At the age of 12, I came out to my parents. I didn’t know what to expect. But I did anyway because it felt right. Coming out was a liberating moment for me particularly because even at a very young age, I already had the courage to be who I am.
That moment – when my parents accepted me for who I am – was, for a while, the gayest moment of my life.
But fast forward numerous years later, when I was traveling kilometers away from home (in Angeles City) to attend a gathering of LGBT people in Metro Manila. It wasn’t a party per se; but a night of spoken words with LGBT participants expressing themselves about their being LGBT. They did not seem to care about the dictates of society.
It was a first for me – to be with lots of people like me. And it felt like coming out again. I was anxious, not knowing what to expect. But I was willing to have the experience, willing to listen.
The night passed swiftly, and realization really only dawned on me much, much later.
At 2:30AM, I was seated at a bus station, waiting for the next trip back to Angeles. I started thinking that having come out, I have felt alone. Every day, I have been asking myself why I felt like I was sitting in a cold room, hearing nothing but the beating of my heart, feeling numbness envelop my hands. I always had this anxiety even when I was young, this fear of being alone all the time.
But now I realized that I was never alone. By putting myself in that room full of LGBT people, I came out again.
I was with people like me.
People have often asked me: “Why do you feel the need to come out?”
For me, it’s simple. It is to see past the pretentions, and have a clearer view of what my role is in this universe.
And that coming out may be done on a one-on-one basis (as I did with my parents), or simply by finding your LGBT self while surrounded by others like you.
Would I recommend coming out? Yes, come out. It’s a way for you to be the best that you can be.
I now consider April 9 as the date when I came out – again. I was not sweating it out on the dance floor, or kissing a guy as our hearts beat in rhythm. I was listening to words about being LGBT; words that –when uttered- made those who said them feel safe while owning up their identities. It made them feel safe; and I felt safe, too.
Watching the stars while waiting for my ride home, I felt happy experiencing the gayest moment of my life… so far.