Coming Out

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

When I was seven I had my first crush. I remember the numerous sleepovers where I would be asked to divulge such a secret, with the stereotypical “so who do you like Dana?” I’d have no problem responding “I like Jessy,” which was always met with the clarifying “no, who do you like like?” Again I’d reply “Jessy! She’s really pretty,” and then they’d move on to their next victim. Then, when I was 8, in a harsh whisper my best friend taught me the words “gay” and “lesbian” and along with a definition came “but don’t mention it around my parents okay?” I remember that moment so vividly, but what I remember even better was the fear that struck me later. I liked Jessy, did that make me a lesbian? If I could get in trouble for mentioning it didn’t that mean it was wrong? Was I wrong? That’s when my “I like Jessy!” complete with a giant smile, turned into “I like Ben.” “I like Ben.” was never questioned, but Ben never gave my little stomach butterflies, and he never made me smile like Jessy did. Still, Ben seemed better than being a lesbian.

Then when I was around 10 I realized none of the girls I knew of wore sweatpants, baggy T-shirts, and skate shoes. Next thing I knew I was wearing bright pink Aeropostale shirts, skin-tight skinny...

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