Coming Out – A Teen’s Story

Coming Out

Written by Tyler Riches

Hey, people of mom’s blog! I’m Tyler, and a little while ago, my mom wrote an article about her experiences after I came out as gay. Well, little did she know, earlier, I had written something similar about my own experiences. So after my mom wrote her article, I showed her mine. She’s asked me to summarize it so she can put it on her blog, but instead, I just rewrote it completely. So, here you are!

TGTG Story (Revised)

So all my life I knew something was up. Something was wrong. Something was eating away at the back of my mind. I really had no clue as to what that ‘something’ was.

In Grade 2, I told everyone I had a crush on this one girl. She was beautiful (and still is), so I crushed on her throughout elementary school. But once again, something was wrong.

Gradually, over the next couple years, I got an idea of what that was. I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out why there was only one girl I thought was pretty. In Grade 4, I wrote a letter to my parents explaining this, and left it outside their door. But I started to worry over what they might think, so after only a couple of minutes, I grabbed the letter and tore it to shreds; I made sure the pieces were so small no one could read them. I cried, and decided to leave it. It will go away, I told myself.

By Grade 6, I knew what the word ‘gay’ meant, and by Grade 7, I wondered if I could be gay. The very thought scared me. The number of homophobic comments in elementary school was exponential, and I resolved to never tell anyone. Instead, a girl and I started dating. We didn’t actually go out on dates or anything, we just said we were boyfriend and girlfriend. Still, that didn’t last long. She broke up with me without a reason, but we were still friends. Ah, elementary was weird.

In Grade 8, two big things happened. One was good, and one was bad. The bad thing was that I tried telling my best friend that I was gay. This was a time when I myself hadn’t even accepted that, so I was scared out of my wit. He was nice about it, and he swore he wouldn’t tell anyone, but it actually made him sick. Like, physically sick. He had to take a day off of school. By the time he got back, I had been so shaken up by the experience that I said “So I’m not actually gay. I just told you that to see how much I could trust you.” He was visibly relieved, and that was that. I told him a couple weeks ago that ‘I lied to him by telling the truth’, and after explaining what I meant, he laughed. Anyways, the good thing was that I joined the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets. I’ve made so many close friends in this group, it’s astounding. Not only that, but some LGBTQ+ cadets were open about themselves. And even though I hadn’t accepted, or even began to accept, myself, this still made me feel better.

Then comes high school! In Grade 9, I ended up joining a group called ‘Positive Space’, which focuses on preventing bullying, specifically LGBTQ+ bullying. I felt comfortable with these people. Some were trans, gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, non-binary, or just straight allies. But it was inclusive, and I felt at home.

After I joined Positive Space, I did my research. I learned all about different sexual orientations and genders, and used that information to sort myself out. I was cisgender (which means comfortable with your assigned gender); in other words, I was perfectly happy being male. I also decided that I might be gay, or bisexual, but I didn’t know, and honestly didn’t want to know, so I told myself I was ‘Questioning’. I still didn’t tell anyone, but regardless, it was a step in the right direction.

Oh yeah, and I told that girl I had a crush on that I didn’t ‘like’ her anymore. She was relieved. See, in high school, it’s not just who’s ‘pretty’. Crushes are often sexual. And that idea honestly repulsed me. I guess it didn’t matter; we’re best friends to this day.

On February 13th, a day before Valentine’s, at around 11 at night, I was texting one of my best friends from cadets. I told her that I had a big weight on my shoulders, and she inquired as to what was bothering me. After about 5 minutes and a couple tears, I told her I was questioning. She tells me right after that she’s bi. I was so relieved. A million bricks just melted off my shoulders. We spent the next three hours talking to each other, gradually getting years of built up stress off our chests. We also came out in the group chat to our small social circle of 6 tightly-knit friends. It was so relieving. Definitely one of my better nights.

It turns out, that out of those 6 friends, three are bi, two are straight, and then myself, the gay. In time, this news would be music to my ears, as I’ll eventually realize I was never alone.

The next couple months just seemed so empty. I denied it when people asked if I was gay. I broke down and cried every now and then. Why? Because I knew I was gay. I’d go to school sometimes, telling myself over and over that I was gay, and by the end of the day I’d be in denial again. I remember one time after gym class I walked home and cried because I hated going through that. I think the only good thing that happened happened on my birthday: Rainbow Prom. In a nutshell, it was a dance for students across the district, and you could wear, go out with, and dance in any way you wanted, and no one would think the better of it. I was Master of Ceremonies, and the Prom King and Queen were both trans. It was one hell of a night, and I’ll never forget it.

Before school ended in June, I told some of my closest friends I was gay. All the reactions were positive and supportive, and that made me feel a bit better. After months of crying, I found that I just kinda accepted myself. I stopped doubting it. In June, I went off to sea cadet camp in Kingston for three weeks. I told some more close friends, I even told the Padre, whose there for spiritual reasons, but also just for support. He gave me a muffin after our talk and sent me on my way with a smile, but still, I couldn’t shake the growing feeling of depression. Now I’ve never been diagnosed or anything with depression. But some days I’d be super teary and emotional, and others I would feel empty. Sure, I put on a façade of cheerfulness, but most people do. Now, a lot of people suspected I was gay, and some even asked, but usually, I’d say no.

Last major story, which you’ll remember from my mom’s post, was camping. On the first day of the vacation, I just felt so… empty. I don’t really know how else to put it. But it was the second day, August 16th, when I was all emotional. I had a breakdown and my mom took me aside and asked what was wrong. After a lot of convincing, crying, wheezing, and more crying, I told her. I felt, rather than heard, her sigh. She asked me how I felt, and I told her I don’t know, because I didn’t know her reaction. She said she didn’t know how to react. But by the end of the day, my parents told me that I deserve to love and to be happy, and that the road ahead wouldn’t be easy, but I was just happy I have a future where my parents still love me. A lot of LGBTQ+ people don’t get that opportunity.

Now, they were still visibly shaken. They’re both Christian, so it’s even harder for them. But they were determined to get through this together with me. Unfortunately for them, I was one step ahead of them; after I told them, my depression faded away. I’ve never been happier. While they were still reeling, I had started to tell people at school. And you know how quickly things spread in high school. But, I didn’t get one bit of negativity. Same at cadets; everyone welcomed me with open arms. Then, on November 10th, I told the world via Facebook. I got so much support, I cried tears of happiness for the first time in my life. Everyone knows now, and no one thinks of me any differently.

Now, it’s Christmas Eve, 2015. I’m hardly the same person I was a couple months ago, let alone a whole year ago. My parents seem to be coping a lot better, and occasionally ask about my crush or poke fun at me for not having a boyfriend yet. Which, I guess, is my resolution for 2016. And since my 2015 resolution was to come out, this one can’t be hard at all.

There are so many small details, so many breakdowns, so much more to this story. But this is a blog post, not a novel, and I have to make it fit. Plus, some of those memories are so dark that really, I don’t want to share it with you guys. No offense.
In conclusion, I’m a 15-year-old unattractive (motherly interjection – Um, I don’t think so!) gay potato who is a meme lord, artist, writer, cadet, straight-A student, future naval officer and politician, and I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time.

The way I finished my last article probably doesn’t apply to you guys, but I’ll say it anyways. I know it’s cheesy, you hear it all the time, and I myself didn’t believe it, but I’m not lying when I say it does get better.


9 thoughts on “Coming Out – A Teen’s Story

  1. Jens Lyon says:

    Thanks for sharing, Tyler. I’m so glad to hear that the kids in your school have Positive Space and a Rainbow Prom so you can support one another and have some good times together. Best wishes to you for 2016! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. stephleo says:

    Thanks for sharing your journey Tyler! I was a high school teacher for many years and have had students talk to me about their questions. You know who you are better and anybody else. Trust in yourself. Best wishes for you and your family!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Deana says:

    Tyler, I am so proud of you!
    I’m happy that your happy, I’m happy that your parents are so awesome.
    Devin and Denise way to go raising such an amazing young man.
    Here I am reading moms blog, (sometimes she shares wicked recipes)
    And I find your amazing story.
    Your story might help someone else struggling to be themselves and come out as well. I could go on for hours about how great that is that you found the courage to tell mom and dad! But I’ll leave it at what I have wrote!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Astrid says:

    Wow Tyler, you did an amazing job telling your story. As a woman (cisgender too) who still identifies as questioning at age 29, I can relate to some stigma. I am so glad your parents and most of your friends are supportive. I am so proud of you for being so open and being so self-confident.

    Liked by 1 person

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