In a perfect world, no one would care about who you loved.
You would walk past small shops and people walking their dogs, hand in hand with your girlfriend. No one would care that you were also a girl.
You wouldn’t think twice about wrapping an arm around your boyfriend or looking strangers in the eye when you pass them by on the sidewalk because you too are a man.
But this isn’t a perfect world.
In this world, there’s a girl who’s still afraid to hold her girlfriend’s hand. There are two men who can’t give each other a small peck on the lips without worrying if someone will say something.
We can’t come home and announce we’re dating someone of the same sex. We need to go through an entire coming out process first.
That’s what this entire story boils down to — the process of coming out.
If you’ve never had to come out of the closet — it’s terrifying. Your heart’s pumping, you’re palms are sweaty, and you wonder if the people who are supposed to love you unconditionally really do love you no matter what.
You have to announce it with tears in your eyes and make a big deal out of something that shouldn’t have to be a big deal.
Voices are screams in your head, and all of them tell you to stop, but you don’t want to back down. You’re tired of hiding. Of pretending.
And then you just do it. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn’t.
Either way, whether your family still loves you or your parents kick you out of your home, there will always be someone else you have to come out to.
Always having to come out is unfair
After you’ve come out to your parents, you bump into other family members and friends, or you make new friends, and you have to come out all over again.
Every fucking person you become close with. Every person you’re not close with0 — if dating comes up in the conversation.
It’s never always as hard for me as it is with family. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy when I have to come out to other people.
It’s unfair that I constantly have to go through some internal struggle just because someone asks me, a lesbian, if I have a boyfriend.
Why should being heterosexual be the default? Why can’t all sexualities be treated with the same indifference? Why can’t all love be celebrated equally?
It’s so difficult for some people to come out that they end up hiding who they are their entire lives.
A queer man, women, or person will marry someone of the opposite sex, have kids, and it’s not until they’re sixty-five that they’ll come out because society convinced them they couldn’t love someone with the same body parts as them.
They’ll have missed decades of their life, getting a chance at love, and being who they’re meant to be.
Coming out isn’t easy
Coming out isn’t a quick decision you have to make. It’s not like the only consequence is getting ridiculed a bit.
People get killed for being queer. They’re not just sent hurtful tweets; they get their windows smashed because they have a sticker of a pride flag on their car.
They can’t get married. They can’t buy fucking cake. They can’t kiss each other without being beat up. They’re refused the right to adopt children and start a family.
They lose their connection with their family. They get sent to places run by people who believe they can cure them.
It’s the 21st century. I see more and more queer characters on TV — even in commercials — and read about them in books.
Queer couples have popular YouTube channels. There are podcasts and events dedicated to the LGBT community. Everything positive we see sends out one message: We see you. We support you. We love you.
But it’s still not enough.
We need real people to be there for us.
People who’ll give us a chance to stop coming out.
One solution you can apply
Whenever I catch up with an old friend or talk to someone new, and we hit the subject of dating, I’ll ask the same question after I ask if they’re seeing someone and they say yes.
If I’m talking to a woman, I’ll ask, “What’s his or her name?” If I’m talking to a man, I’ll ask, “What’s her or his name?”
This way, if they’re dating someone of the same gender, they don’t need to come out. With that question, I’m telling them I don’t care if they’re queer. They can answer the question without hesitating before they say they’re dating someone of the same gender.
You can do this too.
If you’re talking to a woman, don’t ask her if she has a boyfriend or if there’s a special guy in her life. Ask her if she has a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Ask her if she has a special man or woman in her life.
Same goes for when you talk to a guy.
Take it from someone’s who’s come out to a fuckton of people even though I’ve only been out for a couple of years: it’s tiring.
I have to come out to new friends and even strangers for the rest of my life, and I’ll never know how they’ll react.
Don’t assume people are straight because it’s “the default.” Word your questions and sentences to include both sexes when talking about anything that has to do with romance.
Help people in the LGBT+ community feel accepted right from the start.