Youth story: My positive message to others about coming out

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If you identify as LGBTQ2S+, you may be thinking about if/when you may come out (if you haven’t already) to people in your life. Learning more about yourself, figuring out how you identify (using the words that feel best for you and your experiences) and making decisions about coming out is completely up to you. The process of coming out is different for everyone — you may choose to come out to yourself only, and that’s OK. You don’t have to come out to anyone unless you want to and you feel safe.

Sometimes, exploring stories from other people who’ve had similar lived experiences can help us feel validated, supported and like we’re not the only ones in the world going through them. It can also help us sort through thoughts and feelings in our own lives (especially when things don’t go as planned). Here, a young person shares their inspiration for coming out and sharing their truth with others.

Kids Help Phone would like to thank the young writer of this story for their contributions to youth mental health and well-being in Canada. Their responses have been edited for length and style. We also want to let you know that we’re committed to protecting this young person’s anonymity / confidentiality. Therefore, gender neutral language has been used in English, while male voice (a common default in French language) has been used in French.

Who did you come out to?

“I came out to a few people, but for me my aunt was the most important. She’s my legal guardian. I’m bi (bisexual), and my aunt was completely cool with it. I actually decided to come out to her after getting support from Kids Help Phone and many other helpful sites.”

Did you talk to anyone before coming out?

“I didn’t really talk to anyone technically. I asked a friend who already knew, and I found that she wasn’t the most helpful, because she’s straight and never had to come out. I chatted with a professional counsellor on Kids Help Phone’s site and got a reply that was really supportive and helpful.”

Did you have any concerns about coming out?

“I was terrified of coming out for a bit more than a year. I thought maybe my aunt may not let me have sleepovers anymore, and that she would just treat me differently in general.”

Did anything help you feel better?

“I was kinda alone through it, but everybody I told was fine with it. I’m the kind of person who just holds a thought/secret in for so long that it comes bursting out one day. LOL that sounded a bit strange. I haven’t really told everyone I know, but I’ve told the people who matter. I don’t care who knows. I am happy and I’m super proud!”

Did you experience any challenges?

“Before I had come out, I felt like I wasn’t myself. Like I couldn’t be me, even in my own home. Now I am free like a wild unicorn! Haha. The only thing I can really say about it is during it, I was so nervous I really thought I was going to puke.”

Is anything different now?

“Like I said, not everyone knows, and that includes people at school. I know I may get haters and bullies, and I can’t change that, but I think they’ll just be upset they can’t handle my awesomeness overload! The good thing is that now, because I was true to myself, I can be true to everyone else.”

Did anything surprise you?

“The only surprise was my aunt was so chill about it! I knew she wouldn’t have a problem, but she is really, really OK with it.”

What were you hoping for the most when you came out?

“I just hoped that my relationships with friends and family would stay exactly the same, and that’s what happened!”

What tips do you have for other young people who want to come out?

“When you’re ready, you’ll know it. Stay calm, and always be your sparkly self! Anyone who truly cares and loves you will always stand by you. You will never be completely alone. I love you all! (P.S. Listen to the song “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert. It’s older, but still one of my favourite songs. It has a super amazing message!)”

We hope this young person’s coming out story inspires you and supports you with your own journey of self-discovery. We also want you to know that no two coming out stories are alike. Everyone has a unique experience with their own ups and downs. It’s OK if your story looks and feels different than someone else’s. If you have any questions about sexual orientation, gender identity, coming out or anything else, you can connect with someone you trust. Kids Help Phone’s professional counsellors and volunteer crisis responders are available 24/7 to support you if you’d like to explore coming out together.

Do you have a story you’d like to share with Kids Help Phone? You can contact us or reach out on social media at @KidsHelpPhone.

Kids Help Phone would like to thank Hana Shafi for illustrating this story and supporting youth mental health and well-being.

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