Hello! My name is Hannah and I’ve been out for six of my 31 years here on this earth. I grew up in a small, conservative town in the middle of Wisconsin. You did not think about being gay – not a chance. Growing up, I always felt different, but couldn’t figure out why. By the time puberty hit, everybody was going boy crazy and I was waiting to start feeling whatever it was all my friends were feeling. I just figured I was too focused on my studies.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized I didn’t understand the boy-craze because I don’t like guys. I felt drawn to some upperclassmen girls that at the time I thought I just wanted to be like them because they were more confident than I was and had fun personalities. Now it’s like — no Hannah, you were attracted to them!

Being gay never once crossed my mind until after college. It took me being in therapy for my anxiety to finally feel like I was in a safe enough space to start to unpacking what I had buried so deep down. I fought tooth and nail against being gay because growing up, I was taught that was a sin. Those ensuing months after I finally allowed myself to acknowledge that I’m gay, were the hardest I’ve ever experienced. And thank God for my therapist. I don’t know how I would have gotten through it without her support.

As I worked on unlearning everything I grew up believing and really fostering self acceptance, I was able to start coming out to my friends. I was able to be open to being in a relationship with another woman. A month into that relationship, I knew it was time to tell my parents and that terrified me. Telling them was the hardest conversation I have ever had. It was difficult for them to hear, but my parents handled it gracefully in the moment, making sure I knew they still love and support me. We’ve had some rocky moments, but I feel blessed because I know not everybody feels loved by their family. They have even welcomed my girlfriend into the family with open arms.

When you live your whole life hiding a piece of you, even though most of that time you didn’t know because it was buried so darn deep, it is so freeing to release that and let it bloom. Coming out, time and time again, proves to me that I can do hard things and it opens me up to being able to to step into my truth in other ways because nothing compares to how daunting and scary it is to come out as gay.

This story was shared by a human named Hannah

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