By Nicholas Cimarusti
Originally published on Advocate.com October 17 2013 4:00 AM ET
Coming out is a unique process for every individual. It can be scary, overwhelming, and confusing, but it can also be happy, liberating, and empowering.
In honor of Spirit Day, the annual commemoration in which people “go purple” to show their support for LGBT youth and take a stand against bullying, we’ve assembled a collection of coming-out stories from several courageous young LGBT people who remind us that coming out is as much about sharing with others as it is about understanding yourself.
No matter how you do it — in a letter, an email, face-to-face conversation, or any other medium — coming out is a huge step in the life of every LGBT person. Celebrate yourself and share it with the people you love, whether it is on Spirit Day or any other day of the year.
Made by Dan Brian, whose YouTube channel is mallow610, this video shows a young gay man coming out to his mom. Her reaction is what any LGBT kid would want: She expresses her unconditional support and love for a son who was finally honest with her.
During an assembly honoring Martin Luther King Jr., whose theme was breaking the silence about things that matter, a high school senior comes out to her entire school. Kayla’s speech displays an inner strength that should be emulated by anyone who feels as if they can’t say what they feel.
A transgender teen who also has his own YouTube channel, TheRealAlexBertie, Alex shares his story about coming out as transgender to his mom. His delivery is funny, as are his other videos, and that accent only helps matters.
Natasha is an out lesbian whose story demonstrates that building a network of support can take time, but the end result makes the effort completely worth it. Her progress with her mom also shows that even if it takes a while, an initial negative reaction can be turned around.
Jacob Rudolph, a New Jersey high school senior, comes out as an LGBT teen in his acceptance speech for a Class Actor award. At the end of his speech, the cheers, shouts, and standing ovation from the audience are a reminder that high school can be a place of love and support from peers for LGBT teens.
Chrissy is a girl from Mississippi who filmed her experience coming out to her family. Originally she came out as bisexual, but now she identifies as a lesbian, and her family and friends still support her being who she is.
Matt is a college student who struggled with his sexuality for a while before finally acceptinh himself. His coming-out was a long, difficult process but he hopes that “this is just what you needed to hear today."
Kaelyn and Lucy are a long-distance lesbian couple who have their own YouTube channel. This video provides a wealth of advice for viewers who are planning to come out soon to friends and family.
Jazz is an exceedingly articulate young transgender girl. She and her family made a documentary, I Am Jazz: A Family in Transition, in which her inspiring story is explained.
Leo Washington is cocaptain of his football team at Hollywood Hills High School and a teen who, inspired by NBA player Jason Collins's coming-out, also came out to his community. The reactions from his teammates and coach and Leo’s bright demeanor will surely make you smile.