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Finding a loving community after coming out

PFLAG National intern Katie Montana (she/her/they/them) writes about her coming out process in her first blog. Katie is from Jacksonville, Florida and is a rising senior at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where she studies Modern History. 

Finding a Loving Community after Coming Out

I had my first ever crush when I was twelve years old, but it was not until I was nineteen that I finally admitted to myself that I might be gay. I had convinced myself my crush was a one-off, because young me had sadly come to believe that I couldn’t be loved by others for who I really was. Soon, however, I discovered that twelve-year-old me couldn’t have been more wrong.

Growing up, I was not aware of the existence of the LGBTQ+ community, or of groups that promoted LGBTQ+ equality. When I discovered these organizations as a teenager (thank you internet!), I became an active ally immediately, and began to realize that I was gay, and had always been. It was a relief to admit this to myself, and coming out to friends and family was an even bigger one.

My journey of self-discovery did not end when I hit “Submit” on my big coming-out post, however. In fact, it only had just begun. After I came out, I began discovering local LGBTQ+ organizations and community groups, which has honestly been the greatest joy of my life. I have the honor of belonging to two local LGBTQ+ communities, one in my home city and the other in my college town. In fact, I was even able to participate in my college town’s drag competition last semester. Though I did not win the competition, I felt so free in being able to express myself in front of my community that I felt like a winner anyway!

This blog post is not meant to pressure anyone into coming out if they aren’t ready. There is no timeline for when you have to come out, and you should not do so until you are safe to do so and comfortable with telling others. Know, though, that there are LGBTQ+ organizations and community groups, such as your local PFLAG chapter, that will support you if you decide that it is the right time for you to do so. 

The benefits of these communities have been their support and love, which have been my rock for the past two years. I know that they will certainly be supportive of me in the years to come as well.

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