Students face different reactions when deciding to come out

Kamryn Drake, Staff Writer

Over the past 10 years, more and more people have been open to coming out to the public about their identity and sexuality.
UCLA reported that 25.6 million adults in the U.S. said that they have had attractions to someone of the same-sex. In 2015, same-sex marriage became legal nationwide when the Supreme Court passed down a verdict on Obergefell v. Hodges.
And although more people have been accepting, coming out can be a hard and nerve-racking experience for anyone. According to BeSpoke Surgical, 35.6% of people have had a negative process of coming out.
Imagine how hard it is for teens to come out knowing that there are still people who won’t accept them because of who they are. According to Out Not Down, teens who have come out to their school are twice as likely to be assaulted, kicked or shoved while at school.
“When I first came out, I was terrified,” sophomore Tj Allen said. “I knew my dad would have a problem with it. I just didn’t know how mad he would be or for how long.”
While some teens have trouble coming out because they may have negative reactions from family or friends, others feel confident that they will be accepted by those closest to them.
“All of my friends were gay, so they all welcomed me with open arms,” sophomore Emma Clevland said.
Kassidy Pollock is a part of the Gender and Sexualities Alliance club at Hayes, which is made up of both allies and members of the LGBTQ+ population. In the past, the group set up a booth for First Friday every month, but due to Covid, they haven’t been able to do so this year.
People who are part of the LGBTQ+ community just want to be seen as human and accepted for being their authentic selves.
“When I came out, [my father] was really upset about the gender identity and he was like ‘oh no that’s not possible,’” Allan said. “But I knew who I was.”
Although the country and its views have been evolving, some people still don’t understand the concept. In the U.S., 42% of people in the LGBTQ+ said that they have lived in an unwelcoming area. That’s why many people and organizations are trying to make it a comfortable concept to understand for everyone and support those understanding it for themselves.
People have started to be more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, and as time goes on, that community seems to keep growing.
“It’s not a choice. I didn’t just wake up one day and think I was bi. It’s who I am as a person,” Clevland said. “Don’t think it’s a choice just because we are finally being open and honest about who we are.”