"Is it really worth it coming out in high school? Currently, I’m 14, and I realize I am interested in girls. But it seems like high school is when the most ..damage happens. I hear college is better, much more accepting. I know it seems stupid to ask, because you’d have to hide yourself and what’s the point in that and all. But if it meant saving myself from bullying.. then I’d be complete open to it…"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
Damn this is tough.
If I was in this position when I was in high school I absolutely would not have said anything. When I was in high school, I was shy, awkward, confused and scared. Coming out would have just added to the fear and I would have felt completely isolated REGARDLESS of how my fellow scholars reacted. They could look me in the eye and tell me they were totally cool with it and supported me and I still would have felt terrified and stupid. That has everything to do with ME though, and how I felt when I was younger.
If I were the person I am now, but sent back to high school, I would absolutely come out. I would maybe receive some hate for it, but it would be worth it to me. It would be worth the name calling to be open enough so that the folks younger than me or even in my year would know they are not alone. I think that is one of the most incredible gifts you can give another person, the knowledge that they are not the only one struggling. You can move mountains with that shit.
Sooooo, here I am at a place where I literally am not giving you any advice. It is a lot easier to discover who you are and grow as a person in college. I actually didn’t become who I’m going to be for the rest of my life until long after I graduated college. Once you understand all/most of your feelings, they’re a lot easier to talk about and a lot easier to feel comfy about. The last thing I want you to do is come out because Kristin and Dannielle told you to, you know? I want you to come out whenever you feel best about you. Who you may or may not love one day is no one’s business but your own. You’re not hiding yourself, you’re just taking the time to understand who you are, and that is totally okay.
This is truthfully 100% dependent on who you are as a person, and what your heart is telling you to do. What something is “worth” is completely relative to your position in life at this very moment, and so this isn’t something for which we can give you a simple answer.
If you are someone who feels a fight inside your belly, and you want others to know who you are or who you love so that a needed dialogue is sparked at your school, then I imagine you would already have your answer, and you would be joining or starting up a GSA and ‘coming out’ to anyone who crossed your path. That decision, however, isn’t the “right” way to act on your personal feelings – that is one of many ways that we process our identity, and there are so many others.
If you are someone who is very close to a small group of people at your school, or to your family, and it hurts you to not be able to share yourself with them, then perhaps you want to tell a select few people about your thoughts and yourself, but not share that with the general public. That, too, is completely acceptable and you should never feel bad for not wanting to use your own life experience and identity to fight a larger battle. That isn’t a requirement just because you are gay or bi or trans.
And… guess what? If you are in a place where you would rather explore who you are without sharing that with anyone at the moment, that also is completely understandable. You can write in your journal or think about things in your own time or listen to a million records while doodling in your notebook and contemplating life, and still hang out with your friends and laugh together over how awkward your health teacher was when she had to say penis 12 times during class last week.
The bottom line is: no one should ever make you feel that you must ‘come out’ to anyone. You can tell one person, or six, or four hundred about who you are, or you can take your time and experience things further before you decide what is best for you. Listen to that heart of yours. If it is hurting because you feel so alone in your thoughts, then maybe it is time to talk to your closest friends. If it is confused but working on its journey and you feel okay about that, then you can wait until whenever you damn well please to tell whoever you damn well please. Cool?
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