Here at Peace Out HQ, Pride is the most important (and the most fun) month of the year. To continue the celebration of love and inclusivity, we’ve asked a few of our LGBTQIA+ team members to share their stories with us.
How was your experience coming out to your friends and family? Were you nervous? Excited?
“I was so nervous to come out to my friends and family because I just wasn't sure how they would react. Since I have 5 siblings, it was really overwhelming to think about how each of them would respond. I came out to my older sister first, and I was able to tell the rest of my family because of her love, support, and encouragement. All my friends and family ended up being super supportive and accepting! I honestly felt so loved and it was an amazing feeling. Since I came out, I've felt so much closer to my family members. It was a freeing experience.” --Mary, Peace Out Intern
“My first "boyfriend" was in the 6th grade (we are still best friends today) — my first crush on a boy was in the 4th grade. My experience coming out to my close friends was easy, however, I grew up in a very small town, so announcing that I was attraced to the same sex didn't seem like an option at my age. Oddly enough, I was never scared to come out to my friends, even knowing they could easily tell anyone — there was a lot of trust in who I called a friend.
“My family was more of a difficult situation as religion controlled the household. I came out to my family a year after high school and the response was "I know". My mom and I are best friends and the love and support is endless.” --Sean, Administrative Assistant
“My coming out had some drama with certain people in my family but it really didnt make any difference in my coming out. I was already in college living my best life and nothing was going to stop me from having my big gay coming out adventure. So by then it was either my way or the highway.” --Junior, CMO & Creative Director
What is your message to members of the LGBTQIA+ community who don’t feel safe coming out to their friends and family? Any advice?
"Don't feel pressured! First of all, no one should have to "come out" because we are human and have the same love to give just like everyone else. I think the fear actually comes from losing loved ones and, in reality, they are no one to be loved if they don't love you for who you really are. You can find family in the community that loves and supports every ounce of your being! Also, take care of your mental health!! It is very important to spend a lot of time discovering who you are and what you want out of life rather than worrying about if your friend or family will disown you for being you." --Sean, Administrative Assistant
"My advice would be to take it at your own pace and to come out when you truly feel ready. Don't push yourself to do it right away. Never be ashamed of who you are just because some might react negatively. What's most important is that you accept and love yourself. And above all, make sure that you are safe." --Mary, Peace Out Intern
“Find a friend! Find a safe place to be you. Having a support system of friends and a safe place to call home made life easier for me to just come out and do it without fear. I probably would have stayed longer in the closet if I didn't feel safe and protected. So, don’t rush it if you don’t feel safe.” --Junior, CMO & Creative Director
They don't call it 'Pride' month for nothing! Tell us why you are proud to be a part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
“I am proud to be a part of a community that is so brave and has so much love and pride despite the bigotry and hate we see on a daily basis. It takes a long time to fully embrace your own sexuality, and that feeling of pride is really freeing. I'm proud to celebrate the history of LGBTQ rights and how we fought to love and express ourselves freely." --Mary, Peace Out Intern
“I am proud to be a part of my community because they have become my family. You never have to be alone when you have such a strong community who is not afraid to stand up for what's right." --Sean, Administrative Assistant
“Coming out with the friends and community I had really helped me become me. It was and still is an amazing community to be a part of. My life is pretty community mixed now for me and my husband which I think is really where life is going. Of course nothing can compare to 6000 LGBTQIA+ people in a club slaying it together!” --Junior, CMO & Creative Director