Thursday morning, New Year's morning, a day inherently of new beginnings, my teenage nephew "came out" to his father. This was undoubtedly after years of internal struggle and anxiety, culminating in a recent inpatient hospitalization for depression. He told me his coming out was partly motivated by the story of Leelah Alcorn , the teenager who tragically committed suicide after years of such internal pain and conflict, and whose last words included "my death needs to mean something".
I share this short letter I wrote to him and his coming out, simply in the hope that it may provide comfort and strength to others, teenagers or adults, who are similarly, and unfairly struggling with who they truly are. Moreover I share in the hope that it may encourage the parents and loved ones of such people to be actively aware as opposed to deliberately in the dark, to be supportive and not judgemental , to love more, not less.
Be Good Friends
I'm so proud of you.
So proud that you found the strength to open up, to come out.
I'm so excited that in this new year, you are free of the anxiety and uncertainty that being "in the closet" must bring. You're free now to be yourself, to begin your life as who you truly are.
Do not let the judgment or opinions of the small and simple minded ever discourage you, ever bring you down. Draw strength from those who love you, those who wish you nothing but happiness. Draw strength and comfort in the inevitable truth that true love one day awaits you.
Also, accept the fact that you are different .
But not because of who you're attracted to, or because of who you will one day love.
You are different because you are one of the most unbelievably smart and funny individuals I know.
You're different because you're courageous and mature beyond your age.
You're different because you're incredibly thoughtful and considerate, because of the difference you make in the lives of so many.
You're different because you're extraordinary, and extraordinary things surely await you.
I'm here, I have your back... Always.
I love you.