Editorial: National Coming Out Day

Hannah Armenta

Hannah Armenta

For a long time, Oct. 11 was one of my least favorite days of the year. Not because it is my mom’s birthday, but because it was National Coming Out Day, and I was stuck hopelessly in the closet with a lock so complex you would need to have a goblin from Gringotts unlock it.

It has been almost three years since I built up enough courage to bust through the shimmering doors of the closet, but I still remember what it was like to be terrified of telling everyone the truth about myself.

I was obsessed with the idea of coming out. I would watch YouTube video after YouTube video of coming out stories and even if they ended horribly, I was still jealous because they had the courage to come out of the closet, and I didn’t.

My jealousy would lead to guilt and then self-hate and then the cycle would start all over again. For years I lived like this. I convinced myself I’d be happier alone, that I didn’t need love, marriage or to be who I really was.

I could live a half life and that would be enough. I was out to a few friends and it was good enough.

Eventually, it wasn’t. I was tired of living in fear of someone finding out and of hating myself for lying to everyone. I finally decided to come out, starting with my mom.

Since she was in San Diego, and I was in Ohio, I had to tell her over the phone. It wasn’t what I pictured, but I was afraid if I didn’t tell her then, I never would.

So on that New Year’s Eve, I gave my mom a call and told her I was gay. I told her how I was worried I was letting her and everyone else down by being gay and she gave me some of the most important advice I’ve ever received: your character isn’t defined by your sexuality.

So to those who are struggling to come out as gay or trans or those who are questioning: know you are not alone and that your character isn’t defined by your orientation or your gender. 

Hannah Armenta is the editor for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]