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Coming out at 21

Discussion in 'Coming Out Advice' started by Jaquesadit, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. Jaquesadit

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    I'm gay.

    I don't know why I find it so hard to say these two words out loud. I want to and I feel like I'm definitely ready to come out but it feels like such a leap into the unknown and I have to admit I'm pretty scared about it. Even last night when an acquaintance asked if I was into guys or girls, I still said I liked girls.

    I don't really know why I'm so afraid of coming out. My parents are pretty liberal (especially my mum) and I have a bunch of friends at university that have come out as gay, bisexual and asexual.

    I think I've been properly aware of my attraction to men since I was 18. That was the age that I kissed a girl for the first time and it just didn't feel right. From there, it was just lots of small things that I gradually noticed like when my straight guy friends would be drooling over girls in music videos while I was secretly more excited about the shirtless guys next to them.

    I've been in the closet for a while now and after watching and reading 'Call Me By Your Name' and 'Love, Simon', I kind of feel inspired to go for it.

    Any advice on how to come out to my friends and family or stories about your coming out experiences would be awesome and seriously helpful!
     
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  2. 21zephyr

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    Welcome!!! Congratulations on your first step, accepting your sexuality. That was the hardest part for me. I knew I was gay, I just didn’t feel I could be gay. This was based on my religion and where I lived- rural conservative America. You have many things going for you- accepting parents a university setting and you know some gay people. When you finally decide, it sounds like you will have excellent support.

    My coming out advice would be to find someone you trust and is accepting. It makes the first leap a little easier. Once you let the first person know, it seems to get much easier.

    When I first said I was gay outloud, it wasn’t a big relief. I thought there would be some great weight lifted. However, the second person I told led to a great discussion and it was there I finally had my moment where I knew I could do it. I’m not totally out, but I’m not afraid if everyone finds out. I’ve known I was gay since I was 10/11, but I finally came out at 52. That was a lot of wondering when is the right time. You’ll do well, keep us posted and we are here for support!!
     
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  3. quebec

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    Jaquesadit.... Well, I'd like to tell you that coming out is easy, you just say "I'm gay"...and it's all over. Yeah...but that's not how it really works. I think part of the difficulty is the realization that you are telling some one that the person they have known for all these years was a fake...not the real you. Literally telling them that they have to get to know a completely new person who looks like you, but is different. Oh, I know that being gay is only a small part of what makes up you, but when you're trying to figure out how to tell someone, suddenly the gay part of you can become really enormous. It's the only thing you can think about. At least that's how it was for me. So how to make coming out easier...well there are a few things you can do. 1) Don't let yourself be pressured to come out until you are ready! You decide when the time is right, not anyone else. 2) You are the one who decides who to come out to. Think about your friends and family...who would be the most likely to accept you without any difficulty? Try to make the first few that you tell the easiest ones, people who you know will accept and support you as you some out to others. Then with that support team in place, you can think about the difficult ones. I've found that the people who knew me the best (family and long-time friends) are the most difficult to come out to. It's just that they have known you for such a long time that to tell them you've been hiding a part of yourself from them feels like admitting to lying to them. If these people really do love you, they will accept you. Sure, they may be surprised....that's what happened to me. I hid my sexuality from the world and from myself for over 40 years. At age 64 I finally accepted that I was and always had been gay. Every person that I have come out to has done the "jaw-drop thing" along with some variation on "Are you sh**ing me?" But at the same time, every person that I have come out to has accepted me. I can truly say that getting rid of that terrible secret that had caused so much guilt, self-hate and depression has been a wonderful experience. I am at last free to be me. You can find that freedom too...it will be difficult at first, but the happiness and freedom that killing that evil secret gives you is truly wonderful.
    .....David :gay_pride_flag:
     
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  4. SemiCharmedLife

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    This. If you have any close LGBT friends or family members, they would be the best people to start with because they can give you advice based on their experience. That's what I did when I was ready to come out. If not, start with the person or people you feel would be the most supportive and go from there.

    I know from your username that you're a fan of Love Simon. Seeing it with your family may be a good way to start that conversation. I've seen stories on Twitter of people who have done that.

    Good luck!
     
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  5. Jaquesadit

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    Thanks so much for that idea! My mum is coming up to visit me and my sister at university next week so I might try and arrange that.
     
  6. Jaquesadit

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    Thanks for sharing your story with me! Now feels like the right time for me (I'm just about to graduate from university and it feels like now is the time to start this new chapter in my life)... it's just a matter of finding the right time and place to say it for me, I guess. I feel like I'm definitely more inclined to want to come out to some of my newer friends first, for some reason it just feels like a slightly less major change telling them than people that I've known for years.
     
  7. Jaquesadit

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    Thanks so much for the support! I totally relate to your story. I grew up going to a religious school and one thing that kept ringing in my head when I was first thinking about it was one of my old friends from school saying "I'd be so ashamed if I had a gay son, I'd wonder what I had done wrong". I don't know why that stuck with me for so long and I know that my parents don't share that view but it kind of scared me before I truly accepted myself. Once I start talking about it with the people that are in my life now, I feel like it will be such a relief to have it off my chest ... it feels kind of like nervous anticipation right now, I guess!
     
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  8. 21zephyr

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    How you are feeling is quite common. I read that your mother and sister are coming to see you this weekend and you are thinking of telling them. This is a great opportunity. I would write them a letter- if you lose your nerve to tell them you can give them the letter, which will start the conversation. Also, a letter will help you organize your thoughts, which is important because it’s an emotional time. You seem ready and have a receptive audience, I know you can do this! Please keep us informed and good luck!!! You have our support!!
     
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  9. Jaquesadit

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    That's an awesome idea! It always seems so much easier writing about this than speaking about it so it'd be good to prepare myself that way. I'm so glad I found this website, everyone has been so supportive!
     
  10. 21zephyr

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    This site has given me a lot of help, too. When I was coming out, my emotions were everywhere and I didn’t always think things through. People have given me good advice about things I never even considered.

    Good luck to you, it will be good!!!
     
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  11. Jaquesadit

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    I DID IT! I came out to four of my best friends last night and it genuinely feels like such a relief to have finally said it out loud. Don't get me wrong, I genuinely felt like I was going to throw up I was so nervous. But after I said it they were so supportive which made the whole experience a lot easier. Thank you to everyone who commented on this thread, I don't know if I would've had the courage to do it without all of you.
     
  12. 21zephyr

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    That’s so awesome! I’m so happy for you, and glad they were supportive. That was a big first step- I have found that each step gets a little easier. Just remember, the people who accept you genuinely care about you and will be your support group as you continue your journey. Don’t spend time worrying about those who don’t support you, it’s not worth your effort.

    CONGRATS
     
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  13. Federico98

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    I agree with you. I told all my new friends I was gay, but there are still some old ones whom I am scared to tell, in part because of some homophobic things they said.
    I did not tell my family, though. I am inclined to tell them when I will find a boyfriend, so that being happy could make them more supportive. I am scared because my parents and lots of my relatives are quite closed-minded.
    I am glad you managed to come out to some people :slight_smile: It was very important for me to be open with my closer friends.
    However, in my case, it did not make me meet other gay guys. I have only met two gay guys during my entire life and I have never dated anyone, and it gets me down sometimes.
     
  14. 21zephyr

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    I am in the same boat. I know no gay guys, but I won’t lose hope. There has to be someone out there for us! Unfortunately, the people around me keep trying to hook me up with female dates; I’m not totally out.
     
  15. Federico98

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    The only person who said he liked me was from USA. A bit far from Italy
    Then I met two Italian guys but they are in a relationship. And that's all
     
  16. quebec

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    Jaquesadit.....I can't tell you how much you have made me feel good! To know that somehow anything that I have shared here on empty closets has actually helped someone is so very good. When I was so desperate that I had reached the end and could go not one step farther....people here on empty closets stepped in and saved me (thank you again so much greatwhale). I hope that in some small way I can repay the debit that I have to this wonderful, life-saving site by helping someone else even just a little. Good luck to you on the new path that you are now on....you be you!
    .....David :gay_pride_flag:
     
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  17. scs96

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    I am so proud of you! Accepting yourself is a big deal and clearly, you know that there's an entire world of people just like you waiting for you! I came out to my parents at 20. So, maybe I can help a little here. I'll try to break it down a little with both of my experiences with my parents and maybe you can take something from it.

    I came out to my mom last February. I grew up in a very religious home and I grew up obviously in a very homophobic environment due to that. So when I came out to my mom I really expected the worst. I planned three videos; one explaining how I identified (I'm gay and on the asexual spectrum so a bit confusing if I'm explaining the full thing), one explaining my feelings about someone I liked four years prior that helped me to realize that I'm not straight, and one that showed what I thought to be "proof" that over time I realized more and more and that it wasn't a choice. I also wrote an eight-page letter and ended up getting my best friend of 10 years to come over for moral support while I came out. I read the letter first and when I got to the part at the end where I asked my mom if she'd still love me now that I told her I was gay, she got up and hugged me and I cried. I never, ever imagined that she would accept me for the person that I am. It took a few years under the premise of being an ally, to really educate her about the LGBT+ communicate. By the time I came out she fully knew that being LGBT+ isn't a choice. I worried after that things would change or she would dismiss what I had told her, but nothing changed really at all. She grew more comfortable with the terms "gay" and "lesbian" and now uses them more than I do at home. She has never acted ashamed and she wants to go to pride with me this year. I used to lay in bed at night and cry because I never thought that I could live my life. I always hid huge parts of my life from her and I felt horrible about it and sad about it. I definitely went through a long process of then accepting it all after coming out. Your life doesn't suddenly snap from being in the closet to being out and proud. That takes time and personal growth to get comfortable with yourself and confident. Just know that you are who you are and that someday soon you're going to be so incredibly proud of yourself.

    I came out to my dad last May. For him, I didn't plan as much. He has no real religious background and I used that to my advantage. I sat down with him while cleaning out his house and basically kind of beat around the bush nervously. He said he probably already knew and I told him. He said he had no issue with it and that he knew because I'd posted a lot of LGBT+ content on my Facebook around the time of the election. He can be insensitive sometimes when he's around his friends, but the coming out process itself was positive.

    You've got this, really. Things like Love, Simon and other types of representation are so important for a reason. You've got this and I'm extremely proud of you. There's no time limit, do this when you're ready. Good luck!
     
    #17 scs96, Apr 17, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018