Coming out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community is a deeply personal and often life-altering process. Regardless of the individual circumstances, there is no right or wrong way to come out.
Of course, some people who identify as members of the LGBT community may choose to come out in a public way, others will not feel safe to do so, while others never will “officially” come out and simply live their lives. It’s important to remember that an individual’s decision to come out is their own personal choice. Regardless, reading these stories can be comforting and informative for many.
Online spaces such as the Reddit communities r/Comingout and /r/lgbt, can give people a platform to open up about their experiences and connect with others who can relate.
The following coming out stories from these Reddit users illustrate just how unique those experiences can be. Of course, INSIDER cannot independently authenticate these stories, but perhaps they can serve as a reminder that no matter what a person’s coming out story is, everyone’s journey deserves to be heard.
Just a note, we’ve chosen to leave off names to protect the identities of those who have shared their stories.
‘My fam was playing a game where we had to tell a huge secret about ourselves’
“Well my fam was playing a game where we had to tell a huge secret about ourselves and I was about to make a joke and say, ‘I started my period’ but I only said the ‘I’ part so my mom was like, ‘Are you gay?’ So I was like, ‘Uhh yesssss’ like freakishly loudly. My mom said she already knew probs because she stole my phone and checked my search history a while back because she’s also a helicopter parent.”
‘I didn’t really come out of the closet, my mom opened the door and said, ‘Hey, you in there?”
“I joined my high school’s GSA freshman year. On a car ride to Target, my mom asked as casually as she could muster if there was any reason for that. I said I’m bisexual, she said ‘cool,’ and I assume she told my dad because basically, the whole family knew before I even said anything.
“So I didn’t really come out of the closet, my mom opened the door and said ‘hey, you in there?'”
‘Came out to my brother, his girlfriend, and my dad by baking cupcakes’
“First came out to my mom as trans and then months later, came out to my brother, his girlfriend, and my dad by baking cupcakes in the colors of the trans pride flag. It was really hard because I had it in my head that I was gonna get kicked out, turns out my dad is the most supportive person in my life.”
‘They didn’t believe I was gay and had normal parent reactions and to this day ignore the subject’
“Looking back at it I knew I was gay for a while. I just never had emotional or sexual attraction towards any guys until I went on an internship and pulled the old classic of falling for my roommate. I thought the feeling was mutual but obviously, I was blinded or didn’t want to believe he was straight. I never told him my feelings for him but it was pretty obvious. I did some things that made it clear such as looking at his text and basically acting like a jealous lover. I suspect he figured it out.
“Anyway … I flipped when he got a girlfriend and I couldn’t contain my feelings anymore so I came out to my social worker. I also got the courage to come out to my friend and brother which went great and they were very supportive.
“When I told my parents after they came to visit it went downhill. They didn’t believe I was gay and had normal parent reactions and just to this day ignore the subject and my sexuality which bothers me a lot because I feel like I can’t move forward ’til they accept me for who I am.”
‘I had to ask my friend to look at the comments the next day since I was too afraid to look’
“I spent most of the night before my 25th birthday writing and rewriting a long drawn out post about how I felt. I planned on posting the status on my birthday, near the time I was born, and I pretty much said that I was born as myself and that my life has a funny way of telling me I’m a little different from who I thought I was. I had to ask my friend to look at the comments the next day since I was too afraid to look, but it turns out everyone who saw it was very accepting and warm so I was very lucky.”
‘They told people, ‘I look a little different”
“I met people in person, with a, ‘I look a little different.’ text sent out shortly before.”
‘My mom read my paper and then sat me down to have a talk about it, I panicked and told her I was a lesbian’
“7th grade we had to describe ourselves in a song and I chose ‘Misery’ by Maroon 5 for some reason. My mom read my paper and then sat me down to have a talk about it, I panicked and told her I was a lesbian. She was just hugging me and telling me that she would love me no matter what my preferences are. Then she told my dad and he was chill about it.”
‘I broke their heart by telling them, but their heart was broken because they realized they had a child who was hurting deeply for all of these years without them knowing or being able to help’
“I had resolved that I would never tell my family how I felt unless I absolutely had to. Eventually, I had some life experiences that were just too rich and wonderful and showed me how beautiful our world is and how my concern of being rejected for how I choose to express my feelings was just of little significance.
“I told my sister who was supportive and un-surprised. Finally, and very recently, I told my very conservative parents. I was only able to justify telling them by acknowledging that I was only telling them how I felt, not what I planned to do, and that they couldn’t really reject my feelings even if they didn’t like my feelings. They could only reject decisions. But ultimately I was met with nothing but love and support.
“I broke their heart by telling them, but their heart was broken because they realized they had a child who was hurting deeply for all of these years without them knowing or being able to help. They want to know how they can best support me, and for the first time in my life, I think that I can be best supported by them and my other loved ones by acknowledging my feelings and my journey on the path to transitioning.”
‘I responded with, ‘I’m gay and hate children’ I’ve never seen a salesman look so ashamed of himself and I also came out to my dad at the same time’
“I was buying a car. My dad was with me and we were at our 4th (and final) dealership of the day. I flat out told the salesman that I wanted to be sold the smallest sedan they had on the lot unless they had a coupe [ … ] First thing out of the salesman’s mouth after that was, ‘You really should get an SUV in case you accidentally get pregnant.’ Me being the jerk I am, I instantly responded with ‘I’m gay and hate children. Any kids I have will be extremely well planned and extremely unwanted.’ I’ve never seen a salesman look so ashamed of himself and I also came out to my dad at the same time. Neither guy spoke unless I asked a question after that.”
‘And I just came dressed as a girl’
“Came out on Black Friday […] And I just came dressed as a girl. And then I stayed like that. And a week passed and I was brought into HR and asked if this was permanent, I said yes. And went back to work.”
‘Showed up at my mother’s house with my boyfriend and told her. She didn’t like it at first until the day she noticed me being happy …’
“Showed up at my mother’s house with my boyfriend and told her. She didn’t like it at first until the day she noticed me being happy and proactive with my life. She started finding room in her heart to be on board with it. Now we visit her house once a month for dinner with the whole family. Today I’m in a happy relationship and am two months into my MTF HRT [male to female hormone replacement therapy], so the thing to remember is to give your friends and family time to adjust and gently show them that this is what makes you happy and fingers crossed they accept you for you. ”
‘I said, ‘It’s National Coming Out Day”
“I came out a few months ago, on National Coming Out Day. I said ‘It’s National Coming Out Day’ and my mom said ‘You have something to come out to me about?’ (Jokingly) [I said], ‘Yeah, I am gay.'”
‘Told two other friends through the topic of crushes, giving them a ‘guess my crush’ puzzle and plot twist at the end, it’s a guy!’
“Told my first friend through text after commenting on how a male anime character was kinda hot … Told two other friends through the topic of crushes, giving them a ‘guess my crush’ puzzle and then boom, plot twist at the end, it’s a guy!”
‘My dad unlocks the door and in comes both my grandmothers. They both just hug me and tell me they love me just the way I am’
“One of my friends got the idea to be my ‘date’ to Thanksgiving dinner, so that my family wouldn’t bug me so much about finding a girlfriend. She knew I was gay, and knew I hadn’t told them.
“We go. She’s my ‘date,’ gives me hugs. A little cheek smooch. Sold. Then I see this … look in my grandmother’s face at dinner. It hurt. It hurt to see her beaming over something that was a lie.
“I felt hoooooriiible. Like I just wanted to go crawl into the oven and die next to the turkey. It comes as a surprise to many people, but I practicality NEVER lie to my family.
“For some reason, at the table, my grandpa decided that I should lead grace…
“I don’t know if it was just because my head was stuck, or what … but I just went ‘I’m gay’ and a river of tears and snot came out of my face so I went and locked myself in my room.
“About an hour goes by and the house is dead quiet. My dad unlocks the door and in comes both my grandmothers. They both just hug me and tell me they love me just the way I am.
“I thought I’d died. My friend sheepishly came into the room and handed me a plate of food. She told me my parents said I can take all the time I need to calm myself, and then come back and celebrate.
“They treated it like it was the best thing since sliced bread and I nearly had p—– my pants.”
‘I was crying the whole time, but they weren’t tears of sadness. Coming out was the biggest weight that ever came off my shoulders’
“I got home from church after my conservative pastor gave his most homophobic sermon yet, and I sobbed into my pillow in my bedroom. My mom heard me and asked what I was crying about. The words were too difficult to speak. But she put things together and realized that I was upset about the sermon, and she finally asked, ‘Do you think you’re gay?’ That’s when I said yes. We spent the next hour sitting together on her bed eating In-N-Out french fries while she asked me about all of my high school crushes. I was crying the whole time, but they weren’t tears of sadness. Coming out was the biggest weight that ever came off my shoulders.”
‘It was interesting to see their faces as they processed that Logan was not a girl’s name.’
“I told my family the name of my crush after Christmas Eve dinner when I was 16. It was interesting to see their faces as they processed that Logan was not a girls name.”
‘One of my ‘best friends’ went and told EVERYONE we knew almost immediately’
“I came out to my friends at 15 — only my two closest [friends] as we’re in a fairly rural place and I was worried about it. One of my ‘best friends’ went and told EVERYONE we knew almost immediately, and when I called them out, her response was ‘But no one minds!’ I got a lot of s— about it for years after that. But the total kicker is I dumped her as a friend straight away and her brother messaged me on Facebook apologizing for what she’d done. I’ve now been dating her brother for 2 and a half years and he hates her too.”
‘I came out as a trans guy a few years ago not by choice … I was basically forced to explain’
“I came out as a trans guy a few years ago not by choice (my dad was on my computer and found my personal blog) and I was basically forced to explain. He totally flipped out on me and alternated between laughing in my face and threatening to kick me out.
“A lot of the experience I block out because it’s very traumatic. I’m okay now but I ended up living with my grandparents for a while. Coming out isn’t always, ‘It’s okay, we always knew, we’ll always love you’ and I really envy people with experiences like that.”
‘Told my stepmom […. ] they kicked me out for about a month and I lived with my grandma’
“Told my stepmom, she called me disgusting and [then] told my dad even though I asked her not to. They kicked me out for about a month and I lived with my grandma. When I went back they put me into church school, took away my phone, TV, clothes that looked too ‘Dudeish’ (legit just all my T-shirts) and they told me I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone.”
‘I was internally screaming in gay of happiness’
“My friend and I were having a sleepover at her house and we stayed up talking for a long time, both of us telling things that we hadn’t shared with anyone before. At this point, it was 5 a.m.
“I have known that I’m gay for quite some time now. I’ve wanted to come out so badly and until yesterday, I hadn’t told anyone (apart from some internet friends). I had sort of decided that if there came an appropriate moment to tell her during that sleepover, I would.
“That moment came when she told me that she thinks she’s bi. I was internally screaming in gay of happiness. I said that that is SO COOL and then I told her that I’m gay. She was like WHAAAT THAT’S SO COOL. And then we both were like HSJSKDKDJDJ HOW IS THIS HAPPENING?? Honestly, I was kind of panicking, but it was like in a good way.
“We talked about how we knew, for how long we have known, which girls we’ve had crushes on and a lot more. It was amazing. I’m the first person she’s told as well.
“When I woke up this morning, it was the first thing I thought about. That I told someone. That I opened the door to the closet. It feels weird and almost surreal not to be alone about it anymore, but it feels so right.
“I still have a long way to go and a lot of people to come out to and I know it won’t be easy. But now I have started, and it started so epically and felt so good.”