Storytelling changes hearts and minds. Every coming out story is unique, but they are each a part of the beautiful, messy, aching process of looking for affirmation and acceptance from those we love the most. For Coming Out Day, we asked Trevor staff to share their journeys with the world in 100 words.
Remember that everyone comes out at their own pace, and sometimes only to themselves. Out and proud or just beginning your journey — both are equally valid.
Here are some selected 100-word coming out stories:
I told my mom I had to tell her something while watching “Desperate Housewives.” She said, “as long as you’re not going to tell me you’re gay.” Proudly, I replied “I’m gay.” And then we went back to watching the adventures of Wisteria Lane. When I told my father, he said, “how could you know you’re gay unless you date a woman?” I said, “how could you know you’re straight, unless you’ve dated a guy?” After the initial bumps, my parents have expressed their support for their proud gay son who came out when “Desperate Housewives” was popular. – Anonymous
My coming out has been a journey of language. I explained the word “queer” to my parents on an autumn night in high school and promised the barbs they heard in that syllable were music to me. In 2020, after the world ground to a rigid pause, I attempted to squeeze the nebula of my gender into “nonbinary.” Maybe it was the crunchy reception, but my mother thought my sexuality was taking on stranger descriptors. Now these terms and more are all in the lexicon of me that we are building together in an act of love that outshines words. – Anonymous
Small town, narrow views, and my dark closet. He was the first queer person I met. New to town and different. He showed me that different is beautiful. I said I was queer for the first time with him, sitting on a river bank. I told my parents and my sister-in-law after seeing how much they loved him. Over a decade of coming out, and he went from best friend to partner. He held my hand while I told the world, and he held my hand when we said “I do.” My closet is full of clothes now. I’ve been freed. – Anonymous
Coming out to my friends was easy. I talked. They listened. And now they ask me after every date if that person is going to be “the one.”
Coming out to those I thought were my friends was hard. They told me it wasn’t okay and that they were disappointed. Glimmers of disgust.
Telling my parents was easy. After they told me I was going to hell with gasoline pants we went to counseling and now we do Thanksgivings together and my dad wears pride socks.
Telling my siblings consisted of a group text with supportive emojis, kisses, and sarcastic support systems.
It’s easy. It’s hard. It’s everything and more. I never regret it. – Anonymous
There was one high school friend I hadn’t come out to — a stoic, Catholic MMA fighter. When my high school friends visited during my freshman year of college, I knew I had to tell him. I waited until the end of the night at a karaoke bar. He was being hotly pursued by one of my girl friends “Val” so I pulled him away and finally told him. He didn’t know what to say, so he kissed me (very platonically!) but Val saw this and told me to never speak to her again. We all remain great friends to this day. – Anonymous
When a character on TV said her husband died of pancreatic cancer, I thought, “That sounds nice.” I told my husband of 18 years; his only response was “Okay.” A deep dread of loneliness settled in my chest, next to the passive death wishes, atop the lifetime of unnamed gender dysphoria. Consumed by the hopelessness of the status quo, I allowed myself the mental image of injecting my first dose of testosterone. A bright, vivid lightness, a promise of peace I’d never known, broke through the tangled weight and reformed into tears of joy. I let me live. – Anonymous
First day of 7th Grade: I walk into homeroom and lay eyes on “Matt Tennis.” Two things occur to me. The first thing was that girls are gonna love Matt Tennis. Secondly, that girls are going to have such HUGE crushes on Matt Tennis. Everyday I walk into homeroom, I think the same two things. Firstly, I’m “girls.” Secondly, “girls” are going to crush so hard on Matt Tennis. – Anonymous
Ryan Bernsten is the Senior Managing Editor at The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Get-Help, or by texting START to 678-678.