04/20/2012 10:21 am ET | Updated Jun 20, 2012

Why I Participate in the Day of Silence

I participate in Day of Silence to encourage other young people to open up to others about their sexual orientation and gender identity instead of having to hide or be ashamed of themselves.

Personally, I believe that the notion of "coming out" is flawed because, when I "come out," I am not revealing the definitive part of me, but only a part of what makes me a whole person. I think it should be treated as if I am telling people I'm left-handed. Of course, no one has to "come out" in order to reveal left-handedness. But the reality is that sexual orientation carries little more significance in defining a person.

On the Day of Silence, I remain silent to commemorate all those who have felt powerless in the face of bullying and oppression in our society. I remain silent to memorialize those who have not been able to handle the burden of being bullied because they are different.

I am ashamed of some of the atrocities that occur to those who are different, but I am proud to continue doing as much as I can to let people know that this planet is evolving and people's views about LGBT folk are changing for the better.

I've gone through a process to understand and accept myself for who I am. First, I came out as a lesbian and later I came out as a trans guy. When I first knew I liked girls, there was nothing anyone could say to me to make me feel better. Telling family and friends and then my entire school that my chromosomes got mixed up as an embryo was excruciating at times, but people slowly began calling me the correct pronouns and asking me questions.

Gradually, I realized that it doesn't matter what other people think because being authentic and true to myself is worth so much more to me. I now realize that being different is not the end of the world. If I can teach that to someone else by remaining silent for only one day at school, then I know my participation is worth it.