Growing up knowing I was gay was a feeling that was odd, but it eventually granted me the ability to build up the courage to accept myself. Not only was I a scared child, I wasn’t really educated on how many gay people there were in the world. I kind of felt like a black sheep for some reason. Maybe, I thought, it was because I found myself at such a young age?
When I started becoming more open about my sexuality, I realized that a lot of my peers were just like me. Coming from a family that is traditional and not very welcoming, it was a subject that was super sensitive to me. As I grew more comfortable, I discovered school clubs, events, and even locations that were made to be safe spaces for people.
As I became more active on social media, I also made new friends in the Bay Area that were gay. I met a ton of them and they’re still people that I hold close to me today. I’ve never felt so at home within my community, and I’m grateful that social media became an outlet for me to meet people when I was at such a confusing place in my life.
I went to my first Pride in LA in the summer of 2019. As soon as I entered, I felt the energy shift and I didn’t feel out of place at all. I often have social anxiety and it is pretty hard for me to interact with strangers, but the environment was comfortable enough that it allowed me to talk to anyone. It was euphoric; I was dancing, sparking conversations, and hugging strangers because it genuinely felt right. Pride LA is still a memory that I recall precisely because of how much I came out of my shell that day.
It’s a weird feeling to try to describe, but it’s when you feel your best because you’re surrounded by people that are just like you. Seeing everyone so confident and free-spirited; these were traits I had always aspired towards. If I could look back at my younger self, I would definitely tell her that there were going to be amazing people in the world that would allow me to do so.
Comparing my past to the present is something I would have not imagined. I would have never thought that I would be so comfortable and content with who I am. I learned that the person I was when I was amongst other gay people was someone I had to carry wherever I went.
Did you enjoy this story? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to find out when new stories are published.
Learn how to join our Writers Cohort here.