In 2019, I was no longer a prisoner to the world, my family and myself. I found my voice and spoke up. I am a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community, and I am out.

In my opinion, not everyone knows the struggle of having to come out of the closet and should know the fight. Everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community has a story, a different experience, and I don’t speak for everyone in the community, just for myself.

Straight people have the luxury of not having to come out because we live in a world where you are assumed straight until you come out. Living in a straight world is difficult for some as we gays are like Skittles. We are a rainbow of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent.

Life before coming out is full of struggles within one’s self. Every day is like a performance: act your part, say your lines and don’t upstage anyone. One mistake and you will get caught. 

There is also the struggle of waking up every morning knowing you can’t love who you want to love. You can’t dress how you want, and you can’t be who you truly want to be. You also wake up with the fear of getting ridiculed, assaulted, tossed out of your own home or abandoned by everyone you love.

You get used to having to play this part, but it wears on your mental health. Anxiety and depression become your new best friends. You correct your mannerisms, so it becomes second nature. You hear derogatory language and hateful comments about the community you belong to, and it takes a toll on your psyche.

But then one day, enough is enough, you find the courage to come out. It’s not like the movies. Not everyone is going to accept you. The people who you thought you could trust and rely on are no longer there.

Others push you away. You are no longer human in society’s eyes but rather an abomination to nature. Your love and physical being are no longer seen as equal. 

You are now the target of hate speech, of microaggressions,  and of possibly being physically, mentally or sexually assaulted. The world will push you down and keep pushing you down. Your willpower is the only thing keeping you afloat.

Then one day, someone extends a saving hand. You take it, and you have a step up in life. Your fight transforms from one of survival to one for power. You learn self-love and how to take on the world.

The word “family” takes on a new meaning. It’s no longer means the family you are born into. Now, it is the people you choose to love and who love you and want to see you flourish in life.

Every day is still a struggle, and there are days that you will fall. You now know how to get up. You realize there is truly light at the end of the tunnel, and that in time, you will extend a saving hand to someone who is in need of it.

So instead of ridiculing us and degrading us even more, either stick to your own lane or help us. All we want is to be seen as people. If you do become an ally, someone who isn’t a part of the community but supports us, listen to our stories.

You will be surprised by how much we have gone through. We are survivors and warriors. Our fight will never end until we are seen as equal.

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