Coming out is an amazing journey, but not a simple or easy one by any means. Discovering and coming to terms with one’s sexual and gender identity can be sort of a rollercoaster: It's got highs, lows, fast turns, and it often ends up being way different than we imagined it. That's why no one should go through this journey alone. Having a community of allies that supports you for who you are can make coming out a wonderful process, and that's one of the most important roles that Palace Palace plays. Pride Palace has been able to create an incredible safe space through which allies and members of the LGBTQ+ community have shared their stories, our Facebook group. We want to highlight your beautiful and brave stories. For that reason, every Saturday, we will share the stories of Pride Palace members as a way to create meaningful connections, inspire, and teach about real coming out experiences.
The first Pride Palace member whose story we want to share is Ally/Axel. They are an 18-year-old nonbinary pansexual who lives in New York City. Their zodiac sign is a virgo and their favorite colors include black and red. Like many members of the LGBTQ+ community, Ally/Axel’s story begins very early:
“When I was younger, I guess 9, I started to get confused a lot, and never understood why. I had a lot of crushes growing up (just as any other person). Not only did I crush on boys...I crushed on girls too.”
Figuring out if you are part of the LGBTQ+ community at such a young age can be extremely difficult, and it is an experience that is very much overlooked. This is because the LGBTQ+ community is unfortunately still a taboo subject in many households, and children often have no one they can resort to for simply discussing what they feel. Hence, discovering you might be gay can be extremely confusing and cause a lot of anxiety among children.
“At first I was very confused and felt like it was wrong of me to do, but when middle school came around, that changed. 7th grade was probably a year I felt comfortable to come out, but at first it was as a bisexual. I've dated both boys and girls and felt happy that I had the acceptance from my mother.”
Coming out is such an amazing feeling, but as Ally found out, it is not always a one time event. Discovering one’s self is an ever changing process, and we never know where it might take us. At this point, Ally had discovered their sexual orientation, which stands for physical and emotional attraction to others, as that of bisexual. However, their identity was not yet defined.
“I still felt confused at some points. I would feel like I'm just existing: It felt like I had no gender due to the fact that I dressed/acted like both male and female. I fell in love with the name Axel from an old art piece I created, so I decided that would be my "guy" name. That made me feel more at ease but something still felt like it was missing.”
Here is where one of those unexpected turns happens:
“In 9th grade of high school, I had a crush with a really nice girl. When I was getting to know her better, she told me that she was actually a transgender female. Regardless, that only made me more attracted to her, and maybe a few months later, I learned a few of the LGBTQ+ terms. When I did it helped me find who I am, I'm happy with it. I’m proud to say (or be) a nonbinary pansexual.”
There is a lot to learn from Ally/Axel. They faced their journey head on, welcoming their feelings and trying to understand what they meant. While they faced moments of doubt and confusion, they understood them as part of their journey and kept moving forward. Thank you so much for your story and we hope that the rest of our community is able to learn from it. Reach out to us with your own story, and let's keep working to support each other!