New Jersey is my home. I’m from a town I consider a diverse slice of suburbia located about 30 minutes outside of New York City. Growing up, I was subjected to a lot of different people and backgrounds, yet none were like me.
I was the kind of kid that would go up to anyone and want to be their friend regardless of their background. As I got older, I started to realize that not everyone wanted to be my friend. People could tell I was different and I knew I was different, but I had no idea why.
“I started a tally of the days I wasn’t made fun of”
Because of this, middle school was one of the most challenging times for me. I remember taking a tally of how many days in a row someone would ask if I was gay or make fun of me in some way. But it started to happen so often, I started a tally of the days I wasn’t made fun of or ridiculed because that tally was easier to count.
Of course looking back now, I can see all of the “feminine” aspects of my personality that may have made it confusing for people who don’t know any better. I mean I didn’t even know any better because I didn’t let anyone ruin the blissfully unaware smile on my face or twinkle in my eye.
When I reached high school in 2009, a window opened up for me and I was exposed to an incredibly large group of eclectic people. The LGBTQ community was amongst them, but not to a degree that made me 100% comfortable at the time.
“I had tried to trick myself into being “straight” and swiping all of my feelings and urges under the rug”
For some reason, I had no plans on “coming out” because for so long I had tried to trick myself into being “straight” and swiping all of my feelings and urges under the rug. I tried dating girls, but they wouldn’t last more than a couple of weeks probably due to the fact that I had no interest in sexual activity with them.
It wasn’t until senior year that I met a boy from a Catholic school in my county who I would soon call my boyfriend. I first found him on twitter through a mutual friend and I admired how much he had embraced his sexuality and how similar he seemed to me. The experience was so groundbreaking for me and I knew I had to come out. Every single thing about it felt so right and thats something I have never experienced before.
Fortunately I have a supportive family who, when I came out, called a family meeting to discuss the love we have and how nothing will change because of this newfound realization. Having an aunt who identifies as lesbian was definitely beneficial in the progression of my family and I think that awareness and familiarity is crucial when it comes to acceptance.
“I was in such a state of happiness and truth, nothing could get in the way”
We made it official on Facebook and in flew a ton of support and positivity, which I was pleasantly surprised to see. Although I wouldn’t have cared about negativity anyway because I was in such a state of happiness and truth, nothing could get in the way.
7 years later, I’m proud to call myself an LGBTQ+ activist and successful YouTuber who’s goal is to inspire and spread awareness on LGBTQ+ issues and help those who feel alone and/or lost in their journey today.
Edited by Aislinn O'Keeffe