“Hey, Mom- there’s something I need to tell you.”
She knows what I’m going to say, and she begins to tear up.
There’s a pause, then she runs forward and grabs me, holding me close.“I know, son. I know. I love you.”
It wasn’t easy. In fact, it was terrifying. Extremely terrifying. I remember it all in vivid detail: my heart beating rapidly, the sense of fear running through my blood. But I somehow said it, because I needed to say it. I said it because I needed to be honest, because I needed to be free.
I don’t know exactly what gave me the confidence to come out as gay. In October of last year, I asked one of my best friends (a lesbian): “Uh… How do you come out?” That was my odd little line, the only thing I could manage to say. But I was able to say it, and looking back I am so glad I did. She took me in, comforted me, and then helped me through my difficulties. And she helped me in one other way, which was the most helpful thing she could ever do: She founded our school’s Gay-Straight Alliance.
At first, I was not a part of the GSA. But even without being a member, the GSA was able to guide me through my confusion. The group’s presence was comforting to me. Knowing that there were people who supported me and accepted me, people who were trying to help create a safe and accepting school environment for me and other LGBT kids was an incredible help. Their confidence and support gave me the willpower to come out to my parents. I realized how valuable the GSA was a little later than I would have liked. I attended a few sporadic meetings, and after a few weeks I just stared attending them all.
Just a few weeks ago, the GSA organized our school’s Day of Silence. I arrived at school early that day, expecting to find the normal chaos of a Friday morning. Instead I found utter silence. And it wasn’t just the thirty or so GSA kids… it was everyone. Even teachers taught their classes in silence. I knew the GSA was great, but I didn’t know it was that great. Day of Silence not only showed how much of an impact the club has made on the school and how important that impact is, but it also showed me how welcome I am in our community.