The process of “coming out” as LGBT is an extremely personal act, but of course, in many countries around the world, including the United States, it is a political one as well.
My life would honestly be much easier if I just shut up about my sexuality. If I just stop talking about how much I liked girls, or grew my hair out to an “acceptable” length for a girl, or just stopped. And to be honest, I exhibit enough heteronormative traits to pass myself off as a straight woman (if I grew my hair out of course). But whenever I think about just making my life easier and pass myself off as someone straight, I remember myself in middle school, a scrawny 12-year-old girl with braces and headgear.
I remember being bullied for being that “lesbo” or “gay”. I have had the words “fag” been thrown at me. I have had food thrown in my direction at the cafeteria, and I’ve been thrown against the wall while walking down the hallway. I remember feeling completely and utterly alone, not daring to tell my best friend or my parents what was going on at school. Because, in my mind, being that “lesbo” meant not having any friends or people who care about you. I remember wanting to die before I let anybody find out that I wanted to spend my life with another girl instead of a guy.
As I remember my experiences before I came out, I try to be as visible as I possibly can because I know from personal experience that I would have vastly appreciated (as someone who didn’t even realize I was gay) to see someone like me own her sexuality and live life that was not in denial. I would have loved to see someone live without fear of judgement from others.
So a bit of advice for the young LGBT people out there, whether you have realized your own truth yet or not: your sexuality does not own you, nor does it define you. I’m 22 now, and I’ve been where you are right now. I remember being scared and calling my best friend in the middle of the night and telling her that I was gay while crying and (literally) shaking with fear of how she would react. The LGBT community is blessed with some of the most creative minds in the world, but we are also bankers, athletes, lawyers, doctors, scientist, farmers, and much more. LGBT people are everywhere, and we can be anyone.
So, at the end of the day, remember this: you can be anyone you want to be. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise based off of nothing but this one trait.