Coming out about your sexuality is never an easy process. The uncertainty about whether your family and friends will accept you for who you are is terrifying. Katherine Barbara Montana gives us her personal account about how it felt for her to be open about her sexuality, and how it affected her life over the course of the past year.
365 days can go by so quickly; it’s often hard to believe that we end up in a completely new state of mind even just one year after a momentous occasion.
About a year ago, I came out as gay. I had known this fact in my heart from an extremely young age, but was very scared to even admit it to myself. One day, I sat alone in my room and finally realized the truth, a truth that was very liberating.
Yes, I’ve only been out for a year. It’s not a lot of time in the grand scheme of things, but I will say that I have learned more about myself in this one year than my entire other 19.
The most important lesson I have learned is that surrounding yourself with those who love and support you makes coming out much better. Unconditional love and support is not a cure for the stress and worry that often comes with telling the world who you are (of course), but they definitely help a lot. I am so lucky to have the friends I have, friends that stuck by me and offered endless amounts of support and encouragement to be myself. True friends will continue to love you and make sure you feel safe. Those who do not, unfortunately, may not be your true friends. If they discourage or break your trust in any form, it may be time to look for new friendships.
Secondly, I have discovered that a massive weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. The movie Love, Simon puts it perfectly: “After coming out, you are able to exhale”. When I first told my close friends and family, I felt a much stronger connection with them, because the truth had brought us closer. Of course, you may not feel like it’s time to tell certain people, and that’s okay! It’s not a race. There are no rules for when you need to tell others. It took me much longer to tell certain people than to tell others, and there are still some people I haven’t yet told. Again, there is no rush and there are no rulebooks for how you have to come out. Ultimately, it’s your decision.
I have also learned the beauty of being part of a tight-knit community. Since coming out, I have been embraced and supported through several LGBTQ+ organizations and communities. I have never experienced more loving groups than the LGBTQ+ communities in both areas where I live. I am constantly supported when I am simply being myself. Groups such as this made my coming out process so much better.
I look back at that nineteen year old, sitting in her dorm room, who just realized who she really was. I want to tell her that it will be a difficult process, yes, but for her it will be worthwhile. My relationships with my friends have become stronger and I have joined a community I never want to leave. There are ups and downs, certainly, but embracing who I am meant to be has made it worth it. Overall, letting my true self shine through is something I will never regret.
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