By Drew Spicer (He/Him/His)

A lot of people don’t often take the time to sit down and think to themselves what it’s like for someone in the LGBTQ community to actually come out, especially if they aren’t part of the community themselves.

Coming out is a stressful process. It can cause a lot of anxiety and depression, it can change eating habits or cause thoughts of self harm. A lot of this will happen to someone, especially if they know they will not have support or be accepted. 

I was raised Catholic. Being gay wasn’t really OK, let alone being transgender. I can remember the stress it caused from being so scared. Only being able to think about how I was going to tell my mom — how bad would her reaction be? Why did I have to feel this way to begin with? 

This is a huge reason I’m so happy we get National Coming Out Day each year. Coming out is far from easy and takes a certain strength a lot of people will never understand. Everyone deserves a day they can sit back and be able to celebrate that strength and courage. 

There will be lucky people in the community who will be accepted and supported by their friends and family. I was lucky enough to experience this when coming out as trans. The feeling of relief, of knowing you don’t have to be scared anymore, of not having to hide anymore: Feelings so hard to put into words.

I don’t think I ever cried happy tears before that day. You feel so free, to know that everything will be OK, that was priceless. 

And for those of you who haven’t come out yet, don’t put so much pressure on yourself. There is no timeline; it’s not a race. Do things at your own pace. Do it when it feels right for you. Practice with a support system. Practice in a mirror.

Don’t ever forget that this is your story, your life and your journey. What it looks like for someone may look completely different than yours, and that’s OK. Just make sure to have a support system when you do especially if you have no idea what someone’s reaction may be. There are so many different and unique ways to come out to the people you love.

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