PRIDE
PRIDE via The New York Times

Writing Your Own Coming Out Story

I’ve always expressed myself best through words. Writing can help you make sense of your most confusing thoughts, confront your worst fears, and express your most complicated feelings. It can also inspire bravery. All of this was true for me on National Coming Out Day three years ago. Putting my coming out story into writing allowed me to do something I never thought possible: share it with the world.

 

 

If you’re looking for a platform to do the same, the first recommendation I can make is from personal experience. Outsports embraces the tagline “Courage is Contagious.” I’ve lived by these words ever since Outsports published my story. The platform is a subsidiary of Vox Media and focuses on LGBTQ2IA+ inclusion and visibility in sport. Besides posting news articles that cover sports through a queer lens, Outsports provides a safe space for athletes to come to terms with their identities. Underneath the “Coming Out Stories” heading, there are countless articles from folks like me. Though our sports, backgrounds, and labels are often different, we share the same goal: we were ready to take a leap of faith and be visible. The people behind Outsports also couldn’t be more genuine. Throughout the entire process of writing and editing your story, they’ll ensure that it remains 100% authentic to you. So, for any fellow athletes out there, I can say with the utmost confidence that this is a remarkable way to become your full self.

 

lgbt art print

LGBTQ+ ART print via printstall on etsy

 

My next recommendation is also dear to my heart. Start the Wave was founded by Dominique Provost-Chalkley, the actress behind Wynonna Earp’s beloved Waverly Earp. Besides being an incredibly brilliant researcher and historian, talented linguist, and all around bada$s, Waverly also serves as incredibly important representation for queer women. You get to witness her entire coming out arc—from the first moments of questioning to her ultimately accepting and embracing her sexuality. It makes it all the more beautiful when she falls head over heels in love with Nicole Haught. The couple, penned #Wayhaught, is one of the best queer relationships I’ve ever seen on television. The massive following and support they gained ultimately helped both actresses come to terms with themselves. On her 30th birthday, Provost-Chalkley came out as queer and launched Start the Wave. The non-profit organization is “focused on empowering and supporting projects that create positive change worldwide.” Some of their notable areas include equality, environment, animal rights, and LGBTQ2IA+. They accept “Rainbow Waves” and post them to their community board. You can scroll through hundreds of coming out stories. Some reflect on the first time they questioned their gender or sexuality. Others are a proud declaration of self. And, some reinvent labels to be more representative of just themselves. As these examples show, Start the Wave is a platform where anyone can join the movement to inspire change.

Coming Out is unique because the stories are archived by keywords. Through the drop-down menu, you can search for stories posted via location, age, and in written or video format. You can also filter them by the genders and sexualities named, which religious denominations are mentioned, and the racial and/or Hispanic backgrounds of the authors. Finally, you can filter by type: coming out to yourself, family, friends, spouse, teammates, and more. These categories are by no means mutually exclusive; you can apply more than one to your story because Coming Out recognizes that people often hold intersectional identities. These specific search options are important because they allow you to find someone who looks like you. That can make all the difference.

 

Enamel Pins

Enamel Pins via NightOwlPaperGoods on Etsy

 

When I Came Out is my final recommendation. It slightly differs from the rest in that the 2100+ stories are posted in the form of a scrolling list of speech bubbles that offer insight into what comes next after coming out. The platform asks “what happened?” after “you took that brave step and said, ‘This is who I am.’” The stories can be filtered by gender or sexual identity, or they can be read as a whole. Coming out can be terrifying because no matter what you predict, you can never truly know what the response will be. Some stories are funny, others are heartbreaking, and many will move you. Reading these entries has helped me broaden my perspective outside of my own lived experience and subsequently serve as a better ally to others in the LGBTQ2IA+ community. Whether you’ve already come out or are seeking reassurance from your fellow queer folk, When I Came Out is a space that provides both and more.

Regardless of whether or not any of these platforms speak to you, please remember one thing: this is your story. Tell it on your own terms. We are here, and we celebrate you.

Feature image via The New York Times