years ago, and my friends were supportive, but my family were not.
Coming out does not destroy your family relationships. These relationships will sour anyway if you do not come out because they will not be based on truth.
Coming out is not a once and for all experience. You will keep doing it continually” – john firstname.lastname@example.org
“I came out at 14.
I was with my girlfriend for two months. I felt so much pressure and stress because I hid it from my parents for so long. I thought I had to speak myself out.
I spoke about it to my best friends immediately because I didn’t want to hide it. I felt so happy. Everyone had a positive attitude towards it. Even though my father was colder than my mother, they were okay with it.
I would recommend waiting for the moment that feels right. Speak up firstly to the people you know will be okay with it; have a safe space if it doesn’t go well with your family, for example. Also, try to understand that your family or friends need to process it.” – Ludi
Everyone's coming out story is different. And there's something to be learned from every experience.