Coming Out as anything but straight is a process that is never easy.  There is no clear path in the best way because the people in our lives are so different. In reality, I think many of us have to come out multiple times to the different people we have in our lives; friends, family, coworkers.

I was thirteen the first time I fell for a girl and I told myself, “But I’m not gay. I just happen to love this girl.”  It wasn’t until my freshmen year of high school when I developed a serious crush on another girl that I finally realized I was hella gay. Great. What do I do now?

My sister was my first best friend and rightfully so, the first person I came out to. I was nervous and fifteen. One night at bedtime I told her I had something I wanted to talk about and she said: “I think I know what it is.”

“You do?” My heart thumped.

Her face was very serious and she looked directly at me. “You’re gay.” She said as gently as she could.

My nerves got the best of me and I rolled backward on my bed, laughing.

“I’m sorry!” She bolted upright. “Am I wrong?”

“No, you’re absolutely right,” I confirmed through fits of laughter, “but it was just the serious way you said it like I was dying or something.”

“That’s not funny! You scared me.” We spent the night talking about how the rest of our family would take it. Then we talked about the boys she liked. It was clear from our conversation that nothing would change between us. She still loved me and was still my best friend.

I was lucky to grow up in a large city with a gay community, but little did I know that finding another gay person would be as easy as finding someone under my own roof. My big brother. We were close, but that was something we’d never discussed.

It was late Christmas Eve that same year and the snow was falling outside. My siblings and I were getting ready for bed and laughing and calling each other names. I believe I called my sister a trollop, lovingly of course. She laughed and said, “You’re just jealous because you’re gay.” I gasped and laughed because I couldn’t believe she went there. My brother stopped laughing, whipped his head toward me. “You’re not! Are you?”

I’m pretty sure I blushed a deep purple and said, “Yes. I am.”  He came to me and threw his arms around me and squeezed me hard.

“Then we need to talk.”

“I’m tired. You guys take your gay selves to his room to talk. I want to go to sleep.” My sister teased.

We grabbed ourselves some Christmas cookies, went into his room and talked well into Christmas morning. He told me he was gay and afraid to talk to anybody about it. He told me he was sorry I was gay because he didn’t want me to have the same hard life. We discussed our hopes and dreams and plans for the future. We talked about how our parents might react. We were afraid to disappoint them. Then we agreed to never tell them.  But you know what they say about the best-laid plans…