For a number of members of the LGBTQ community, there's a lingering fear that at some point, you could be isolated for simply living in your truth.
In celebration of those who've taken the risk of coming out, Blavity reached out to four millennials to share their stories of heartbreak and healing. All four brave souls shared one commonality: the fear of the unknown. They sat down with us to offer guidance and wisdom as we near National Coming Out Day.
YouTuber and trans activist Kat Blaque's experience coming out was not one of tragedy. She shared that she wrote a letter to her mother which expressed her love and attraction to men. However, her mother knew there was something much more than what Blaque was letting on.
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"Then, I thought that it was her trying to tell me that I wasn't attracted to men," the 29-year-old recalled. "But in time, I recognized that she had sensed something about my gender ... I really haven't had that full conversation with myself. And so, a lot of me coming out has been consistently taking the burden off my shoulder and being like 'I don't wanna have to keep up with another story.' Just let me tell you what's what."
For Jonathan Colquitt, he too was met with understanding and love from his mother.
"It eventually turned out that I didn't have to hide who I was and there was no reason that I ever had to," Colquitt told us.
Sean Green didn't have much of a choice in the revelation of his sexual identity.
"I technically did not come out I was actually forced out," he shared. "I was in dance practice one day and I happened to come out of practice to a bunch of missed calls and a text from my mother and the message said: 'I know you're gay and I know the guy you've been dealing with has HIV. Please go get tested.'"
Marcus Parker, who also came out in a letter to his mother, said his coming out made him recognize the importance of being accepted for your full self.
"[My coming out] proved to me OK, I'm telling you this, I'm giving myself to you and you're listening to me and you have my back and you accept me for who I am as a person. And that means the world to me."
Unfortunately, not all people coming out are met with understanding, concern and love. The killings of trans women were recently deemed a national epidemic by the American Medical Association. At least 18 trans women have been killed in 2019, the majority of whom were Black.
Blaque knows love will not always be the response and suggests to only come out when the time is right for you.
"Don't feel like you have to jump in right away," she said. "Get to a place where you can support yourself, be safe and don't just come out because someone did a great video on social media. You got to be smart about this."
Watch the full video above and remember kindness and compassion as we recognize National Coming Out Day.