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    65 Before And After Coming Out Of The Closet Pictures That Show Just How Powerful LGBTQ People Are

    Because something *magical* happens when LGBTQ people come out of the closet.

    In honor of National Coming Out Day, we asked the BuzzFeed Community to show us their coming out of the closet "gay glow-up," and here are some of my favorites from this week and years past.

    1. "Surprisingly, coming out of the closet meant making moves away from the V-neck shirts." β€”esoken

    from v necks and fishing to cool city skyline pic

    2. "Six years out and thriving." β€”Ash

    from at the dance to cool haircut and lots of tats

    3. "In the closet...

    a person wearing athletic shorts and a flannel shirt

    "...out of the closet." β€” sleepinggiant94

    the same person wearing a floral turtleneck with a cardigan and dyed pink hair

    4. "16 vs. 26, Green Day vs. Madonna." β€”michaela71

    awkward vs full face of makeup looking fab

    5. "Boom. Three years of YouTube makeup tutorials, opening the closet door, and adapting plaid into my wardrobe." β€”breyonnamorgan

    a girl dressed formally for prom; the same woman wearing a flannel top and professional-looking makeup and hair

    6. "Before coming out as bisexual and non-binary...

    a person wearing a tank top and athletic shorts

    ...and after." β€”sgatchell

    a person standing with two horses and wearing flannel shirt and pants

    7. "Quite a transformation I’d like to say." #GayGloUp β€”ajj

    from awkward american eagle boy to gay cop

    8. "All my life I’ve felt beat down. I battled brain cancer, hence the baldness, but I am the happiest queer you could imagine. I am in touch with my mind, my body, and my queerness, and I would never change that." β€”ChipBuzz

    a teenage boy wearing jeans and a t-shirt; a man with a chest tattoo wearing a zebra print suit

    9. "I joined the Air Force when I was 18 to serve my country and to be a police officer. I thought the lifestyle would make me act like a 'man.' Ten years later, I’m out of the closet, loved by my wingmen, and I learned what a real man really is." β€”Cody

    a teenager smiling and wearing a polo shirt; a man smiling in a tux with Air Force jacket

    10. "Not that I quite knew yet that I was trans, but as a teenager and young adult, I struggled with the discomfort of having to perform femininity because I thought that's what was expected of me. Now, in my 30s, I have been out of the closet for about seven years and couldn't be happier." β€”padawanryan

    a girl in a short tank top and jeans; a guy in a t-shirt and cool short haircut

    11. "The 'before' me tried bangs and heavy eyeliner and had no idea she was bisexual. The 'after' me has no time for makeup (most of the time), smiles more authentically, and is proud to be a bisexual female dating a man no matter who tries to put her in a box!!!" β€”Olivia

    a girl smiling with bangs; the same girl smiling and looking confident

    12. "From an awkward performing arts kid to a proud pansexual queen with the best partner ever." β€”Alexa

    a girl smiling awkwardly; the same girl grown up with a cool haircut looking badass

    13. "2008 versus 2018. I wore striped tights literally all the time, and somehow my family was still stunned when I came out as bi?!" β€”Casey

    striped tights to cool in an apple orchard

    14. "I was painfully in the closet and depressed till I was 28 years old. When I came out, I decided to switch my whole life up. I started working out, eating healthy, and living my best open life! I’ve never been happier!" β€”Evan

    from sad to hot gym selfie

    15. "High school freshman deep in the closet versus super-gay college sophomore." β€”Cheyenne

    they have a rainbow shirt on

    16. "What a difference a decade, a coming out, and a haircut can make." β€”Sheldon

    much cooler haircut in the now then the past

    17. "I was scared of not knowing if I was gay and how the world would accept me, full of insecurities; now I am comfortable in my own skin and very happy being part of the LGBTQ community and helping others as much as possible!" β€”ferfornelli

    he's looking very muscular now

    18. "I used to be an awkward, dorky weirdo trying to be as pretty and girly as possible. Now I'm much more comfortable in my own skin." β€”Eleanor

    a huge smile in the now picture

    19. Going from looking like a ninth runner-up on The Bachelor to a fierce bi prideista is a solid glow-up." β€”Hannah

    wearing an eat pussy its organic shirt in the now

    20. "Before realizing I liked girls...(or more like, I wasn't interested in dating and therefore didn't ponder over what gender I was attracted to)." β€”alexnordi01

    a preteen making a heart symbol

    "And now, nine years later. I "came out" (ugh, I hate that term) as lesbian and asexual. And I guess this is me coming out as nonbinary." β€”alexnordi01

    a young woman in cool outfit with dyed red hair

    21. "People in high school were always trying to get me out of my shorts into skirts. I never felt like I was good enough. Since then, I’ve cut my hair off and found a style to fit me, and I’ve never felt better. I’m more confident in myself now, and I’ve never felt more at home in my own skin." β€”Ray

    a teenage girl; the girl wearing glasses and a backwards cap

    22. "I was a total tomboy and totally 'straight' thanks to internalized homophobia; now I'm out-and-proud gay! (And still a total tomboy with better hair!)" β€”Sophie

    theyre beaming now

    23. "From a closeted 15-year-old to a super-gay, super-married 25-year-old. I am more happy, more fulfilled, and more successful than I could possibly have imagined." β€”Tony

    from young and dorky to older and handsome in suits

    24. "Second puberty for the win." β€”arrow1122

    then and now. now a trans man

    25. "Sixteen-year-old me, who wore mostly bigger clothing and a coat no matter how hot it was because I was insecure, versus 26-year-old me, who is out, proud, and loud πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ ." β€”Marcel Walker

    teenager in baggy clothes; same guy but older wearing a Hawaiian shirt with hat and sunglasses

    26. "First one is from right around Father's Day 2016, and the second one is from Mother's Day 2021." β€”Valerie

    a full face of makeup now

    27. "At 17: beauty queen, valedictorian, Mormon, model oldest child. At 27: fat, bisexual, nonbinary, tattooed, rebel auntie (Doc Martens not pictured)." β€”ljeppso

    teenager wearing a pageant crown and sash; person in a goth outfit

    28. "From being in a sorority and hiding, to quitting a sorority and being a proud 'she'/'they' queer." β€”countsk288

    wearing a very cool denim jumper in the now

    29. "In the closet, hiding behind my hair...

    a girl covering her face with long hair

    ...and out of the closet, still rocking the black eyeliner!" β€”yoiink

    short cool haircut

    30. "Prom photo, from when I was 16 and super closeted. I'm now 22 and out and proud as agender/demiboy and queer!" β€”forest_nymph24

    girl in a dress and pearls; person wearing glasses, cool haircut, nose ring

    31. "Cute 3-year-old to awkward 34-year-old." β€”khelmondollar

    from baby to beefcake

    32. "From in the closet at 13 (don’t know how any of us missed the signs there) to being my most authentic me at 30 πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆπŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ." β€”boheezyinak

    awkward teen to confident person

    33. "Not caring what people think of you and a good haircut are the two most essential ingredients to a #GayGlowUp." β€”livefreeordavid

    shy teen; smiling man in a rainbow and black and white jumpsuit

    34. "It’s not really a #gayglowup but a trans one counts too, right?" β€”august2002

    a young girl smiling; now trans man in a nice shirt and nice haircut

    35. "Happier." β€”savannah

    young woman in a dress; same person wearing a suit and looking more confident

    36. "Came out and eyebrows came in #gayglow." β€”cathy

    teenager smiling with thin eyebrows; woman with cool punk look and amazing eyebrows

    37. "Before...

    teenage girl smiling

    ...and after. Still the same person in my core though and always will be β™₯️" β€”chaisisshort

    grown up and looking more confident

    38. "18 years old to 23 years old. Thank the Lord for the gym and for puberty." β€”griffinp3

    young college-age kid smiling; now with full beard and shirt that says, "Hashtag best day ever"

    39. "From awkward 'girl' to happy, proud, bi trans man." β€”maximusprime

    girl giving thumbs up; out and proud trans man

    40. "I was a skinny, sad, closeted guy 10 years ago. I didn't know where I belonged. Now, I know I like the bear scene and also guys!" β€”ferfornelli2

    guy wearing conservative clothes and looking shy; same guy shirtless and more muscular

    41. "From 16 and dating guys for attention and self-esteem boosts to screaming rainbows at Pride and marrying the love of my life #gayglowup." β€”shoshi

    girl taking a selfie; same girl older wearing pride clothes and a shirt saying, "We're engaged"

    42. "20 years and 60 pounds later, I'm far more comfortable with who I am." β€”chaseg2

    young guy giving the finger; man with tattoos and more muscular looking tough

    43. "From shy Catholic school boy to, well, whatever you wanna call it." β€”dagiaaka

    Catholic schoolboy putting his hands up in prayer; young stylish man

    44. "Then vs. now." β€”gabbiehurrellwills

    girl looking weirded out that a guy has his arm around her at a club; girl nuzzling with another woman

    45. "Ditched my long hair, dresses, and my boyfriend and embraced the gay (and got a wonderful girlfriend in the process)." β€”dngayest

    girl with long hair in a dress; girl with short hair wearing pride gear

    46. "Much happier now." β€”munchkin233

    girl with long hair wearing a dress; person with a punk look

    47. "From 16 to 21, my last boyfriend and my now-fiancΓ©." β€”magsaloo

    girl and a guy together in a store; girl kissing another girl on the cheek

    48. "15 going on 25." β€”carsenw

    a girl in a dress a girl inΒ  a suit

    49. "I've felt less awkward about myself since I came out, and I'm proud to be a trans guy." β€”eggan

    shy child; cool looking trans guy

    50. "Peep my Jonas Brothers dog tag in the first photo." β€”maggieb

    in the now pic she has a cant even think straight shirt on

    51. "14 and closeted vs. 18 out and proud bi." β€”kaitwritesthings

    teenage girl smiling and wearing a tank top and necklace; now with short hair in a suit and tie

    52. "I’m basically unrecognizable as my baby closeted self." β€”julz98

    she has short hair now

    53. "From popped collar to PR executive." β€”matthewb81

    teenage boy with popped collar; man laughing with a coffee cup

    54. "From a closeted, depressed Nebraska boy to an out, proud, fitness-addicted Coloradan. Thank god for living authentically!" β€”aaronm4382cb86a

    awkward teen to confident man

    55. "Almost exactly a year apart. I went from an awkward, small-town cheerleader to a confident, Pan college kid marching in my first Pride Fest in Memphis." β€”melissaadellep

    from cheerleader to pride flag bearer

    56. "From the sticks of MD to LA gay!" β€”kevinu

    awk to fab

    57. "When you finally leave the gender binary ☺️✌?#theythem" β€”ryleep437b39e80

    they look much happier

    58. "21 vs. 25 learned to live in color." β€”alex

    awkward to handsome at a museum

    59. "Seeing Gaga the first time vs. the second time." β€”jaker3

    braces to cool makeup

    60. "I wish the little guy on the left knew that a decade later, all his dreams would come true: I'm living as an expat in New York City, working in diversity." β€”Michael B.

    a young kid smiling sweetly; the kid as a man taking a selfie shirtless

    61. "Lord help me." β€”jordanb

    from a little kid hugging a tree to a guy having a drink

    62. "I knew I was powerfully gay by age 4. I was never ashamed of it but, still had to play in 'survival mode' back then and not ruffle any feathers... Hence the school dance photo with a girl. This is 10-plus years, 100-plus pounds, and unfortunately $1,000-plus in skincare products later. I'm so happy how far we've come in LGBTQ+ equal rights, but I will never take it for granted considering how lucky we are compared to our fellow peers in countries that are still decades behind in LGBTQ+ protections. Hopefully one day everyone can stop playing in 'survival mode' and just truly live." β€” corneliastreetfighter

    teen looking uncomfortable to man smiling

    63. "Before and after." β€”imogen201006

    girl taking a selfie in conservative clothes; same girl with a cool haircut and cute top

    64. "9 years old vs. 32 years old." β€”johnnyvb

    child smiling; man in a tux wearing a pride pin

    65. "In the closet...

    woman smiling with a baby on her back

    ...and out." β€”zoethebugg

    same woman with professional-looking makeup and cool outfit

    If you'd like to add your own gay glow-up for a future post, please upload it in the comments!

    Join BuzzFeed as we celebrate National Coming Out Day from Oct. 10–14. You can explore more coming out and queer content over on our LGBTQ page.

    Celebrating Being Our True Selves National Coming Out Day