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Friday, January 11, 2013

A Perspective on Coming Out

SMART Youth Answers gave some tips on how to "come out" to people in your life.
(Coming Out!)
Here is the perspective from another youth leader that will hopefully help provide more tips and comfort for your own journey or a friends.

"Like many young gay men and women, I struggled with coming out. I had to deeply and sincerely search for courage within myself. For me, the search was not easy. 
For starters, I had no guarantee that I would find the courage there at all. I was 10 years old at the time and I was born and raised into a Protestant/Christian household and family. It was difficult enough to think that that guy in the basketball shorts was cute. To add to it, I listened to my pastor and my family talk about how wrong homosexuality was many times. 
I was also under the impression that I had to have a girlfriend. I remember lying down in my bed and thinking, “I’m supposed to like girls, right?” However, when the time came, I knew that I didn’t like girls the way other guys around my age did. 
So, when I had to find the courage to tell my friends and family, I was not just letting other people into my life, I was also opening myself to be vulnerable and honest about whom I was. I realized that the hardest part for me was not the act of disclosing my sexual preference to my friends and family, but telling myself that I was gay—that I liked men. 
I struggled so much to accept the fact that I was gay. There were times when I thought about other men and immediately felt disgusted that I could think of something so out of the "norm". I remember thinking that there must be something wrong with me—that I could find a cure and finally begin to like girls. 
I couldn’t go on with that lie for long. 
I slowly started to accept my sexual preference and myself. I started in small pieces. After a while, the small pieces accumulated and I started to see my internal struggle start to calm down—the crushing gale winds now coming to a breeze, the ominous cloudy sky now starting to clear up. When I came to terms with myself, it became easier to think about coming out. 
Looking back, I don’t regret anything one bit. 
I love the man who stares back at me in the mirror. I love the man that I’ve grown up to be. I will continue to love myself as well. 
When I finally came out to my friends, I was lucky enough to be around comforting, loving, and understanding people. I am fortunate to continue having friends like that to this day. 
I hope to one day work to make other people’s coming out experience to their friends as loving as mine was. I know that not everyone does. 
If there is anything that I can share about my experience, it’s that you have to know who you are first before you can let others know. Love yourself, love who you are. Embrace your identity and do not allow yourself to be inhibited by other’s influence because they do not know you as well as you do
Indeed, the only person who truly knows you is yourself."

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