by Jonathan Reeves

From New York City, New York, to Flagstaff, Arizona, there are stories to be told. From Mobile, Alabama, to Poulsbo, Washington, people are searching for community and a familiar voice. Whether you live in a metropolitan city or a rural township, you have a voice and a story that needs to be heard. That is why VideoOut exists—to create a living library of coming out stories from people across the sexuality and gender spectrum so that we, as a community, can preserve our shared narrative and give hope and comfort to those just beginning their journey toward their own coming out story. So now, wherever you are, share your story.

For the person in Yazoo City, Mississippi, wondering if the burdens of coming out in a small southern city may be too much to bear—share your story. For the Brooklyn, New York, artist who’s wondering how a label or association will change things—share our story. It is certainly true that some cities are more welcoming and diverse than others. Some areas of the country have vibrant and public LGBTQ communities while others seem to bristle at the idea. But no matter where someone lives, the decision to come out is never easy. Your story needs to be heard as much in Boston, Massachusetts, as it does in Burnham, New Mexico.

Come out, wherever you are, and share your story. iO Tennett Wright, in her TEDx talk, discusses the fluidity of sexuality and gender identity.  Many people do not identify as completely gay or completely straight, but fall somewhere in between on a sort of spectrum or, as Wright describes, in the “grey”. Wherever you are on this spectrum, you have a story to tell. To the bisexual man feeling that he has to make some binary declaration—tell your story. To the transgender woman unsure of how to put her feelings into words—tell your story.

Whether you’re in Dallas, Texas, or Green Bay, Wisconsin, whether you are transgender, bisexual, or still finding your place, share your story. We all face different challenges, fears, and influences in our decision to come out. It is rarely an easy decision and never one made lightly. That is why your story is so valuable. You know what it takes to look across that dinner table or to call home in tears to have the conversation with mom. More importantly, you know what it’s like the next day, week, and year after coming out. Your story of struggle is also a story of hope. Share your story today. Help someone else stop hiding.

To share your story, visit us here. Also, keep in touch with VideoOut on Facebook and Twitter. You can also help us reach our goal—we want to have 500 videos ready to share by September 30, 2016. So please, share your story. Then tell your friends to share their stories. Every voice matters.

Jonathan Reeves, VideoOut's Editorial Director, lives with his family in Leeds, Alabama.