For many of us growing up gay, coming out is on the mind in one way or another. While some choose to entirely come out, for some it is merely a point of honesty and self-acceptance that may come with telling a few people who ask. In other cases, we might feel it isn’t necessary because pretty much everyone already knows (laughing out loud). 

Coming out can be liberating and terrifying at the same time.  Too often we have to be thoroughly prepared to not back down and to weather extremely difficult conversations with friends and family which may involve denial, hurtful questions, masked disappointment, a lack of understanding and even an insistence on seeing a psychologist, priest, or other professional.

For this reason it is often with an encouraging partner that many of us first find the resolve to come out to an especially difficult audience. However, while being a supportive partner, it’s important to realize that coming out in such a way is not right for every one of us. What is crucial about coming out is the point of self-acceptance; the level of external coming-out is determined by each individual’s own truth. 

The uphill battle for acceptance, mostly won after family and friends realize we will always be gay, is something that can stick with us. Representing ourselves courageously and gaining self-acceptance in the process, however difficult, remains a victory. Growing up gay we find ourselves without a manual for accepting who we are, forcing us to write our own as we go. This fact is simultaneously a great pain and a great gift. Growing into self-acceptance grants a strength and authenticity that many people search for their whole lives. 

Emanuel Novak
Author: Emanuel Novak