Do any of you remember what it was like to be afraid? Afraid that others would look at you and know you are different? Afraid that they would hear your voice and know that you were different? Afraid to wear that outfit that would give you away as being different?
I was reminded of those feelings as I sat down to write my coming out story. I recently moved to a small rural city in Utah from Denver. With the move came a flood of expected challenges—especially for someone in the LGBTQ community. Small towns are rich with bigotry and misunderstanding. They are sheltered from the diversity that is so affordable in larger cities.
Last night at the gym a man made fun of my socks. It was really just an off-hand comment, but the feelings that it brought up in me were surprising. Was he not brave enough to mock me and simply choosing to express his disgust at my socks? I don’t know, but the thought stewed on my mind.
To be honest, it had been a long time since I worried about what other people thought of me. Surprising because I had not felt that way for so long that I didn’t immediately know how to react. My initial riposte was to become defensive and perhaps I would try to explain why I chose those socks, but I kept focused on the rowing machine pretending that my headphones were too loud to hear any conversation around me.
I ignored the jab at my “ugly” socks.
The journey of coming out and socially transitioning has been fantastic! It really has been! I have allowed myself to be who I am without fear of the judgment of others. But something about moving to rural Mormon Utah has me worried that others only see me as trans and not as a person. I worry if they will distance themselves from me because they don’t understand me? Or that their religion has taught them to not hold diversity well?
In the midst of all that worry is me.
I’m out. I’ve transitioned and I’m living my best life. I want others like me to know that it’s okay to come out. And that it’s okay to be seen. It’s okay to be be happy—even if it doesn’t make others happy. It’s okay to be unique. It’s okay to be different.
Even more important: it’s perfectly acceptable to wear ugly socks, dammit.
We want to hear your story—please share it with us!
Each Sunday we feature a new Coming Out Story on the Latter Gay Stories blog. Coming out is an important process that is different for everyone; some experiences are difficult; while others are heart-warming and inspiring. Coming out is rarely easy—but your story will help others draw inspiration from your own experience.
We rely on weekly submissions to keep the Coming Out Stories alive and invite you to share your story now.
Your story can be shared anonymously.