Its 2016. Why are we still having to “come out”?

All around the world being gay or identifying as anything other than straight is becoming more and more accepted and people “come out” more and more each day — myself included.

But my question is, why do we, people who are the same as you in every way except our sexuality, still required to announce our “differences” when really, we’re not different. We’re normal too. Being gay or identifying as anything on that spectrum shouldn’t still be something people talk about — no one talks about someone being straight so why make a big deal out of someone who isn’t?

Personally, I’ve been lucky in the sense that a lot of the people I know have been so “accepting” of who I am and I say accepting with inverted commas as why should someone still need to even have to say that as its 2016. Why shouldn’t they be accepting by now?

But that’s where the sad part comes in — people still aren’t.

I came out last year to a small amount of people, all of which were nothing but supportive and encouraging, however it’s not until this year that I’ve truly come to understand why people like myself are so scared to be honest about exactly who they are and that’s simply down to having everyone know and then it being the topic of so many conversations. And let me tell you, having people discuss something that isn’t important to them what so ever, is terrifying and uncomfortable because the fact is, they’re judging you and judgement is such a hard thing to be OK with.

When you first come out as gay, you’re instantly petrified about what those around you might think. You’re scared your family won’t be OK with it. You’re scared that your best friend won’t want to be close to you anymore. You’re scared people will stop talking to you and yes sadly you will grow a part from people; these are all things I’ve experienced myself and so many have too. The sad reality is, yes its 2016 but we’re still seen as “different” and not everyone likes “different” and so it makes the concept of saying you’re gay much harder than it ever should be.

Coming out is the hard part yes, but it’s also the easiest part as after that, that’s when it gets difficult. You have to re-find yourself, you have to rediscover who you are as that person you were before? Well that’s not who you are and never really was — you were just pretending for the sake of other people. Your sexuality is so defining, it’s not all who you are but it’s a big part and that’s why you should always be honest. And yes I know that’s hard to do, trust me I know.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many people this past year since I’ve been out and it’s thanks to them, that I’m finally becoming ok with who I am as I’ve realised that being gay IS ok. Now don’t get me wrong, I still get scared at having people know about me because like I said, being judged is a difficult thing to be ok with because everyone has their opinions but now, now I’m starting to see why should I care? I’ve never been this happy in my life as I am now so if someones not ok with that, then they can leave because this world is full of so many people who are. I finally get to wear what I want, even if it is from the guys section, and then look in the mirror and finally like who I see. To me, that’s sad to have to admit but that’s the harsh truth that so many people round the world go through too, because for years a lot of us have hated who’s looked back simply because we’ve been too scared to be ourselves.

Since coming out, I developed social anxiety — something that’s stopped me doing so much stuff and I have this simply because at the beginning I was so scared people wouldn’t want to know me anymore that i then let a mental illness over come everything i did. Yes I know that’s sad because all I am is gay, it’s not a big fucking deal, why should i let the fear of people knowing who i am, prevent me from doing anything? Yet its because people still make it that way, that this becomes the case for not just me, but so many people too. Why do people still make being gay an issue? I wish I knew. I’ve come to realise however over this year that those people that don’t like you anymore for something you can’t change? Well they never mattered in the first place anyway and that has been a hard lesson for me to learn but the good thing is, I’m almost there. I’ve met so many more great people since being honest that I’ve come to see that me being gay doesn’t matter to them like I thought It would, if anything they love me more for it as I’m myself.

I have friends who say they’ll never tell their parents that they’re gay. I’ve had people tell me that they’re family wouldn’t accept them as they don’t like “change” and I’ve had people tell me I’m an inspiration to them simply because I’m “brave” enough to be honest. It’s heart-breaking having to hear people say those things because I know how hard it is to hide who you are, it makes you nothing but unhappy and its sad that someone sees someone as an inspiration simply due to the fact they aren’t scared to say they like girls.

Liking girls when you’re a girl, or liking boys when you’re a boy is still something society is learning to be OK with. We still get stared at in clubs when we do our “gay thang.” We still get looked at weirdly by cashiers when we go to buy something that isn’t necessary designed for “our gender” and we still have to come out again and again no matter what. We still have to watch people leave because they don’t agree with something we never had the option to change in the first place and we still have to face harsh comments from those who clearly don’t want people to be happy because if they did, they wouldn’t be so cruel over something that doesn’t affect them in the first place.

So here’s to National Coming out day. A day where no one should be scared to be themselves because at the end of the day, being yourself is so fucking great; we all should try it. Here’s to National Coming Out day in the hopes that soon, our sexuality won’t be the topic of peoples conversation and that we’ll be seen as normal and not “different” because wither you like who you like, we’re all just humans trying to find love in this messed up world.

“Only straight I am, is straight up bitch.” — Santana Lopez, Glee 2011