1. "I'm 15 years old now, and I came out as bisexual when I was 12. I knew that girls were always in the picture, and I guess I was a bit unsure about guys. Unfortunately, I was forced to come out to my family after I reached out to my teacher about some name-calling in my class. She emailed my mom and told her about what my peers were saying to me (which was a bunch of anti-gay slurs). Then, when I was 14, I came out as a lesbian because I was really into this girl and I thought that maybe I was only into girls, but now I am unlabeled, and I am the most comfortable I have ever felt in my life. I feel like I can just date whoever I want, and it won't really define my sexuality. I came out to my family three times, and every time, they were supportive. I've never felt as if I couldn't tell them anything — I'm grateful for the love and support they give me."
2. "We knew our son was gay when he was a young boy — at 13 he told us, 'Hey, I'm gay,' and we responded with, 'We know! How are you feeling about it all?' He said he was just fine and didn't have any problems with his friends, but there were a few teachers he felt didn't like him because of how he identified. We offered to intervene whenever he thought it was necessary, support him however he needed to be, and told him we loved him and still thought he was awesome. He now says his childhood was pretty great (yay to him for being true to who he is and making sure he's treated as nothing less than what he deserves). He's in medical school now studying to be an oncologist, doing REALLY well, and even has a boyfriend we absolutely adore (so I get a bonus son!). His boyfriend was treated horribly as a child when he came out, but now we get to call him ours — so their loss is our gain."
"Having a gay son is literally one of the best things that's ever happened to me. He jokes that he’s never even been in the closet, but acknowledges that almost all of his LGBTQ friends have had hard roads met with disapproval and sometimes even violence. We’ve taken in a few of his friends who fled from bad situations, and we are honored to be considered a 'safe haven.'"
3. "When I was about 13 or 14 years old, my friends were talking about their straight crushes and asked me if I liked anyone. I was careful to use gender-neutral terms so I wouldn’t out myself. However, my best friend caught on and later asked me if I liked a girl. I was terrified to answer because everyone I knew was really anti-gay, and I was scared she might be as well. She then told me she liked girls too! She was the first person I came out to."
4. "I did a research project for my high school English class where you had to discuss an issue you'd advocate for. I ended up doing my project about transgender people, and during the research process, I watched a video of a transgender man's journey. He started testosterone and went through top and bottom surgery — it was then I realized the idea of me having a penis wouldn't upset me in the slightest. I always felt like a boy inside and related to everything they did — I started to consider identifying as trans and told my former therapist. She gave me an exercise where I described how I felt about my gender, and she declared me genderfluid. She didn't plant the identification into my head, because I was already thinking this — she just confirmed what I'd been thinking about for weeks and was doubtful to say out loud."
"No one made me feel invalid except myself — I didn't think I was actually trans because I didn't experience gender dysphoria as traumatically as my trans friends did. I'd only ever known trans people who grew up in intolerant environments where they weren't free to express themselves. I still struggle with self-doubt, but I've realized that identifying as genderfluid means that the gender is FLUID! There were days I only wanted to be a boy, but now I'm feeling the exact opposite — I've been more in touch with my feminine side, like wearing a dress and makeup for the prom."
—Juliet LaBella, Facebook
5. "I came out when I was 14, but it was a bit of a surprise to me as well. I had finally accepted myself and wanted to tell my mom, but I was nervous, even though I knew she would accept me. I was actually taking a BuzzFeed quiz that would reveal my celeb wife, and I yelled to my sister excitedly that I got Kristen Stewart (because who wouldn't be excited?). My mom turned around and asked me if I was gay — I hadn't expected this at all. So I stuttered, 'Um, I like both,' and she just smiled. I always tell my friends this story because it was so unexpected, and kind of a perfect way to come out."
6. "As soon as I moved from Mississippi to California at 12 years old, I met openly LGBTQ kids my age. I did more research, since I always knew I wasn’t straight, and when I read about identifying as transgender, something in me just clicked. I looked at myself in the mirror for a long time and said, 'I'm actually a boy. That’s the disconnect I’ve been feeling.' I told my friend, who supported me, and I eventually told my parents — they were extremely supportive, and immediately called me Nathan and respected my he/him pronouns. I had never felt more comfortable with myself. I started testosterone my sophomore year of high school around age 15 — my dad is an orthopedic surgeon, so he was kind enough to give me my shots. It was a small gesture, but it meant everything to me."
"I’m 23 now and just celebrated the three-year anniversary of my top surgery. Being myself has made me so happy, and having supportive parents really got me through the scary beginning stages. I’m now a happy and healthy trans adult."
7. "It was really low-key for me. At some point during puberty, I realized that I pretty consistently had crushes on both boys and girls, but I was raised in a conservative, ultra-heteronormative environment. I knew what it meant to be gay, but I had no idea it was possible to be attracted to multiple genders. Needless to say, I was confused AF for years until halfway through high school, and I spent time with queer people. One day I heard the term 'bisexual' while hanging out with some friends, and it was as if a light bulb went on in my head. I blurted out, 'WAIT, THAT'S A REAL THING???' and my friends were like, 'Yeah???' I responded with, 'Oh! That explains so much!!! I'm bisexual!' and everyone was just like, 'Oh, okay — cool.'"
"I never had a big coming-out announcement — it just came up casually to everyone else over the years (I didn't say a word to my parents until adulthood). But man, that was one of the most exciting days of my life, hearing that term and realizing that that's what was going on with me."
8. "Ever since my child was 3 years old, she said she was a girl. Her father and I just looked at each other and said, 'Okay,' and she's identified as a girl ever since. She's 7 years old now and is learning that people like her identify as transgender (I can't stand people who say that young trans people are 'confused'). My daughter has never been confused about herself — she's a beautiful and amazing girl."
9. "I came out to my mom by accident. She kept using gender-neutral terms for my partners and kept saying stuff like, 'Your future spouse.' I texted my friend (who was one of the few people who knew at the time that I was gay) and told her about it and said, 'I think she knows.' I got a text back that said, 'Yeah, I know.' It turned out I wasn't texting my friend — I was accidentally texting my mom! Naturally I freaked out and said, 'That wasn't for you!!!' but it was past the point. She was super okay with it and had obviously known for a while — so it was a relief. My mom loves my girlfriend now :)."
10. "I knew I liked boys in seventh grade — two years later, when I got to high school, there were a couple of guys who were out and my guard went down a bit. By the end of my first semester, I was ready to say I was bi, testing the waters and giving myself an exit just in case I was 'rebuffed' by my peers. Shortly into the second half of ninth grade, I was in love with a boy on the swim team, and shortly thereafter, I came out. At 15, I was out of the closet and became one of the more visibly out, queer students on campus. For the remainder of high school, anytime students had questions about their sexuality, they would always try to find a way to speak with me. Although it annoyed me at the time, I always tried to be someone they could be themselves with."
11. "My daughter came out at 10 years old — at first I thought, How could she know when she's so young? But then I remembered all of my crushes on boys when I was her age. How could I say that my crushes on boys were any different from her crushes on girls? She was worried I'd have a problem with it, but I told her about how badly I wanted to get pregnant with her and how much I loved her when she was in my belly, and that all the love I felt for her would never change just because she liked girls. I look forward to the day when she grows up and finds a woman to spend the rest of her life with, to have the kind of love that her father and I have. I can't understand how parents refuse to 'accept' their children because of their sexuality — the overwhelming love I have for my children can never be changed. I hope for a future where everyone can love whom they love, and it won’t be a big deal."
12. "I was on the playground basketball court at school with my friends, and we ended up talking about our futures — you know, growing up and getting married. One of my friends asked me what kind of husband I'd want, and automatically I just said, 'You mean my wife?' One of my friends already knew I identified as a lesbian, but the rest of them just stopped and looked at me in complete shock. I just started laughing, dribbling the basketball, when they asked, 'What do you mean by 'wife'?' I responded by saying, 'Did you not know? Look at me!' and I pointed down to my sweatpants and hoodie. A few days later, one of my friends kept telling me, 'I never thought you were like that,' and I laughed in her face every single time."
13. "This is how it went down. Me: 'Hey, Mom, I'm bisexual.' My mom: 'Me too.' Me: 'REALLY?!' And then she baked me a rainbow sprinkles cake! As for my partner, he didn't have to come out to me and my other friends as bisexual — he had the biggest crush on Prince Sidon from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild."
14. "My daughter didn't have to come out to us — we always made it clear that it didn't matter to us. So when she started talking about girls, the conversation was exactly the same as when she had talked about boys. She was outed at school without consent (that's another story for another day), but she's not bitter about it. She says it made her face herself and make choices she was avoiding — she's been herself ever since, living without any shame."
15. "I was 4 years old watching Grey’s Anatomy with my mom every Saturday night — I heard the word 'bisexual' and later asked my grandma and sister about it. They told me what it meant, and I instantly pictured myself marrying Izzie Stevens, or even Alice Cullen from the Twilight movies. I also came out as nonbinary at 13 years old in English class in front of everyone. It was great!"