Words and Graphics by: Michaela Acero / Featured Image by: Elena Salazar
The LGBTQ+ Community should always be loved, supported, and accepted. As such, we’ve compiled 12 coming out stories by the LGBTQ+ youth in Metro Manila. While not all of us will experience coming out in our lives, there are still several things that we can learn from the 12 stories below:
*All names have been changed and stories have been modified and shortened for clarity.
Learn to listen without judgment and expectations.
“My friend and I were both going through some really difficult times. While we were walking around the school, she was telling me about all her life problems, and how she felt alone in so many situations. Having felt similarly before I came out to her before, I had a suspicion as to [why she was feeling that way], but I didn’t ask or pressure her to say anything. Instead, we had a moment while talking wherein we felt full trust in each other, and then suddenly she admitted that she had feelings for a girl she was friends with. There was no crying, nothing too dramatic, but it was a special moment because in that situation there was a sense of belonging (for both of us). I think sometimes, that’s all we really need. It was beautiful in the most mundane way because that experience marked the first time we truly felt like ourselves around each other.” – Jean
Try to “test the waters” before revealing anything.
“My coming out story is kinda funny actually. I first came out to my friends really casually and they all freaked out because they always assumed that I was straight. A few days later I came out to my parents during dinner. I was really nervous so I first asked what they thought about the LGBT+ community to test the waters. After confirming that they are accepting, I told them that I was bi and they told me that they accepted me and that I should focus on my studies first rather than my love life.” – Sandy
You may be waaay less alone than you think!
“It’s actually a funny story. I was secretly making landi a guy for the first time because my friends thought I was still straight. My guy best friend told me he was also flirting with someone but never told us who this person was. I ended up hearing from someone na it was a guy as well. I confronted him and I told him that I liked guys too. Then, he came out to our group of friends and I followed. Everyone was so shocked but still so accepting. Right now, 4 out of the 7 guys in our group are admittedly gay.” – Frank
“This is my coming out story to my friends, barkada ko sila noong HS. Naglalakad kami from the mall going sa sakayan pauwi and I told them na I have to tell them something. At the time, I identified as bisexual (although until now, I’m still not sure ano talaga). So habang naglalakad kami, I told them na “Namamangka ako sa dalawang bangka“. Hindi nila nagets! Haha. So sabi ko na lang “I’m a bicycle”. So nalito sila lalo. Tinanong nila sino si “Kel” at bakit siya bi. Hanggang sa sinabi ko na lang ng tuluyan sa kanila tapos they literally did not care. Hahaha. As in, parang normal conversation lang na as if ‘yung sinabi ko ay “Kumain ako”. Ganon kamundane yung response nila. Hahaha. Pero now, ayon, isa na lang straight sa barkada namin. Haha.” – Gumamela Dimagiba
[This is my coming out story to my friends, they were my group of friends in high school. We were walking from the mall to the car as we were heading home, and I told them that I had something to tell them. At the time, I identified as bisexual (although until now, I’m still not completely sure how I identify). So as we were walking, I told them I was “sailing in two different boats.” They didn’t get me! Haha. So instead, I called myself a “bicycle.” They got even more confused. Then they asked me who “Kel” was and why he was bi. Until it got to the point that I just came out and said it, and they literally did not care. Hahaha. It felt like a normal conversation, as if I just said that “I ate.” That’s how mundane their response was. Hahaha. And now, only one of our friends in that group is straight. Haha.]
Sometimes, it’s better to take your time.
“At 13, I was told by my own grandmother that I’ll never amount to anything—- I’m a ‘salot’ [plague] and that I’d end up providing sexual favors for men and die from AIDS. Just because I happened to have pink polka dots on a blue background for a school project. It wasn’t really surprising because I was born in a province where homophobic sentiments were strong among the people. It’s a sad place where other baklas have sadly ingrained in themselves that their place is in the parlor and nowhere else. Luckily, or unluckily, I performed well in my academics. Just enough that I got accepted into a University that’s known for accepting Love — all the crazy permutations of it. It wasn’t until in UP that I realized that I felt that I was finally free. But it was also UP that I realized that I was better educated than them — this privilege makes me carry a proverbial cross to be more understanding of those that don’t understand that things may be more than black and white. I have the duty to educate them. These are the kinds of people who don’t know that their sons feel ashamed for getting butterflies for the cute boy from Science class who gave them their first love letter. These are the same parents who will try to make their daughters ‘straight’ just because she realized that she might like other girls. If you’re a parent reading this, I’m going to tell you this. Your kids have already borne enough scars from other people, please don’t add more.” – Bee
People may be much more accepting than you’d expect.
“I don’t know how it went to that, but I was about to sleep when my mom sat beside me and asked me if I was gay. I knew that the religious person she is won’t accept me, but I still said yes. She said that maybe I was just confused or that this was just a phase. I was waiting for her to cry and get mad. She did cry, but she was happy. She told me that she’ll love me unconditionally for whatever I am. Months later, she bought me my first Ariana Grande concert ticket hehe” – Dylan
“Coming out was a very slow, and very nerve-wracking process in the beginning. I learned about the LGBT, or at least bits and pieces of it, in 5th grade. The year that followed was full of questioning for me, Was I gay? Was I straight? Was I going through a “phase”? When one of my very close friends came out to our barkada, it all just clicked for me. I knew I was queer, one way or another. From then on I came out slowly, to my barkada, then to my accepting friends in high school. When I got to college, I started labeling myself as bi. There was such a welcoming and open community there and in my org, where I met my girlfriend. It was then, once I was serious in my new relationship, that I became fully confident in my sexuality and in myself. I came out to my dad first. I know it isn’t usual, people come out to their moms first, but we happened to be talking about the LGBT at the time, so I asked how he would feel if I happened to be “not straight”. He took it well! He told me he still accepted me, he loved me, even that he was okay with me dating another girl. This was the first time I felt that I could fully open up to my parents, I wasn’t invalidated. My mom was more spontaneous. I asked her if I could tell her something that may shock her. She took it with open arms, specifically with me /in/ her open arms. My mom said she loved me as well, and was slightly more upset that I told my dad first HAHA. All in all, my parents took me in with open arms, and though it’s a process, though I may never stop coming out to the people I meet and the people who have always been in my life, I’m blessed to be surrounded by love from every angle. As long as you surround yourself with accepting individuals, you can make it through.” – Jill
Even if you may not fully accept yourself yet, there will be others who will accept you wholeheartedly.
“Bata pa lang ako, tanggap na ng pamilya ko na gay ako. Nalaman ng mama ko na gay ako dahil kapag natulog na sa tanghali yung mga kalarong babae sa amin dati, sinusuot ko yung nga tsinelas nila. Kapag nagising sila kailangan ko na isauli yung tsinelas tapos iiyak daw ako nang iiyak sabi ng nanay ko. Hanggang sa binilan na lang nila ako ng sarili kong tsinelas na pambabae. Nasundan ng isa pa, hanggang sa may mga barbie ako, boots, kikay palda at iba pang gamit na pambabae. Tinahian pa ako ng mermaid tail ng lola ko. Babae talaga ang turing nilang lahat sa akin, babae ang mga pambahay ko at iba pa. Nang pumasok na ako sa eskwela, natakot ako dahil baka asarin ako sa pagiging bading ko. Nagkacrush pa ako sa isang babae nun dahil sobrang haba at kintab nung buhok niya. Ngayon ko lang narealize na sa buhok niya lang pala ako nagkacrush. Kinder hanggang sa Grade 8, tinatago ko sa eskwelahan kung ano ano tunay na kasarian ko, pero pagdating naman sa bahay hindi naman kailangan magtago.
[Even since I was a kid, my family knew I was gay. My mom knew I was gay because whenever my girl playmates would take naps in the afternoon, I would try on their slippers. But when they’d wake up, I would return the slippers and start crying to my mom. Until it got to the point that my mom bought me my own pair of women’s slippers. These instances continued, until I ended up having my own Barbie dolls, boots, cute skirts, and other feminine things. My grandmother even made me a mermaid tail. They all thought I was a girl, my house-clothes, among others, were for girls. When I started school, I was scared that people would bully me because I was gay. I even had a crush on a girl because her hair was so long and shiny. Now though, I realize I only had a crush on her hair. From Kinder to Grade 8, I hid my true gender identity, but when I’d get home, I never had to hide it.]
Pakiramdam ko lang na ang eskwelahan ay mas pormal na lugar lalo na’t officer pa ako sa mga club. Grade 8 nang maging kaklase ko ang lalaking ito, at naging sobrang lapit tayo sa isa’t-isa. Grade 9 nung nalaman ko na may namumuong pagtingin ako sa kanya. Hanggang sa pagtapos ng 16th birthday ko, inamin ko na sa mga kaibigan ko na bading ako at gusto ko nga yung lalaki na iyon. Sabi nila na alam naman na daw matagal na inaantay lang nila ako magsabi. Nakakatuwa, sobrang sayang isipin na kahit hindi ko pa tanggap nang buo ang aking sarili, may mga tao nang unang nakatanggap sa akin.
[I felt that school was a much more formal place, especially because I was an officer in my clubs. In Grade 8, I became classmates with this guy, and we became really close to one another. Grade 9 was when I began to realize I saw him in a different way. On my 16th birthday, I finally came out as gay to my friends and that I liked this guy. They said that they’ve known for a while now and were just waiting for me to come out. It made me really happy to think that even though I hadn’t accepted myself completely, there were people that already accepted me for who I am.]
Naisipan namin na mas mapapalaya ako ng katotohanan. Kaya kaming magkakaibigan nagpunta kami sa McDo para aminin ko sa kaibigan kong lalaki na gusto ko siya. Pagdating sa McDo, hindi ko alam ang sasabihin ko. Parang gusto kong lamunin na lang ako ng lupa. Pero hindi na pwede umatras. Ako at siya sa harap ng pito pa naming mga kaibigan. “Ganto kasi, crush kasi kita” sinabi ko sa kabadong tono ng boses. Napayuko, kunot noo sabay hawak sa noo habang tumatawa. “Hindi ako bading.” Literal na tumigil ang mundo ko. Hindi ko alam ang gagawin ko. Sobrang sakit lang isipin na kung sino pa yung lagi mong kausap nung panahon na iyon, siya pa yung hindi nakatanggap sa iyo. Hindi naman ako buong umasa na sasabihin niya na gusto niya rin ako. Ang plastik kasi kung sasabihin ko na hindi talaga ako umasa. Lumipas ang mga taon, naging mabuti rin ang lagay namin. Kasalukuyang magkaibigan kami at minsa’y nagkakasama sa mga inuman.
[We all thought it would be freeing for me to admit the truth. So we decided to go to Mcdo so I could confess my feelings for the guy I liked. When we arrived, I didn’t know what I was going to say. [I was so scared that] I wanted the ground to swallow me whole. But it was too late to back out now–both of us were there already, surrounded by my seven other friends. “Here’s the thing: I have a crush on you” I told him in a nervous, shaky voice. I kept my head down, my forehead wrinkled as I laughed awkwardly. “I’m not gay,” he replied. My world stopped. I didn’t know what to do. It hurt, knowing that the person I was always with at the time was the one who didn’t accept me. I didn’t hope too much that he’d reciprocate what I felt. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t hope at all. Years went by, and we remained on good terms. We’d see each other in school, and we’d even go out drinking together from time to time.]
Hindi ito yung mga sobrang hirap na coming out na kailangan mo pang umiyak sa kwarto dahil hindi ka natanggap ng mga magulang mo. Pero isa sa pinakamahalagang natutunan ko: Pagmamahal ang gabay natin sa pagtanggap kung sino tayo. Kung matutunan nating mahalin ang ating mga sarili, maibabahagi natin ang pagmamahal na ito sa iba. Kung matututunan nating magbahagi ng pagmamahal, mawawasak ang mga harang na naghihiwalay sa atin sa bawat isa. Magiging bukas ang isipan ng nakararami at magkakaron tayo ng mundo kung saan ang lahat ay maipapamalas kung sino at ano talaga ang katauhang nababalot ng pisikal na anyo.” – Carlo Barnachea
[This isn’t one of those difficult coming out stories that end in tears because your parents never accepted you. But I did learn something very important: that love is what guides us to accept ourselves. If we learn to love ourselves, we can return that love to others. We need to learn to share this love and break down the barriers that separate us from one another. We must be open-minded and create a world that allows others to express themselves and how they feel on the inside freely through who they are on the outside.]
People can surprise you!
“I was in Pancake House with my mom, sisters and cousins when my mom asked me “‘Nak, si *Bella, tibo?” I said “Yes mom, actually most of my friends hindi straight.” Then she said “So are you not straight too?” I became red, I didn’t know what to do. ‘Tas sabi ko “Bakit ma, kung nalaman mo ba na hindi ako straight, magagalit ka sa akin?” Then she stared at me and smiled then said “Nak, bakit kung nalaman ko ba na hindi ka straight, will I love you less? I love you maging sino ka man, kasi anak kita” then I sat up straight and said “Okay mommy, I am not straight.” – ELE
[I was in Pancake House with my mom, sisters and cousins when my mom asked me “‘Nak, is*Bella a lesbian?” I said “Yes mom, actually most of my friends aren’t straight.” Then she said “So are you not straight too?” I became red, I didn’t know what to do. So I said, “Why, mom? If you knew I wasn’t straight, would you be mad at me?” Then she stared at me and smiled then said “Nak, if I knew you weren’t straight, will I love you less? I love youno matter who you are because you’re my child.” then I sat up straight and said “Okay mommy, I am not straight.]
Those close to you might already know!
“I never really put a conscious effort to conceal my identity, to be honest. However, galing ako sa very Catholic household so as much as possible, I act “straight” when I’m home so sa social media ako very open. It was 2016, if I remember correctly. First monthsary namin ng first boyfriend ko (let’s call him Cliff) so I tweeted a couple of photos of us with the caption “1. ❤”. Fast forward to the weekend, my sister asked me to go to this inuman place sa may Kamuning. She needed help daw. I went there, drank a bit, then sabi niya labas daw kami. When we went out, she literally just asked me “So… you and Cliff?” Wala na atang sense i-deny ko since my sisters follow me sa lahat ng social media accounts ko so I just said, “Yeah. Why?”. She then proceeded to tell me that it’s no big deal, but be careful(-ish) kasi our parents are super religious.” – Gumamela Dimagiba
[I never really put a conscious effort to conceal my identity, to be honest. However, I come from a very Catholic household so as much as possible, I act “straight” when I’m home so on social media, I’m very open. It was 2016, if I remember correctly. My first monthsary with my first boyfriend (let’s call him Cliff) so I tweeted a couple of photos of us with the caption “1. ❤”. Fast forward to the weekend, my sister asked me to go to this drinking place in Kamuning. She said she needed help. I went there, drank a bit, then she said to come outside. When we went out, she literally just asked me “So… you and Cliff?” It made no sense to deny it since my sisters followed me on all mysocial media accounts, so I just said, “Yeah. Why?”. She then proceeded to tell me that it’s no big deal, but be careful(-ish) because our parents are super religious.]
It may take time, but it will all be worth it.
“So I always felt like I was different because I was really into all the feminine things. I was bullied a lot because of it so I ended up hiding my identity because I felt that it wasn’t safe to be out. I felt so out of place. I kept trying to pray the gay away to no avail. I realized like why should I pretend to be someone I’m not? Because of this thought I decided to start telling people and I stopped being ashamed. My parents found out and they didn’t take it very well, which sucked. It became a long process of acceptance and thy have fully accepted me now for who I am and who I want to be.” – Raffy
The LGBTQ+ Community has your back <3
“I’m fortunate enough to have parents who are open-minded. Even when my sister and I were still too young to understand what love is, they always told us that when we grow up, we could love anybody no matter what their gender is. Years later, I just casually told them that I was dating a girl. That’s what every LGBT member deserves: to be able to tell their parents who they love without worrying what they’ll say.” – Kat
“For kids who feel safer inside the closet, take your time.“ – Bee
“I now advocate for self-acceptance and self-love because I want to help those people who struggle to love and accept themselves. I also use all my platforms to raise awareness about issues in the gay community such as queer appropriation.” – Raffy
Do you have a coming out story to share?