A 20-Something’s 16-Step Guide To Coming Out As Gay

Thought Catalog
4 min readJun 18, 2020
Polina Tankilevitch

1. Exist. Be born. Do normal baby things. Cry a lot. Play with your toys. Start to learn how to talk. Gasp out some baby words and toddler phrases. Learn to walk, learn to play, learn to laugh, learn to tease your little sister.

2. Get older. Go to school, make friends, make enemies, make inappropriate jokes and ugly drawings your parents hang on the wall. Have a moment you realize that you’re different. It might be a fleeting moment, something where you feel apart from everyone else. You might hang out mostly with the opposite gender, you might defy gender norms, you might just feel out of place. Ignore it. Keep going on with your life. Try to understand American history and length times width. Fall asleep during free reading time.

3. Experience puberty, it’s weird. Your body takes over your life and makes all kinds of changes you aren’t really down with. It’s like your parents only somehow worse and a lot more intimate. Fight against tons of annoying body hair, start to smell like ass when you don’t wear deodorant, start feeling attracted toward the opposite sex.

Or not.

4. Keep growing. Keep waiting for that day that fabled teenage sex-drive kicks in for you and you find the opposite sex irresistible. Keep waiting.

5. Feel different. Feel left out. Sometimes, feel alone. Find yourself staring at that cute guy across the hall, then remember your not allowed to do that. Try to stare at the cute girl in your chemistry class — feel nothing.

6. Hide who you are. Change your voice, change the way you dress. Talk about all the hot girls on television and at your high school football games. Avoid highlighting any differences between you and everyone else. Push past it, push it away. Talk to your best friend about how Carly has really cute eyes and you might want to ask her to the homecoming dance.

7. Get defensive. Find every person who talks about you “being gay” and tell them you’re not. Complain to your friends about how “everyone thinks you’re gay.” Complain to yourself about why you can’t “man up” and just like women already. Sit in a quiet church sanctuary on some quiet fall afternoon. Ask God why you are like this. Ask God to help you. Pray to be straight. Pray to be happy. He’ll…

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