By Liz Black

I hope that by sharing my story, and what happened to me, it will help someone out there.

My story starts when I was 16 years old and a junior in high school in 1995. Being gay/lesbian back then was not as accepted as it is today. Deep down I always knew I was a lesbian but on one fateful day I knew without a doubt. . I watched my best friend at the time go upstairs to class and I realized I was in love with her. In high school she was my world and she was straight.

There was no GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) Club at my school. There was no one I could talk to and I was not able to tell anyone in my family because our religion said love was only between a man and a woman. I wanted to come out so many times. In my twenties I went into a deep depression but with counseling I pulled myself back out of it. However, I still didn’t come out.

Flash forward to 2012 and I was in school to become a Medical Assistant; and I fell hard for a classmate. I, again, never told her but I mentioned to my mom that I had a crush on someone. I never used pronouns. When she moved out of town I cried and I felt like my heart was broken in two. I never told her how I felt but it still hurt.

I had my first job as an MA and I finally admitted to myself, after 19 years of hiding, who I really am. On January 4, 2013 I officially came out to my mom as a lesbian. (I should mention that I hardly use the word lesbian I use the word gay.) I was crying.

This is what I told her:

ME: “Mom, I have something to tell you. I have known this since I was 16. I’m not attracted to guys. I love women. I am gay. I have wanted to tell you so many times but I couldn’t find the words. I love you.”
My mom looked at me,huged me, and said:,

“Honey I know. I have known for a while. I love you and that will never change. I am so glad you could tell me. You loved your best friend in high school, didn’t you?”

I answered that I did and admitted that I loved my classmate at medical assistant school too. I have since come out to the rest of my family, friends and publicly. I am now very open about my sexuality and I am not ashamed of who I am anymore. I accept myself and love who I am.

I was recently verbally gay bashed by a group outside the library that I go to. I felt violated and insulted but I am working through that. I am going to get through the emotional scars that it left.

My advice for coming out is this:

Coming out is a very personal and emotional thing. Don’t let anyone force you. Come out on your own terms. Make sure you feel safe and are ready to take that step.It is true what they say it really does get better I promise you, it does. I leave with a quote from my favorite actor/author who is also a role model to me, Chris Colfer. He says “there is nothing wrong with you! There is a lot wrong with the world you live in.”

I hope my story helps!