Pride, or gay pride (as defined by Google) is, “the positive stance against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights, increase their visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance.”
The story of my coming out journey began at the same place it started with Sam in “A Cinderella Story.” I was a senior in high school who was too much of a nerd for my own good. I was in a serious relationship with someone that I loved very much (at the time).
I had been friends with people who were out and proud for a majority of my high school career. It was one of the main things that empowered me to come to terms with my sexuality.
There wasn’t a particular event that made me realize I was bisexual. I realize that’s lame. I was in a heterosexual relationship with someone that I had been dating for a year. Males were all I knew. Having the internet just exposed me to new ideas and things and I realized one day that I like girls, too. It was something that I chose not to share with my significant other in fear of ruining our relationship. I swore to myself that I wouldn’t tell him because I didn’t want him to be doubtful of my feelings toward him or shame me for anything, so I kept it to myself.
Just to clarify, it wasn’t that easy. I spent nights crying myself to sleep because I felt wrong. I knew that there was nothing wrong with being part of the community. My friends were. My uncle is. Things just become different when it is you. Suddenly every bad coming out story was my reality. Would people still respect me? Would I have to deal with homophobia from my peers? Would I have to deal with homophobia from my teachers? Internalized homophobia? Or my worst fear, being invalidated because I was in a heterosexual relationship.
So, I kept quiet.
I sat back for a year and waited. Waited for what? Confidence, probably.
On April 27th, 2017, I came out with a tweet and a Spongebob meme — because what better way to celebrate coming out?
It was one of the most nerve wracking things that I’ve ever done because I put it out for the world to see. Everyone would know who I truly was, and who I could truly love. It sounds so dramatic… but it was one of the hardest things that I’ve done in my life.
I’ve been open with my sexuality since that day. I like men and women. It’s fine. It’s nothing to be ashamed about.
I don’t want to say that tweeting that made me completely comfortable with myself, because I wasn’t. Thanks to Tinder, I met a few girls and got “serious” with one of them. We actually ended up dating for a few weeks. We touched mouths and everything. It was the whole shabang.
Things ended soon after they began, but in that whole time that I was embracing my sexuality, I didn’t tell any of my friends. They don’t even know about her now. (Unless they’re reading this. Then hi! Sorry I didn’t tell you.)
I’ve also figured out that a girl can break your heart just as well as a guy can. Trust me. And yes, it hurts just as much.
Regardless, I swung that closet door open and I was out and about. My coming out story was easier than most people. I realized, kept quiet out of shame, dealt with it, and here I am. Some people come out to their friends and family and are met with backlash. The lack of support for someone can damage a persons well being. To anyone that hasn’t come to terms with their sexuality or hasn’t wanted to come out– you are valid. You are valid and you are loved and there’s millions of people all over the world who stand by you.
There are foundations such as the Trevor Project and the LGBT Foundation which are there for you. And if you’re already out and proud — volunteer your time! Help someone who is in the position that you used to be in. Help the younger version of yourself who is begging for a voice to guide them through one of the toughest things that they’ll ever have to do.
You are valid.
You are loved.
Attending Pride was the first step to me being out and accepting my sexuality in front of a group of people. Attending pride doesn’t automatically make you part of the LGBTQ+ community (that’s my way of shouting out to the allies), but you know by being there that you are surrounded by people who want nothing but to preach love and inclusion.
Here I am with my bisexual best friend Sarai, and my transgender best friend, Kai. They’re the sweetest peas and I love them very much!