1."I grew up hearing how it wasn’t 'right' or it was 'sick' to be gay. As a queer black boy, I never felt good enough to be around my family or even engage in conversations in fear of being disowned. Now I’m the gay cousin at holiday dinners that constantly tells everyone I like boys. It’s a great feeling to be loved and affirmed."
2."Being a trans man meant hating the body I was born with. In order to survive, I had to go through hormone therapy and surgery. My family was resistant at first, but most of them support me now. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, but it's an enormous relief to love the body I've earned, and the man I've become!"
3."I believe coming out benefited every relationship in my life. My friends and family would say I haven’t changed, but being closeted only allowed for so much insight into my thoughts and feelings. Now, I feel more comfortable to share all of my feels (sorry not sorry)!"
4."After coming out to my friends, I've felt so free. Freer than I have before. I can tell my friends about all my boy crushes and also not lie about liking Emma Stone. I also love acting like a flamboyant Queen. Shockingly, all my friends at mosque have appreciated me and that just makes life so easy."
5."I’m happy and married to the woman of my dreams. Coming out set all those events leading up to meeting my wife in motion."
6."Admitting to myself that I was a lesbian gave me the ability to escape my 10-year-long abusive marriage. I was finally open for love, and found my wife-to-be. It was terrifying, but I'm happy for the first time in my life."
7."I came out as trans two years ago. At the time, I was on the verge of suicide. As soon as I came out, it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. My social anxiety improved significantly. Now, I've been on testosterone for a year and am six months post-op for top surgery. My body is finally starting to feel like it's mine."
8."This may sound silly, but when I was still in the closet it hurt every time an opportunity to make a bisexual pun came up. Now that I’m out and proud I make everyone groan when I make bi puns! I no longer have to keep a huge part of myself hidden."
9."Eighth grade teacher here. When I came out to my students, my professional life blossomed. I realized I was guarding every word I said and putting barriers between myself and my students. Now my students have a successful out lesbian as a role model, a teacher who trusts them enough to be vulnerable, and an educator who can focus 100% on their learning. Grades are higher, behavior is better, and homophobic comments have almost stopped. I went from considering leaving the profession to not being able to imagine any other job."
10."My life got so much less exhausting. You never realize how mentally and even physically burdensome hiding who you are all the damn time is until you stop doing it. When I finally let the wall down, it was amazing how much better friendships and relationships got when I actually quit trying to be someone I thought people would like more."
11."I love all the new words that accurately describe sexual orientation. I wasn't straight, and I wasn't gay, but bisexual didn't really describe me either. When I found out about 'pansexuality,' a light bulb went off. I'm a gender-fluid person who likes everything, and I'm really open about it too. It really keeps the negative people out of my life."
12."For me, it was liked I lived in two different worlds and I took great pains to keep them apart. When they eventually collided, I realized the only thing that changed was I had more (and better) friends and became closer to my family."
13."Coming out as bisexual made it easier for my daughter to come to me to tell me she was pan. My relationship with my daughter is my everything!"
14."I enjoy the basic things like being able to bring my girlfriend to family events and just the general weight off my shoulders, like wondering how people will react and trying not to seem gay."
15."It relieved years of intense social dysphoria. Once the pain of constantly being misgendered was lifted, it felt so much better than I ever dreamed. My friends didn’t hurt me unintentionally anymore, and I felt freed."
16."Simply put: I have gotten rid of the toxic people in my life and gained so many more amazing people."
17."When I came out to my dad nearly five years ago as someone who's bi, asexual, and nonbinary, it brought me closer to them than ever before (my dad's aromantic, bisexual, and gender-fluid). It's only because of their support that I was able to legally change my name and start hormone replacement therapy."—squiddlemethis
18."I came out when I was 13. I was so happy that I didn't have to lie anymore, and I started to go to a youth movement for LGBTQI+ youngsters. I had the time of my life there! Making friends, talking with girls about girls, and just being myself without any judgement. It was amazing."
19."Coming out as a demisexual has been an uphill battle, but it made my mom, who teaches sex ed, realize there are people who don't feel sexual attraction or have very limited sexual attraction. She now spreads the word that it's okay to not feel these things, and there are others out there like you."
20."I came out in high school to my friends, but I was very low-key about it. The summer before college, I cut my hair, stuck a bi pride flag on my phone, and bought myself a pair of purple Doc Martens. Going into college openly and visibly gay helped me connect with other LGBT people and find an amazing community. Not that you have to look gay to be gay, but for me it felt like a second, more awesome coming out."
21."I'm transgender. Every time I hear my friends call me by my proper name and pronouns, it makes me feel a little bit better about life. If I hadn't come out, I wouldn't get that, and I'm convinced my depression would be much worse than it is now. I've figured out who I am."
22."After I came out, I found other people in the LGBTQ community who helped me feel more comfortable in my skin and about my sexuality. It also helped me feel confident enough to tell people about the abuse I was going through, and helped me leave in the end."
23."I wasn’t out until I hit 17. What surprised me was that my best friend was also gay, but not out. Once I came out, she got the courage to come out too. Now we’re together, and have been for years. We’re both 26, and married to each other."
24."Before coming out when I was 23, I was struggling both financially and emotionally. Now at 29, I've moved across the country, I have a career that I enjoy, and a solid plan for the next few years. Coming out has opened doors for me I would have never thought possible six years ago."
25."I was raised Baptist so when I realized I was gay I told myself I wouldn’t be able to come out, especially to my parents. Because of this I ostracized myself from my friends and family and became very depressed. After a year or so I finally decided to bite the bullet and come out, and they were surprisingly very accepting! They come to Pride with me every year and I’ve never been so close with them."
26."I've only been out as transgender and gay for a few years, but it's the best thing that has ever happened to me. I'm comfortable with being an androgynous guy, and if it wasn't for a very special person helping me, I would have never found the love of my life. We've been engaged for two and a half years and we're both on the way to being the fabulous men we always knew we were." —sceptermunakatare