Coming Out


Kiley Long

Having something to say but not quite knowing how or what to say. This struggle doesn’t just apply to the LGBTQIA+ community it applies to many people on a daily basis. Kids know they are part of this community way sooner than many may think. For both lesbian and bisexuals, the median age is 13. For gay men many they say they were younger than 10 years old.

The estimates of LGBTQ youth living in the U.S. results in an estimated 503,073 LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13–18 and 209,917 between the ages of 19–24 who attempted suicide in the past year, for a total of 712,990 LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13–24. LGBTQ youth are more than four time as likely to attempt suicide than their peers. 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. LGBTQ youth of color reported higher rates of attempting suicide than their white peers in the past year. Among the nearly 34,000 LGBTQ youth surveyed, 12% of white youth attempted suicide compared to 21% of Native/Indigenous youth, 20% of Middle Eastern/Northern African youth, 19% of Black youth, 17% of multiracial youth, 16% of Latinx youth, and 12% of Asian/Pacific Islander youth.  Most LGBT youth consider suicide in response to bullying, discrimination, homophobia, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, violence, gender nonconformity, low self-esteem and societal and family rejection.

For me coming out to my parents was not hard. I was really scared to come out to them because I didn’t know how they’d react even though while I was growing up they always said they’d love me no matter what. When I came out to my mom the easiest way I could think of was writing “I like girls” in the Mother’s Day card that I was going to give her. While she read it, she began to cry and I couldn’t tell if she was upset and to my surprise she looked at me for a second and then gave me a hug. She then said “Honey I’ve always known, I just didn’t want to pressure you to tell me I wanted you to be able to tell me on your own terms.” When I told my dad and step mom it was about a year after I told my mom they said something very similar to what my mom said they just said that they knew, however my step mom had a few questions which I expected. There are a few stories very similar to mine including one from a friend who would like to be anonymous she said, “When I came out, I got up super early for a teenager and nervously asked my mom if we could chat. She was like, ‘Oh no, are you pregnant?’ I started laughing and was like, ‘Umm the opposite, I like girls’. My mom laughed and stated, ‘You made a big deal out of that? Your father and I kind of figured that out a while ago that you probably liked girls as well. What do you want for dinner tonight?”


My coming out isn’t how it is for everyone. But I feel like it is very important for someone to accept the fact with themselves first before they worry about telling other people. Everyone should be able to tell their story when they feel comfortable and that may not even happen until their older, they shouldn’t be rushed to talk about something if they’re not ready. Mrs. Osborne said “When I was in high school nobody was really out, then years later when I’d reconnect with some people I went to school with and now they’re openly out about being trans, gay, or part of the community in some way and I can just remember thinking that it makes sense. But now it’s almost the same no one really realizes that it still just as hard for some people to come out not knowing how someone’s going to react.  It’s not only youth that struggle with coming out, many adults and celebrities go through it just like anyone else.

Take one of my favorite artists for example Frank Ocean, he came out through posting a letter to Tumblr in 2012 and that night he “cried like a baby.” As well as saying He said that the change he felt in himself was instant. “Before anybody called me and said congratulations or anything nice, it had already changed,” Ocean said. “It wasn’t from outside. It was completely in here, in my head.” After coming out it’s like a great relief, finally being able to be yourself. Many others tell their stories in honor of pride month although many are anonymous one said, “When I came out I was 12 (7th grade). I had come out as lesbian to my mom; she was accepting of it as she was bisexual. On the other hand, my grandma thought I was too young to actually know. As time went on, when I got into the 8th grade, I wasn’t very happy with my gender. I never wanted to say I was a boy because I felt it was wrong to think so I said I was nonbinary. I recently came out to my mom as trans and she’s trying to get used to it. I’m still trying to figure it all out, though.”