Coming Out / At School

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"What do you think about 'coming out' in personal statements and things of that nature? I'm applying to Grad school to be a counselor and my ultimate goal is to work with LGBT youth, so it is relevant but I don't know if it's a good idea to mention it and risk discrimination from whoever may be reading it."

-Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

I can nearly guarantee you will not have an enjoyable experience at a school where your entrance essay is judged harshly based on how you identify or who you like to make out with… you know what I mean?

I think you should do it. I think things happen the way they’re meant to, or at least, things will happen the way they happen and we have every ability to make the best of those things. If you submit the best essay you’ve ever written and the person reading decides they hate it because it’s a little queer, then the right person is not reading your essay.

Have a back up, have two back ups, hell have three back ups! You won’t want to compromise yourself and your writing for a school. Compromising now means compromising for the next 4 years.

Write the best fucking thing you’ve ever written, if it happens to be queer, awesome. If it isn’t even a tiny bit queer, cool. Just write what you want to write and feel good about it, the rest will work itself out.

Kristin Says:

Do you want to know something that I think is pretty fucking cool? This March, Dannielle and I are going to be speaking at a conference for high school guidance counselors. The whole purpose of our discussion with these guidance counselors is to give them more information for working with their queer and trans students in situations exactly like the one you are having. The sentiments that Dannielle is sharing above are going to be a key part of the conversation.

I think coming out in a personal statement, if that is what is ringing in your ears and mind and heart when you sit down to write, is absolutely what you should do. Fuck the admissions office that would ever look at an honest reflection on an important facet of your identity and deny your admission because of that facet. Yes, the admissions office is not a reflection of the entire campus… but it is still a part of that campus, and if they don’t want you, they DO NOT DESERVE YOU.

I could flip at least three tables in my house over the anger I feel at even thinking of that possibility, and so should you.

You should always be encouraged to be who you are and to speak clearly and confidently about your journey, and to expect to be met with respect. Will it always happen? No, sadly it will not. However, the more people who stand together and say, “This is who I am. This is my journey. I deserve a space here on your campus/in your office/in this world,” the more powerful that chorus becomes, and the more the world has to listen.

I KNOW I GOT REALLY FIERY AND I KNOW THIS WAS ABOUT COLLEGE ESSAYS BUT YOU GUYS EVERYTHING IS A MICROCOSM OF EVERYTHING ELSE AND IT IS ALL CONNECTED AND YOU WRITE THAT GODDAMN ESSAY THE WAY YOU WANT GODDAMMIT.

YOU ARE A PERSON AND YOU ARE THE BEST.

*flips fourth table*

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Sidebar: You should check out CampusPride for help in searching through LGBTQ friendly campuses. Also, if you have written your college essay on your queer or trans identity/coming-out experience, etc, email us at info (at) everyoneisgay (dot) com… we’d love to have your input on that March panel I mentioned!!

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"I’m considering coming out to my hockey team, but I’m afraid I’m going to make the other girls uncomfortable. My team seems accepting enough, but I don’t know how they will feel about changing in front of me. I want to ask my coach, who played for this team last year and is openly gay, about her experience, but I don’t really know her very well. How should I approach this? Should I ask my coach or should I figure it out on my own?"

-Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

I think you should totally talk to your coach. I started with a short answer in case you don’t feel like reading today, which I totally get. HERE ARE MORE THOUGHTS FROM ME:

As an OPENLY GAY MY OWNSELF, I have been in a few situations where someone I went to college with, or worked with or, what-have-you, has reached out to me to talk about gay feels. Every time this has happened, I’ve felt (a) honored that they trust and respect me enough to ask for my opinion and (b) hopeful that I say all the right things.

I think most people in your coach’s position feel the exact same way. Sure, you don’t know her that well, BUT you know her well enough to know that she may have some stellar advice. She’s been in your exact situation and AUTOMATICALLY has insight, she is so prepared for this conversation. Plus, something my dad has been trying to teach me for years: people love to help. People WANT to help you, they just don’t know how until you ask. So, ANONYMOUSE, you should ask. It always helps when someone has your back, you know?

Kristin Says:

Absolutely talk to your coach.

Also, I think Dannielle and I can both understand why you are feeling torn between the place of being open and honest about yourself, and also scared that you will make others uncomfortable. I think that most of us go through that in some form when we come out to our friends… and it definitely feels extra complicated when those friends are people who you are so intimately involved with on a day-to-day basis. I was absolutely terrified to come out to my college roommates, because I knew that after I came out to them, they’d still have to be in the room with me when they changed clothes, slept, ordered pizza, etc… and I felt awful about compromising that environment.

The same thing is facing you — it can be so, so scary to think that your honesty and openness could ever be a catalyst for the discomfort of others. The truth of the matter is, however, that your desire to come out means that you are feeling uncomfortable hiding who you are. So, the solution is the one you already have your eyes set on: talk to your coach, have a game plan, and tell your team in the way that makes you most comfortable.

I would suggest also looking at some other resources, like GLSEN’s Changing the Game, in case you or your coach decide that there is a need to make those resources available to your teammates. There’s a good chance that your coach having your back will give you the extra confidence you need, and that your team will be proud of you for being strong enough to be yourself. If that isn’t exactly the way things play out, though, use those resources and your coach’s support to help bridge the divide between the coming-out moment and a place of support and understanding.

Questions like this make me feel so thankful for people like Michael Sam and Megan Rapinoe and Jason Collins and all the other openly gay athletes out there… this world is changing, you guys. I know sometimes it’s hard to focus on that, but goddamn… it really is.

Also… if you’re still reading this, I have an idea. Are you out as LGBTQ on your sports team? If you are, will you send us a picture of you and your team to info (at) everyoneisgay (dot) com? I think it would be pretty awesome and helpful for people who are in a similar position to ANONYMOUSE, here, to see sports teams across the country/world who support and love their LGBTQ teammates.

<3<3<3

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"How do I come out at summer camp?"

-Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

OKAY WELL. If you want to do something fun. I would wait until you’re all sitting around a campfire and I would be like “I have a ghost story,” and when handed the flashlight I would go “oooohhhOOOOOOOhhh i’m a gayyyyoooooohhh” and then when everyone gave me a super weird look I’d be like “sorry that wasn’t a good story, but legit I am a gay.”

Either they will laugh and you will have new BFFEs or they will not laugh and you will know that your summer camp is a total bust.

SERIOUSLY THO, chances are you aren’t the only gay at summer camp and everyone else is wondering the same thing. I always try to find one or two people that I can connect with and start there. There isn’t really a reason for everyone to know all your business, but if you feel more comfortable just being totally open with all of the people THEN YOU SHOULD JUST JUMP IN HEAD FIRST LIKE YOU DO WITH WATER #summercampstuff

You seem to really want to come out, which is awesome and I think you should. Because like, YOLO!! When you look back on summer camp, you won’t regret being totally open about who you are, but you MIGHT regret if you decide not to be, you know?

Kristin Says:

HAHAHAHA “oooohhhOOOOOOOhhh i’m a gayyyyoooooohhh” is the best ghost story ever written.

This really, truly depends on who you are as a person. If you are going into camp not knowing too many people and you are worried that there may be some humans who are less-than-cool about it, then absolutely take your time. Feel out the situation and when you start forming relationships with people, then you can be honest with them as a friend, instead of just being like, “Hi nice to meet you, love those khaki shorts, I’m totally gay.” (all people at summer camp wear khaki shorts).

If you are totally feeling it and just want to be like BLAM I’M GAY MOVING RIGHT ALONG, you could do what I would probably do, and when I walked into my CAMPER ROOM (you guys where do people sleep in camp, I don’t know anything), I’d plop my suitcase on my bed and be like, “Nice to meet you all, I can’t wait to toast marshmallows with you. Also, I am totally gay but like calm your shit because I have no intentions of looking at your boobies. WHO’S READY FOR ZIPLINING AMIRITE?!”

#marshmallows #ziplines #khakishorts #campanawanna

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Hey! So I go to this very feminist, all-girls, alternative, private school and I hate how the school is stereotyped by the genersl public as a school of lesbians. I think I am gay but now I’m not sure if I should come out and feed into these stereotypes. What should I do?!?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

omg. When I was in college all my friends were like ‘watch out, sophomore year is when everyone turns gay’ and I was like ‘whaatevvveer i have a boyyyfrienddd’ and then my sophomore year I totally turned gay… I mean, I don’t believe that people ‘turn gay’ or that my sophomore year really had anything to do with it, but at the time I WAS PISSED. I hate when stereotypes are right and when I’m a part of a large clump without even ASKING TO BE. So, i feel you.

BUT ALSO, I’ve learned to embrace that shit. Hard. Nowadays, I just joke along with it because at the end of the day who really cares, you know? When people are like ‘oh you go to LESBO-VERSITY, isn’t that where all the girls are super gay’ you should literally just point to your face and yell ‘GUILTY’ and then they’ll laugh. It’s not really about why you’re gay or when you’re gay or where you’re gay… it’s about being you and being comfortable and being able to make jokes. All anyone wants to do at the end of the day is laugh, so just laugh, accept that you’re accidentally a total stereotype, shrug your shoulders and drink a coconut water.

Kristin Says:

Yeah, dude. Here’s the thing: I, too, totally feel you. I fucking hate nothing more than when someone is like, “Oh, you? I know who you are. You like girls so you probably hate boys and you certainly don’t eat meat, RIGHT?!” It makes me want to grab the nearest boy and make-out with him while eating a cheeseburger.

I am not a goddamn stereotype. I am a complex person with lots of feelings and you don’t know who I am just because of one or two elements that align with what you expect.

ROAR.

That all said… some stereotypes do align with a tiny bit of truth. There probably are more “lesbians” at your school then you’d find at a conservative school – and not because you are different people, but because it sounds like you are encouraged to explore who you are and to think about life with an open mind. That kind of experience allows for a much, much greater range of experience.

Come out, joke about it when it feels comfortable and talk about it when it bothers you. I promise, aligning on one level with a stereotype does not take away your complexities as a human.

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"im still in the closet and i was wondering how to not go bright red with embarrassment every time im in the girls changing rooms at school, it’s like, everyone eles is talking and geting changed and i’m just stood in the corner going bright red and looking at the ground with my friends asking why i’m so embarrassed."

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

Liiiiiiiiiiisten. I know you’re in a room full of girls taking their clothes off, but just remember that a most girls with their clothes off are just as lame as they are with their clothes on. YOUKNOWWHATIMEAN?! It’s not like you have a crush on them all, and even if you do have a crush on one or two of ‘em, it’s not like they’re taking their shirt off and dancin on you.

Here’s what I think you should do, when getting dressed with 65 other people remember these key items:
1. Everyone is gay*
2. Everyone is an idiot
3. Everyone forgets to wear cute underwear ALL THE TIME.

Now that you know your key items, I will walk you through a changing session (that sounds so weird). You go into the locker rooms and girls are talking about PrettyLittleLiars and chewing sour patch kids and BOOM REMEMBER THEY’RE ALL SUPER GAY SO THEY FEEL WEIRD TOO…You continue to walk to your locker stall and you over hear two girls arguing because one of them got nail polish on the other’s coat pocket and BOOM REMEMBER THEY ARE ALL IDIOTS…you’re putting on your gym shorts and you look down and realize you’re wearing granny-panties that say ‘Friday’ (p.s. today is wednesday) and you look to your friend who is wearing undies that sag right at the butt part and say ‘sugar mama’ and BOOM REMEMBER THAT EVERYONE FORGETS TO WEAR CUTE UNDERWEAR ALL THE TIME…

We are all a bunch of dummies swimming in a sea of weirdness, you know?

*you guys, i dont think everyone is actually gay, but YOU GET THE POINT.

Kristin Says:

I think Dannielle is on to something with the idea that you should probably try to re-imagine what is happening in the locker room, but I am going to give you an alternate list of three things. Feel free to MIX AND MATCH.

1. Remember that just because you are gay doesn’t mean that you like to ogle every girl in the locker room, and that you talking to a girl in her underroos will not make you seem like you want to totally bone her. Human beings look at the bodies of other human beings in so many different ways – and unless you are smashing your whole eyeballs into other girls boobs in the locker room, no one is going to think anything of it AT ALL. Plus, girls who like boys still look at the bodies of other girls, we are all CURIOUS PEOPLE. If someone says to you (and this won’t happen but just in case) “Why did you just look at my boob, OGLENONYMOUS?” you can just respond, “OMG because did you get that bra at Forever 21??” Tadaaaaaa. Boob-crisis averted.

2. Sing the Flinstones Theme Song in your head over and over again. It is really, really catchy and fun to sing to yourself, so it will keep your brain in a happy place where people drive dinosaurs as cars instead of in a scary place where girls think you are looking at their hoo-has. If you get distracted remember that YOU AREN’T EVEN LOOKING AT THEIR HOOHAS YOU ARE JUST IN GYM CLASS AND CHANGING. (That was how you should mentally shout at yourself).

3. Know that you can say you are ‘embarrassed’ because of your own privacy issues! If you are still going red like a tomato in the hot July sun, and your friends ask you why, just laugh a little and tell them that you were raised in a totally non-naked house and so it is hard for you to be comfortable shedding all of your layers in front of a bunch of other humans. I promise you that you are not wearing a big sign that says “GAYWAD” with a neon arrow pointing to your head… being a little naked-shy is a totally and COMPLETELY understandable thing. Plus, then you can all collectively make fun of the red blotches on your face and laugh together. Being embarrassed doesn’t have to be the worst thing, it can be totally adorable and endearing.

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