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Happy Coming Out Day, y'all!

Everyone has their own coming out stories, no one less significant than another. Our best wishes are wish everyone who makes, or has made, the decision to announce to the world who they are!

Here's how we told our worlds!

"Like many people, my coming out didn't happen all at once. When I went off to college, I just began the chapter of my life as an openly gay guy. At the same time, I came out to all of my friends from high school and my siblings, except my brother who is 7 years younger than me. This part was pretty easy. Everyone was welcoming and really nobody was surprised. The hard part was coming out to my parents, especially my mom. That happened my junior year of college and it was really difficult as she was not supportive or accepting. On and off for years after that, my relationship with my mom was challenging and uncomfortable when my homosexuality was addressed. However, she always made it clear that she loved me and today we are in a really great place. So what's my point? Coming out can be complicated, drawn-out and different for everyone. It's not always all good or all bad and that's all okay! For me, there was no choice. I couldn't live carrying this huge part of me inside and not sharing that part with the people I love most. My friends and family carried me through the challenging times and they truly saved my life."

- Anthony Sobotik

"Coming out for me was a 31 year process and I am now 46. I knew early on in my life that I was different but I did not come to terms with myself being gay until I entered my twenties. I left home for college so my life as a gay person did not really evolve around the people I love most, my family. Though it had to have been obvious that I was gay for a long time, we never discussed it. I had been dating guys for years but never felt the need to share with my family. Not out of fear of not being accepted, but because I had not met anyone I wanted to bring home as a person I loved as family. It wasn't until I met Anthony in 2005 that I realized the time was right. I was living in NYC and was able to visit my family more often than I had in years, and I was growing even closer to them than ever before. I finally built up the courage to tell my sister and when I did, it was as I suspected -- she knew! She told me that everyone knew and that they were just waiting for me to 'officially' share it with them. My true coming out was when I told my mother, the most cherished person in my life. I always knew she loved me unconditionally but I always feared that my coming to terms with my sexuality would disappoint her in some respect and that is the last thing I wanted. I vividly remember calling my mom and telling her that I wanted to bring a new friend (Anthony!) home on my next visit. She wanted some painting done in her house and I said he would be a great helper. I dragged this conversation on for a long time and finally said, 'he's a bit more than a friend,' to which she immediately said, 'I know, it's okay.' She was looking forward to meeting him. Literally years of anxiety around coming out had just happened in a 5 minute phone call... and everything was fine. Though the journey of realizing my sexuality was a long and not necessarily easy one personally, I consider myself extremely fortunate that my official coming out was so anti-climactic and, frankly, easy. I should have done it years earlier. I am one of the lucky ones surrounded by a beautiful, open, loving, and accepting family and I wish that everyone who is faced with coming out could also be so lucky."

- Chad Palmatier

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