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Monday, November 10, 2014

We All Deserve to Be Happy by Taylor Holmes

I wish I could say that when I realized I was gay I threw myself a coming out party and painted my room rainbow but unfortunately I had to go through a different (and much lonelier) phase first. When I was first coming out and still trying to navigate who I was and who I wanted to know about my sexuality and who I wanted to keep in the dark, I took many precautions to hide my “gayness”. Not only was I worried about what my friends would think, but also I worried about my family. I come from a pretty religious household and my mom has told me on several occasions that being gay is inherently wrong. This made me think long and hard about how and when I wanted to go public with my sexual orientation. So I filtered what I posted on Facebook, cleared my YouTube search history so people wouldn’t know that I had watched almost every Tegan and Sara video on the internet, only wore my rainbow bracelet around certain friends, and was very careful to avoid any conversation about dating. This one foot in and one foot out of the closet phase was nerve wracking to say the least. Too many hours were spent agonizing over what people would think if they knew and I still thank God that Chico offers free counseling services because if not, I would be so far in debt that paying tuition would be the least of my worries.

Then, over a long period of time, I had several revelations.

1.       Being queer is great.

2.       Caring about what other people think about me being queer is exhausting.

3.       I deserve to be happy.

That last one may not seem like much of a revelation but after years of living only to please others, it was a big step for me to realize that I was allowed to take control of my own life and make decisions that would make me happy.

After these revelations, I entered phase two. During this time, I couldn’t help but work my sexuality into conversations where I really didn’t need to bring it up. No longer was I worried about people knowing that I am gay, so naturally, I chopped off all of my hair, my outfits became more and more rainbow themed, and you could bet your life savings that I was going to be in the front row of every GSEC event and Pride meeting. Looking back on this time period now, I am tempted to say that I am embarrassed but the reality is that I’m not. I’m actually really proud of myself for going through phase two. In reaction to phase one, I needed a time when I was really and truly proud of exactly who I am. I needed a time to celebrate the actualization of all of the dreams and feelings I had always been too scared to express.

Now I’m in phase three? Yeah, I guess that sounds about right. My hair is still short and now I intern at the GSEC but my rainbow attire has (mostly) shifted to just buttons on my backpack and for the most part I can get through a conversation without mentioning that I’m gay. Cass’ Identity Model and theory of the coming out process would say that I am in stage six: Identity Synthesis. This is the final stage of the long and sometimes painful process of accepting who we are and is also when people often realize that sexual orientation is only one aspect of who we are and not our entire identity.

While the road to get here hasn’t always been the smoothest and I’ve lost some passengers along the way, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I needed to go through the confusion, the self-acceptance, the intense pride of who I am, and the realization that I am also so much more than just one identity. I know that I wouldn’t have made it here without my friends, some family, and the GSEC, all of whom have been here for me through the entire process, even when I’m sure I annoyed the hell out of them during my brief period of obsession with Ellen Page. They all recognized that each of those steps were so important to my process of figuring out who I am and I am a testament to the fact that we need places like the GSEC and Pride to help people along the way. The fact of the matter is that the barriers I faced when coming out were miniscule compared to what so many LGBTQ+ youth face around the world. Without continuing resources and support, we will continue to see too many lives lost to hate. It may seem like a small revelation, but we all deserve to be happy and I am so immensely thankful to those that constantly reminded me of that.



  1. This is an awesome blog post! I definitely agree that we all deserve to be happy, and I think it's great that you've gotten to the stage of Identity Synthesis. Every stage is important and necessary on the way to becoming truly comfortable with who you are. I also agree that places like the GSEC are so helpful in getting through every stage.

  2. Great post! It is awesome to hear how far you've come. We do all deserve to be happy and learn to love that we are more than just one aspect of our identity.

  3. I loved reading this. you can tell it was written by an English major :) It makes me happy to read how far you've come. You deserve all the happiness in the world!