People say that “coming out” doesn’t need to be a big deal. That “straight people don’t have to come out, so why should gay people?”
That’s not my mindset.
Coming out IS a big deal, however you choose to do it. It doesn’t have to be a public declaration, but choosing to take control of your own journey and to live your life authentically isn’t easy—gay or straight. Choosing to invite people in when you know not all of them will accept you is arduous. It’s a decision that feels crippling at times. Today I felt ready to invite you all in. For me, this felt necessary.
I’ve always been gay, but I can’t say I’ve always KNOWN. I wish I were one of those people who just KNEW from a young age. In the grand context of my life, it would’ve allowed me to make sense of who I was sooner. Instead, I spent 29 years subconsciously repressing my own reality. When my crushes were girls in elementary school, I forced myself to talk about boys at sleepovers. When I just wasn’t capable of enjoying intimacy, I told my college friends about hookups that never happened. When I didn’t seem to have the ability to fall in love, I told myself it was because I didn’t deserve to BE loved.
My sexuality never came into play until recently when I quite literally had an epiphany overnight. Once the thought entered my mind I couldn’t get rid of it, no matter how hard I tried to suppress it. It was terrifying, but it just made SO. MUCH. SENSE. When I finally emailed a close friend and told him—just to see how it felt—the resulting relief confirmed what I already knew deep down. This is my truth, and accepting it is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.
I’m gay. But I’m still Brittany. My one hesitation in posting this stems from my fear that the people in my life will see me differently. Or that people who don’t know me yet will ONLY see me as gay. I’m Brittany. I’m a writer. I’m passionate about human rights and social justice. I spend far too much time reading about genocide. I love makeup and fashion. The only sport I can bear to watch is gymnastics. I’m a runner sometimes. I’m a mom all the time. My sexuality is a part of me, but it doesn’t define me. It doesn’t change who I am—it’s who I’ve always been. It’s just another part of me that I’ve chosen to share with the world.
When I emailed that first friend, a part of his response really resonated with me. He said, “you’ve done what so many people go their entire lives never doing.” Coming out is hard. It’s nerve-wracking not knowing how people will respond, and accepting myself has been more difficult than I can put into words. My self-acceptance is still a work in progress, but I love myself more now than I ever have in the past.
To those of you who are struggling with your sexuality and the decision to come out: I’m here, and I’m listening. Having friends and family give me the space to speak has been the most empowering part of this whole journey. I hope you find the ability to accept yourselves and to share your own truths because your life and your happiness is worth it. Your freedom is worth it.
We’ve had a lot of progress in LGBTQ rights in this country recently, but the fight isn’t over. There are politicians who want to strip us of our rights, and governments around the world that us imprisoned. Or executed. What I want most is for my daughter to grow up in a world where her mother is fully accepted, and where SHE is fully accepted for having a gay mom. A world where we’re all free to love who we love. It’s getting better, but we still have further to go.
Thank you for reading. And to those in my life who I’ve invited in one-by-one over the past few weeks, thank you. You made this easier than I ever could’ve imagined, and I’m so grateful for that.
Until next time.