Coming out can take a thousand different roads and is a chance for you to take in a thousand sights.
It’s about accepting yourself for who you are — no matter what others think or say. It’s an act of courage, and you’re not alone on your journey.
Coming out has been my greatest challenge, but also my greatest lesson.
I’ve learned how to accept myself and live my truth. In a way, it’s brought me closer to others.
A few kind words to Young Olle
I see him standing there, Younger Me.
All those moments when he’s felt scared, hurt or lost. I want to hug him and say: “You’re safe now.” Because Adult Olle knows what it’s like to be part of a loving and supportive community where he can be himself. And love whoever he wants.
The road to love and self-acceptance looks different for everyone.
“What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it’s curved like a road through mountains.”– Tennesse Williams
No matter where you are on your journey, you have all the reasons to be proud because a journey towards love is a journey towards loving yourself and others.
Staying true to yourself
My coming out has taught me to stay true to myself and my values. Also, to be slightly less judgmental of others because I have experienced being considered “different”.
I choose to live life with courage and to fill my days with acceptance and curiosity. To stick to my inner scorecard rather than worrying about what others think, or what looks good on paper.
I’ve met and talked to people from all walks of life. If there’s one thing I know it’s this: We all have our struggles – both big and small. It’s how we cope with them that defines us.
Karamo Brown offers a useful perspective on reclaiming the power over your sexuality and life:
“I believe that the term ‘coming out’ is a bit antiquated and outdated in the sense [that] it gives the power to someone else to accept or deny you when, in actuality, what the process is, is that we’re letting people into our lives.”Karamo Brown
This reframe has helped me a lot. Instead of asking myself: “Who will I come out to?” I have begun to ask myself: “Who do I want to let into my life?”
I am inviting someone into my home. Do they want to step into my loving household, where acceptance, respect, and love abound?
If not, that’s fine. It’s their problem, not mine.
Part of you, not all of you
Coming out is a lifelong process of self-acceptance.
You decide if you want to reveal your sexual orientation to others. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself here.
There are still times when I choose not to let people in because I don’t have the energy to take the discussion or educate them. In these moments, I tune into my body: “Do I have the strength for this right now?” If not, that’s OK.
It’s possible to simply be out to one’s self. To me, that is the most important victory of them all.
Love, no matter what
I hope for a day when you don’t have to come out. I dream about a world where people can be themselves and love whomever they want.
We can all make life easier by giving each other more love, understanding and compassion. We all want to feel seen, heard and understood. It’s the greatest gift we can give another human being.
Love should never mean living in fear. Love invites; it adds, but it never subtracts, as Andrew Solomon so eloquently put it in his TED talk: Love, No Matter What.
Your love is worth celebrating. It’s something to be proud of.
Who will you bring on your adventure through the mountains?
Resources and support for letting people in (even if that person is you)
Please remember that you’re not alone on your journey. Lots of people and organisations got your back! I am proud to be one of them 🙂
There are many useful resources to help you come to terms with your own sexuality and/ or gender identity.
The Coming Out Handbook from The Trevor Project is a good place to start. It gives you tools and guiding questions that can help you on your journey towards love and self-acceptance.
This list of LGBT rights organisations on Wikipedia is also a good starting point to find active groups that can offer you support and guidance.
Books, movies, and articles on coming out
You may also want to check out the following:
- The 200 Best LGBTQ+ Movies of All Time
- The best LGBTQIA+ books: your essential reading list
- Out Athletes: Courage is contagious
Some of my personal favourites are, in no particular order:
- Holding the Man by Timothy Conigrave.
- On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks.
- Proud: An Autobiography by Gareth Thomas.
- A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
- Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (if you’re a Harry Potter nerd like me, you’re going to love this book)
- Live in Every Breath by Fatima Bremmer (Swedish title Ett jävla solsken: en biografi om Ester Blenda Nordström)
- Kommer du tycka om mig nu? by Lina Axelsson Kihlblom
- The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
- Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
Show your support
Got any tips, words of encouragement, support or resources to share? Please let us know in the comments. Whoever you are, open your heart and let people in! The world will never be the same.