Fear was releasing from my body as my mother's story echoed on the airwaves from the Pacific to the Sierra foothills. But when it came to my story -- my story, not my mother's -- the silence of my childhood was still deeply embedded in my body.
I found coming out to be an extremely healing experience that wasn't easy at first, but led me toward greater peace and wholeness. Telling the truth can be challenging, but it will bring your destiny closer to you; it will ignite your life and give your struggle greater meaning and purpose.
Too often we see the queer community literally white-washed. Telling the stories and honoring the coming-out struggles of people of color like Frank Ocean and Diana King, or of people who challenge gender roles like Megan Rapinoe, is extremely important.
Around the age of 18, I realized that there was something off about me; I just didn't know what it was or what to do. I did know that I did not like who I was or my appearance. I did not recognize the person in the mirror. I asked myself, "Could I be transgender?" I was terrified.
I found myself trying to act more "straight." Really, I was just trying to make myself appear more "masculine" through my music choices and dress, avoiding anything I feared would out me. By doing this, however, I was effectively putting myself into a cramped and awkward cocoon.
"Weren't you that uptight student who interviewed me?" Dr. Farley asked me upon completion of my "coming-out" speech a few weeks ago. "Yes," I responded, retelling how much I'd feared that she'd been able to sense the true sexual orientation that I was desperately trying to conceal.
Those of us who were lucky enough to be born into climates safe for us -- because of where we live or because of the identity we have -- have a moral obligation to be out (and yes, I'm looking at you, closeted celebrities). Cowardice and "privacy" are no excuse.
How often do we hear about the boyfriends/girlfriends, fiancés, spouses, or even the one-night stands of our straight friends and co-workers? Yet as soon as LGBT people enter into the discussion, love and sexuality become a matter of a person's "private life"? Give me a break.
Cooper's silence sent a loud if unintentional message to the straight people who still think gays are different and threatening, and to the gay kids who still don't have enough public examples of successful, happy people who happen to be gay. I was that kind of gay kid.
I'm proud to be able to point to a man as brave, eloquent, professional, and honorable as Anderson Cooper and say, honestly and with no hesitation, "I want to be like him someday." We gained a real hero yesterday.
So why am I leaving Ireland? I'm leaving to find a place where I can be myself. Sex. It's a huge factor with me. I never read about anybody leaving for sexual reasons. I want to go where I can breathe. I want to breathe. I want to be.
It was a brave step, I thought, for my mom. She didn't know how it would turn out. It was a chance she was willing to take. She knew she didn't have it wrong. She had always known. She had been happy to let me come out in my own time, but something encouraged her to make the first move.
I decided to interview my ex-boyfriend for his perspective on my coming out. We always hear what it's like for the gay person, but there are countless ex-girlfriends, ex-boyfriends, ex-spouses, and ex-lovers who are left reeling from the shock of the lies. This is his side of the story.
My father asked me not to divulge parts of what I am about to tell you. However, at some point, I realized that my own feelings were not being respected in that process, and that I might be disrespecting your feelings. There are many things you should know.
Coming out is not a singular event. We need to do it over and over again in casual conversations, despite the associated risks, and in more important conversations like job interviews. The more we do it, the more we can teach and influence others.
I said, "But what if you felt all those things, everything you've just described, but you felt it for someone of the same sex?" My sister's smile fell. She replied, gravely, "The world has fallen, and Satan has turned you."
Personal identity is probably the biggest asset any of us has, and when this powerful piece of the equation is anchored, no matter whether you're starting a new business, seeking funding for a project, or being a kick-ass rocker, everything else seems to fall into place a little easier.
As scared as I was to come out to my family, it was not nearly as daunting as coming out to my Bible Study. I'd been a member of this particular small group for several months before I moved in with my girlfriend, Jenny.
At brunch last Sunday one of my closest friends was gushing over a guy he met out. His suitor is smart, handsome, employed, rents to own, and has a shared penchant for pizza at 3 a.m. But there's one problem: Prince Charming came out only a few months ago, at 28.