5 Things I wish I knew before I came out

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Lately, I’ve been on a roll with lists. I’ve been typing them on my blog, I’ve been writing more lists on my refrigerator… hell, who doesn’t need lists? If you’re as forgetful as me at times, then you definitely need lists, whether you plan on blogging about the contents in said list or not.

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They are in no particular order.

5. I wish I knew of successful gay people in real life. 
Sure I had heard of Ellen DeGeneres. She was one of my favourite celebrities I had looked into when exploring my sexuality and when I was realizing I wasn’t exactly a Kinsey 2, 3, or 4… But when it came to people I knew in my every day life (ie: not celebrities), I found it difficult to know many successful gay people. I worried that being gay was a sentence that would make me lead a life of being unsuccessful and discriminated against. I was happily wrong. 

4. Women are not necessarily easier to date than men
I wouldn’t change it for the world. They are not necessarily easier to date. Sure they don’t generally burp, fart, or make rude disgusting sounds like some men do, but I think every sex has its own set of pros and cons. As does every person because people are complex creatures, we can’t all be neatly tucked into boxes.

Because I hadn’t dated women in high school, I was a bit later in the game in learning how to date women, what was expected and what it meant to be a part of the LGBT community, in a larger heteronormative type society.

But if there had been a guide book on how to date women? I would have been all over that mess like a lesbian viewing the Lword. Oops. That was me.

3. That I would learn so much about myself
I honestly believe I have become a better human being since realizing I was gay, and being my most honest and authentic self. I think we all ultimately choose whether to be a good or bad person. Despite the things that happen to use, we ultimately choose how to live our lives. I have learned so much about myself. Facing discrimination from family, work, strangers and society has taught me that I have to live life for me. The alternatives aren’t worth exhausting my time, energy and emotions with. My self worth is stronger because of some of the things I’ve faced because I know that I am living for me, not anyone else. I deserve to be happy, just like anyone else. And I think more before my actions now than I did in the past because I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of hate, ignorance and bigotry.

2. People may dislike you simply for living authentically
And that’s ok. If they are not harassing you (verbally or otherwise), then leave it at that. If you wish to educate them as I have for a few people, then that’s great. Education and information can banish ignorance and bigotry. If it does not then the issue is out of your control and you have to leave it at that. People will believe what they want to in the end. They will like you or dislike you for any number of reasons. I have become accustomed to hearing things within ear shot, having glares thrown my way or people unsure of how to take me at times. I just had to become accustomed to it. There are some days when I still feel the brunt of ignorance, but I have to remind myself of how happy I am and how the closet door will only hide my clothes from now on.

1. I wish I had known that “It does get better”. 
I had grown up in a very traditional family, living in a small town with no real media access to different groups or world issues. When I was piecing my identity and sexual orientation together, I tried to keep things on the down low, and only tell very close friends things that I thought about and was experiencing. I was fortunate to have some friends that did not judge me from the beginning. This helped in knowing that some people would stick by my side unconditionally.

I believe that having supportive people around you while you’re discovering and realizing that you are gay, bisexual, lesbian, trans etc is essential. It is necessary. The world is a scary place without community and friendship. Once I started living an authentic life,  I could begin to start new jobs, make new friendships and date women and just be me. Being me was the best feeling in the world because I could look in the mirror and smile knowing I wasn’t hiding from myself or anyone else.