“I…..I think I’m Queer?”
It’s a phrase that I used to say to myself plenty of times growing up before finally opening up about my sexuality. I used to mule over it, day and night, thinking about what would happen when I came out. Would I still be loved? Would I be bullied? Would I be disowned? Would my friends accept me?
After you come out the first time, it seems to get easier every time after. Saying ‘Gay’ doesn’t sound like a bad word anymore. And when you say it to others, you start to receive different responses from others. Some saying that they already knew, some asking why you kept it hidden for this long, and others just asking questions. And I think that everyone should know some proper responses when someone comes out to you. Because, while it may be weird at first for you to hear it, I promise that it’s even harder and weirder for us to say it.
What NOT to say:
For one second, I want you to imagine everyone as a piece of glass. Fragile, sharp, clear, and beautiful. A small innocent child. No scars, no blemishes, no trauma, nothing. The definition of purity as when we were younger, as we used to be. Now, I want you to add yellow dye to the piece of glass. Sure, it’s still shining and somewhat see-through, but is it still as beautiful as before. Now add in tears. Maybe it was the first time that the child had fallen or the first time that they had been roughly treated or yelled at. Now add blue. Add it and mix it with the yellow and tears and when your done with that, add in purple, pink, anger, happiness, joyful memories. The first friend that they made. The first time they had to go to a funeral. The first heartbreak that they had. The first time that they went to the zoo. The first kiss they ever shared.
Over time, we change and grow. As humans, we create new things and go through hardships. Our glass can become dusty or break. Sometimes, our glass can even hold us back. But we can’t let the past hold us back from making choices. Sometimes, you have to see the good in the situation. You have to see the good in the past.
As a gay teenager who has gone through elementary, middle, and is currently attending high school, I know what it’s like to be called names. And I know what it’s like to make horrible choices based off these things. But you have to keep moving forward. Even when you screw up.
Some things that have helped me remember to keep going:
The one thing that I excel at. And it’s the one thing that a teen in high school isn’t supposed to. According to some surveys, they suggest that 85-95% of students have problems associated with procrastination. And to be completely honest, this is very true. Here are some of the reasons why people procrastinate:
Time management is a really difficult thing to do, especially when you can’t help but procrastinate. But with these tips, I hope you are able to get back on track with whatever it is you need to finish or work on.
The color grey.
It’s not seen as pretty or beautiful or anything else such as that. Mostly, grey is seen as a “blah” color, hidden by the more colorful attributes of pink, gold, and silver, as well as the soft tone of violet. Grey is the outlier, even black fitting into the palette of dark and brooding colors. It is the color the world tries to hide and shelter themselves from, even though, if one were to start to look hard enough, grey is the most prominent color. Not to be seen like normal colors, but to be seen and felt.
When I was younger, I grew up on superheroes and aspired to be one myself. To be someone like Batman, Superman, Captain America, or Spiderman, seemed to be an amazing dream come true. My brother, on the other hand, focused more on the darker characters; the villains; villains such as the Joker, Loki, the Riddler, and Sinestro were some of the more interesting and prominent villains my brother idolized. My brother and I would fight between which side was better: the heroes or the villains. It was not until much later that I was introduced to the rebels and anti-heroes: Red Hood, Red Arrow, and the Red Lantern, Atrocitus. A lot of reds. Something about these characters confused me but they also excited me. They accomplished the same things as the heroes; and yet, they had the fighting style of the villains. These characters (despite the fact that most of them have Red in their names), are what I know as, the grey area.
The grey area is not bad. It’s not good either. It’s just “grey”. Most people think in terms of everything being“Black and White” but in my own opinion, that is definitely not true. If someone starts at black and then goes to white, the median is grey; just like how in between heroes and villains there are anti-heroes. The grey area is where everyone falls in today’s society. Every person has their good traits and their bad counterparts. No one is completely bad or completely good either.
The problem is that everyone thinks that colors are perfect. Colors like yellow, blue, green, orange, purple, pink, etc. are thought to be popular colors. And these popular colors are always getting the most attention, just like how the popular people are getting the most attention as well. The sad part is that this, the stereotyping of everyone, is damaging because people forget that they are indeed people, not colors and not labels. People take and use parts of other’s personalities, what they look like, or anything else that they can and use it against them. The color yellow must always be happy just like how the Plastics must be the Mean Girls. The girl who reads during lunch must be the loner and the boy who hangs out with the girls must be feminine. People stereotype and the fact that they do so, is incredibly sad.
These “pretty” and “beautiful” colors are actually the stereotypes that most people try to avoid and the rest, well, they are the ones creating these stereotypes. To these people I would like to give a message: Thank you! Thank you for giving most people a goal. A goal to prove that everyone else was wrong about them. That they are not the loner or the feminine boy or the Plastics or the jock. That they are not a color but they are themselves. That they are indeed people who are not “Black and White” but instead, they are the grey area. That they are not perfect, that everyone has different personalities and traits. Just because they are not good at one thing, they definitely are better at something else.
I’m not aggressive. At all. Or rather, I am more passive aggressive than physically aggressive, but when people see me, with my height, I automatically give off the impression of being aggressive and playing a sport like football or basketball. That is not me. I am not a football or basketball player. I am a yell leader, a volleyball player, a shot put thrower, a bookworm, a brother to an art student and a sibling to a second grade teacher’s aid. I am a descendant of a judge who adopted two native american girls and I have a part of unknown past that is definitely questionable. I go to sleep and wake up maybe four times per night because I face insomnia and nightmares are a plague. I have a strange ability to stay warm even in 32 degree weather. I am me, everything else only being apart of my character. No one else. Not a loner, not a feminine boy, not a Plastic. I am not a carbon copy of my brother, sister, mother, or father. I. Am. Me. My own person.
You, the person reading this, are not a stereotype or a color. You are you. No one else. Not a carbon copy of someone else. It’s okay if you do do this though. For now at least. You may have a reason to be doing what you’re doing. You may choose to hide behind the bright yellow, the bittersweet pink, the brooding black, the angry red, the cheery aqua, or anything else like that. But you can’t live like that. Hiding behind another persona.
As humans, people are not perfect and often do not tell the truth for fear of being cast out, so instead, people throw on other colors as easy as clothes, and hide behind yellow, red, purple, orange, blue, green, etc. just to make sure that their reputation is kept safe. In a way, grey is like the truth and only the hurt know it. “I think the saddest people try the hardest to make people happy because they know what it's like to feel absolutely worthless and they don't want anyone else to feel like that.” -Robin Williams.
I believe in the color grey because when happiness is hard to find, the truth seems to find a way to sneak up on you.
Coming out. It’s not exactly an easy thing to accomplish. Telling someone who you are no matter who you are is a difficult feat. The level of difficulty tends to amplify itself when whoever you are on the inside isn’t openly accepted by society and/or facing backlash. On average, at least one in five people are gay according to Gallup News. That means that over 37.7 million people come out at some point in their lives. Me included.
I’ve come out to friends, family, and strangers even.
People may have different reactions when you come out to them. When I told my male best friend he said that he loved me gay, straight, bisexual, demisexual, etc. When I told my female best friend her only response was, “Honey. I know. Now help me finish this worksheet”. Rest assured, we did in fact finish the worksheet on punnett squares, and with that, I realized that I am extremely lucky to have these people in my life.
Other friends were not as accepting. I lost friends who didn’t have the mindset of acceptance that was needed for someone apart of the LGBTQ+. They didn’t accept the fact that me being gay is not a choice. You aren’t able to choose which sexuality you are.
Family may be the most difficult group of people to come out to. For some, coming out to your family is a very easy task. For me, not so much. I didn’t get the chance to come out to my family. By a certain weird set and turn of events, I was outed to my family over a year ago. My mother still has trouble with the fact that she has two gay sons (my older brother is also gay), but slowly she’s getting used to the fact that I can’t change who I am.
In any case, when and where you come out is your choice. No one else can make the decision for you (or rather, should make the decision for you).
A couple tips for you if you want to come out:
Teenagers With Experience is an online platform ran by teenagers for teenagers. We provide support through sharing our own experiences and providing advice based from this. If you need support, feel free to reach out to us on one of our social media platforms. We will do our best to support you and if we feel we cannot we will direct you to more suited, professional support.