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My National Coming Out Day Story

October 12, 2018

(Mural by YOMI for To the Polls)

I knew I was gay at 14. Like many queer kids I chose not to gamble with getting kicked out of my house or having my parents hate me/try to change me, and I kept this huge part of who I was a secret from my family. My mom was quite literally my best friend growing up, so this hurt me a lot.

I started by telling a few friends first, and they all took the news well. While I got called faggot a few times in high school and even just walking down the street, I knew my friends were there for me.

I didn’t come out to my mom until I was 17, and when I did it was at 11:35pm on a Thursday (I remember) and I was shaking through the whole conversation. It’s impossible to explain this experience to people who’ve not gone through similar things. You know you’re killing the version of yourself that your parent has created for you. And you know they will always see you differently, if they accept you at all. I got lucky, unlike a lot of queer kids my mom responded with nothing but love, but I still begged her not to tell my brother or dad and she respected my wishes.

I came out to my brother a few years later and my dad not until I was 26. I wish I had told them both sooner though, because they’ve both shown nothing but love about who I am.

I get that some straight people roll their eyes at days like today, National Coming Out Day, and God knows I wish we didn’t live in a world where people just assumed your sexuality (or gender for that matter,) but that’s the world we live in… We come out to claim our power. We come out to bring those we love closer to us. And we come out to hopefully make it easier on the next generation.

I’m so fucking proud to be gay. I so proud of our history and our future. Growing up different, growing up gay, made me the creative person I am today, and I’m so freaking happy that that’s how I was made!

Conrad Benner, Founder and Editor of Streets Dept

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