What do you consider your moment of coming out? Was it the moment you came to terms with who you are? Was it the moment you shared a part of your life with the people you loved? Whatever it was, it was the moment you decided to be honest with yourself and perhaps with others.
I spent a few minutes on October 11th, National Coming Out Day, reading some coming out stories online. Some were happy stories. Some weren’t so happy. There were some I definitely related to. There were some I wished I could relate to.
I came out to myself three years ago, at the age of twenty two. Prior to that, like many of my Chinese peers, I had successfully (if awkwardly) dodged questions relating to dating and marriage by focusing on my studies and convincing others that I was simply not ready to date. Upon coming to a firm realization of my identity, it wasn’t long afterward that I found myself revealing the truth to my parents, due to an unexpected turn of events.
The incident happened by pure chance. I had unwittingly left my cell phone at home while at work, leading my father to see a text message from one of my male friends, who had innocuously ended the message with *kiss kiss.* Though this may hardly have been a cause for alarm, it certainly was for my mother, who confronted me with the dreaded question upon my return home:
You’re not gay, are you?
It was the question I feared so much that I had done everything possible over the last two decades to prevent it from being asked. Now that my carelessness had presented me with the opportunity, my moment had come – I could no longer lie.
Though to this day I still don’t know where I had gathered the courage to come out to my parents, I’m grateful for having done so, even if it left a gaping wound in our relationship that’s still far from being in the recovery stages. But having done so, the healing process can hopefully begin sooner rather than later. My coming out story isn’t exactly a happy story, but it’s one that I’m sure at least some of my brothers and sisters out there can relate. Either way, it’s not a story of regret, because it was at that moment where I was more honest and open with myself than I had ever been before. What I didn’t realize at the time was that it wasn’t to end there – coming out is a lifelong process.
To all those who supported me throughout my never-ending coming out story, I give my gratitude. I’m certain I wouldn’t be living the life I am now if it weren’t for you. To all those who came out and faced rejection, disapproval, or worse, I’m proud of you. I can’t think of anyone stronger than you. To all those who haven’t come out yet, there’s no need to explain – I understand your situation completely, and I hope that you find your very own moment one day.
What’s your coming out story?
Article written by J. Chu