*The author of this piece wishes to remain anonymous.
I felt different than many of my friends growing up. I was never obsessed with finding my Prince Charming, having my first kiss with a boy, or looking at male fashion models in magazines. I did many “Am I Gay?” quizzes on the internet, and pondered this. At the age of 14, I came to the realization that I was simply not attracted to men.
I contemplated this for a while…what does this mean for me? Does this change me? I’m still the same person I was before I admitted this to myself. In fact, maybe some part of me knew this since I was young. I was only five years old, playing house, when I was advocating that two women could be married and mothers!
So, I decided to tell my parents. I knew they would have some advice that might help me through my journey, as I felt uncertain, insecure, and isolated. I had spoken a few times with my mother about questioning my sexuality. I even went as far as to tell her about my (female) crush at school. Yet, I was still unable to fully admit I was gay out loud. I had so much shame and turmoil I couldn’t explain. It was late February of grade nine when I finally sat down with my parents for a conversation I would never forget. It was the first time I said the words: “I am gay.” They told me they were proud of me and loved me regardless of my sexual orientation.
The following day was normal. I went to school, did homework, and sat at the dinner table with my parents and sister for dinner. When we were finished, my Mom brought out a homemade, rainbow cake. In beautiful blue icing, it read, “Out and Proud.” I was taken aback by the kindness and support that they had shown me! The best part was when I cut open the center, sour multicoloured Skittles poured out. I was so excited!
Having a conversation with my mom months later, she told me that it was not only my sexuality that she wanted to celebrate with cake, but the courage I showed by stepping forward and owning my truth. The inner-conflict and self doubt she knew was present had lessened by coming out to them. I am so grateful I am able to wake up every morning, feeling proud of who I am. I hope this story inspires you to believe in and love yourself no matter who you are. Imagine a world where coming out didn’t include shame, but instead self acceptance as the primary emotion.
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