What The Queer Community Needs To Know About Life After Coming Out

by Donny Meacham

So, this survey came out from Northwestern University stating discrimination, harassment and assault remain a problem for about a third of queer youths. One article stated the survey revealed it "doesn't get better" for them.

The article and the study really pisses me off. Now, I can’t argue with the facts and statistics that came out of the article. My problem is that articles like this set back the coming out process for queer youths who may read it.

Queer youths may read the article and the study, and then they could think to themselves that bullying and a life of rejection is what awaits them. I’m not going to lie: There will be some bullying and occasionally name-calling.

Hell, I’m in my late 20s (about as late as you can go), and I still experience some homophobia here and there. You know why? Because there are some sh*tty people in this world.

Yet, you will find that most people are wonderful and caring, and they could care less about what or whom you’re doing in bedroom.

So, I'm here to tell you that it does get better. I know I’m only one person, and my experience doesn’t account for an entire group of people. Yet, I look at my life and the lives of my friends, and all I see is how life has been so much better since coming out. Being queer just gets more amazing with age.

Coming out can be scary, and the road can be hard. You know what’s harder, though? Staying in the closet.

My life in the closet was terrifying. Every day I was worried that today would be the day that everyone would find out. I wouldn’t wear the skinny jeans I wanted to wear because I didn’t want to appear to be "gay."

I can't describe the fear that would overtake me when someone would use a computer after me, and I'd think I possibly forgot to delete the history. That is what really messed with my psyche as a queer kid.

Coming out is when everything changed. It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. For once, I was able to be myself, and that felt amazing.

There’s something about coming out as queer that changes you. Yes, it changes a lot in regard to your family, friends, etc., but what it changes the most is how you feel about yourself.

I gained such an inner strength that no one — regardless of the little comments he or she would say — could take away from me. I was free to be me, free to wear what I want, free to say what I want and just free live my life openly and honestly.

If that’s not the definition of  it "getting better," then hell, I don’t know what is. So, what I’m saying to queer youths is, don’t let a study like that one stop you from coming out or scare you into silence.

It’s not going to be easy, but I’m promising you it’s so worth it. There is no greater feeling in the world than looking at yourself in the mirror after you come out and saying, “Finally, I can be myself.”

Now, take a look at the study and understand that some of these things do happen to queer youths in this country. We are all responsible for trying to ensure that the world around these kids is a safe place they can feel comfortable being themselves.

They can enact all the laws they want, but laws won’t change people’s ways of thinking. So, for all of you out there who are gay, straight, bi, asexual, transgender, lesbian or however else you choose to identify, it's our job to ensure that we encourage the queer youths. We have to stand up against bullying, and we have to let queer youths know that their futures are bright and that we will be there for them every step of the way.