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“I’m a 14 year old gay (bi?) girl and i go to a sleepaway camp for most of the summer. My problem is that I dont want to hide my sexuality from the girls in my cabin, but I worry because we shower/ swim/change in front of each other, and while im not going to be looking at any of them, i worry that theyll think I am. It seems easiest to hide it, but I dont think I can do that. I desperately want to go back to hike and enjoy myself, even if the girls arent the nicest. Do you have any advice? thanks”

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

Here’s the thing. You aren’t going to be checking everyone out in the showers, you aren’t going to be staring at everyone wearing a swimsuit, and you aren’t going to wait around for someone to change in front of you… you just AREN’T. You never were going to be doing any of that and you’ll move forward with no plans to do any of it.

In fact, I’m willing to bet that the girls who don’t want to be making out with other girls will look at one another WAY MORE than you will look at any of them. They’ll be comparing their bodies, checking out everyone’s swim suits, asking about bras, etc.

I think you should do what makes you feel most comfortable. If you’re only comfy being out to a few close friends and you trust them, go that route. If you feel cool being “out and proud” and suggesting a fun night of like coming out around the campfire, DO IT. If you don’t want to be out because you’re there to hike and camp and do crafts and dance and eat smores… don’t be out! It’s a part of who you are, but it isn’t ALL of who you are, and it is 100000% up to you whether or not you want to be out.

It sounds to me like you want to be out, so I think you should. Talk to a few people you feel comfortable with, make sure you have some folks on your side. ALSO, if anyone is like “i dont want to shower near her bc she’s gay” you can just be like “yea, I don’t want to shower near her either bc she’s straight” and then roll your eyes and walk away.

Kristin Says:

Yup yup yupppppp. I remember being TERRIFIED to come out to my college roommates for the exact same reasons. I was convinced that if I told them I was gay they would feel uncomfortable living with me and think that instead of friendship I actually wanted bone-ship, you know? Nothing I did would have given them that idea… and truthfully nothing they did signaled that they would make such a drastic, sweeping assumption. None of that mattered, though, because my brain, the little devil that it is, had plenty of its own ideas.

It is so, so scary to think that others might make assumptions about you and feel uncomfortable just being in your presence. However, no matter what the outcome is, imagining what it MIGHT be like is almost always much, much worse than what it ACTUALLY winds up being like. I agree with Dannielle’s feeling from your words — it sounds like you really want to be out. My gut says that you are going to come out and your friends and the majority, if not all, of the other campers are going to love and accept you and at most make jokes in an attempt to let you know everything is totally okay. If you do have a few stragglers/strugglers, I want you to do your best at reminding yourself that their issues are their issues, not yours. In this scenario I fully support the rolling-your-eyes tactic to let everyone know that you’re over it and they should be, too.

If it makes it easier, come out armed and ready by saying:

“I wanted to come out to you all but was convinced you’d think I was checking you out in the showers so I have prepared a speech. I am [gay/bi/whatever] and don’t flatter yourselves because I only have eyes for Demi Lovato and 70% of the clones on Orphan Black.”

This gives everyone a chance to laugh, including you, and a GREAT next topic which is OMG ORPHAN BLACK WHO IS UR FAVE CLONE OMG.

…You’ve got this.

(Also, sidebar: I went on a hike in LA and almost got eaten by a rattlesnake so BE CAREFUL.)

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