One of my biggest fears used to be that no one would love me for who I truly was. It’s a deep, dark truth that took a lot of self-love and confidence to overcome, but even still to this day I struggle with it. Many people ask me why this was my biggest fear, they wondered, why not spiders? The dark? Or even death? The truth is, because not only am I transgender, but I’m also gay. So that makes me a double threat! So, you could only imagine what it was like to grow up in the middle of nowhere with people who didn’t even know what LGBT stood for. This made coming out that much harder.
But that means it is that much more important for people like me to come out.
It means that if I had the courage to come out to my family, friends and entire school, that YOU can do it too. Yes, I’ll admit it wasn’t an easy ride. I lost family members, I lost best friends, but out of all of the darkness, there is always light. I gained a new-found confidence for myself but most importantly, I realized that I was paving every step of the way for future transgender and gay students alike. I was able in my last few years of high school to inspire, educate, and take action to make my school a better place to make such a terrifying experience, that much better for the next person. Which is exactly what I would have wanted someone else to have done for me.
Coming out was one of the best steps I could have taken to begin living my authentic life as who I am today. If it weren’t for the people who loved me when I couldn’t love myself, if it weren’t for my best friends who knew just the right things to say, if it weren’t for every time I saw my family supporting me unconditionally, I don’t know if I would have made it. But I am so thankful that I did. I am so thankful that I came this far, only to keep shining.
This goes out to everyone who is worried, anxious, or scared to come out. I promise you that if you give them time, if you give them resources, and treat them with love, that your experience with coming out will truly make a difference. Not only for all of your loved ones, not only for yourself, but for every single person who is also afraid to come out like you once were. I know coming out is probably one of the most difficult things someone can do, mostly because it puts you in an incredibly vulnerable position. You are putting your heart and soul out on the line, but it will be worth it. You will get through it. You will rise above the bullshit and conquer each day with brilliance. Don’t stop now, it is your time to shine.
~ Lance Klemple
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