River

North Carolina + USA

I Don’t Know, Rainbows

Female + Lesbian + Queer + Questioning / 17 and Under / White / Other

I started being unsure of my sexuality when I was 9. Young, I know. I tried to suppress my thoughts. I thought they were wrong, I was ashamed. I tried my best to not think about it. I was always different as a young kid, I still am.

I was a tomboy and I didn’t fit in with the other girls. When I was 12, I started trying to figure it out. It took me about a year to place a label on myself. At first I thought I was pansexual, but then I realized that I wouldn’t be in a relationship with a male. I’m a gay female. I came out at 14.

It has been really hard to accept that. I came out to my parents a few months ago. It was the most awkward thing ever. My parents are divorced, so I had to do it twice. My mother was so supportive and we talked about it. I was holding my guitar and sitting on my piano bench the entire time, my music has always helped me in times of stress. I wasn’t playing the guitar but it helped to be holding something. When I told my dad, he just said, “Cool,” and changed the subject. I feel very lucky to have parents who support me, but it does bother me a little bit that my dad didn’t acknowledge what I told him. I mean, did he hear me? Did he understand? I think it makes him uncomfortable. Not in a homophobic way, but in a I-don’t-know-what-to-do-so-I’m-gonna-avoid-it kind of way. I am very thankful that they’re okay with it.

I thought everything would change after I came out, but it’s not that different. It just feels more free. I don’t have to hide anymore. But it also feels a little bit less safe. But I like that. I live in a very homophobic town. My extended family, like my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, are all homophobic. I have no intention to tell them. Maybe when I’m 30 or something and getting married. (If that happens.)

I told my friends at school before my parents. If it wasn’t for my friends, I might not have gotten through it. It was hard and awkward to come out to my friends when I first started understanding myself. I couldn’t even say it out loud. They knew to keep it a secret, but when I came out to my parents they knew that I didn’t care who knew.

Like schools do, it spread around. Again, I still didn’t care who knew. Some people have insulted me. I was hanging out with my guy friend (not naming names, let’s call him C) and a guy came by (let’s call him D) and looked at me, then turned to C and said, “If you bang her hard enough you can turn her straight.” And then D walked away. Neither C nor I said anything, we were both shocked. D and his friend, A, have insulted me a few times, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. I’m one of the lucky ones.

I haven’t told my brother yet, he will HATE me. He says violent stuff about gay people when he talks to his video games. But for the most part, I’m happy. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I used to read these stories all the time, and I hope mine helps someone who is struggling to come out. I remember watching coming out advice videos on youtube, and they said to come out when you’ve fully accepted yourself.

For me, I didn’t think I could fully accept myself until I came out. The day before I came out I was hating on myself so hard. Then, at 5pm on a Friday, it was like a switch flipped in my brain. I honestly don’t know how to explain it. I hope my story helps someone. Just know that you’re not alone, no matter where or who you are. Reach out and learn. You can do this. Even if you don’t think you can, and even if you think you’ll never be happy, just be hopeful for the future. You don’t have to be prideful just yet. Just be hopeful for the future. Keep dreaming. Keep living. Keep loving.