Up until a few years ago, I was relatively quiet about my sexuality. Prior to my current job, I was working under conservative people who are openly anti-LGBTQ+ and transphobic. Not a great environment for being open. I was also raised largely in a “don’t ask, don’t tell” environment. So, I just learned to keep it quiet.
I remember the day clearly when I realized that it was okay to be me. But we’ll get to that. Prior to that moment, I had come out to close friends (who were and are VERY supportive) and I wasn’t going out of my way to hide who I am anymore. It was the type of situation where “if you ask, I won’t lie to you.”
Until the moment my current boss put 2+2 together and got 4. She asked me if my partner was my person. I said yes. She then asked me why I don’t talk about her. I said “well, some people are bothered by it.” She looked at me and said “well, not me.”
That moment was profound to me and it literally changed everything for me. I was no longer afraid to be who I was, openly. I will admit, I did take some baby steps from there forward, but it was so refreshing to be who I was with some people I spent 8+ hours a day with.
Soon I joined a group of people at work who are part of an LGBTQ+ Advisory Council, which led me to gain even more confidence in sharing who I am. Then, for the first time ever, I came out on Instagram.
I will credit that one person for giving me that final push by being openly supportive. And that, THAT is why it’s so critical for people, especially kids, to have teachers and mentors in their lives who openly support them. Had I had that in my life growing up, it wouldn’t have taken me until now to be openly who I am. I could have avoided a lot of confusing times in my life.