Earlier this summer, continuing an annual tradition, we invited Daily Hive Vancouver readers who identify as LGBTQ to submit their own ‘coming out’ stories as a way of empowering and inspiring others who may be struggling with their own sexuality.
The second of our reader-submitted coming out stories during Vancouver Pride Week 2017 shows how “coming out” can be a lifelong experience.
Name: Tori Wong
Occupation: Policy analyst for the federal government
I came out to a few friends when I was 12, and to my family when I was 14. I had a stable home and social life, so it wasn’t overly traumatizing. But the biggest enemy I faced was myself.
In the years before coming out, I had internalized so much hate for myself that I was convinced everyone who didn’t know me directly hated me. Until I moved to Vancouver when I was 18, I was scared and angry all at once, all the time.
After moving to the city, those feelings became a memory, even though it was only an hour and a half away from where I grew up.
When I was 14, I tried to kill myself because I couldn’t imagine that I would have a happy future. I didn’t think anyone would ever love me, nor that the world would let me love somebody openly.
For at least four years, I felt very alone. I was scared that everyone I met knew the truth, but at the same time I fiercely wanted to not care. I thought I was on my own, and I hid who I really was deep inside.
It has been ten years since I came out, during which I earned two university degrees and managed to convince a beautiful woman to date this nerd.
We recently moved to Ottawa to find work, and I can honestly say that every now and then I find myself missing home dearly.
Not just for the beautiful landscape and amazing food, but also for the openness of the city. For all of its flaws, Vancouver made me feel like I belonged.
I always knew “coming out” is a life-long experience, but since moving I’ve come to really feel the exhaustion of it for the first time.
Having to navigate a new city, new relationships, and the workplace is normally a struggle, but doing so while trying to figure out when it is safe to be honest about yourself is, frankly, exhausting.
I’ve noticed that I’m more cautious about holding my partner’s hand in public and more wary about public displays of affection – things that I would never second-guess back home.
It will take time to get used to, but I’m sure I’ll get there. I wouldn’t change anything about my past, but I would tell myself that it gets better, even when the storm doesn’t seem to end.