I grew up in Brooklyn -- East Flatbush -- it wasn't easy. I felt like a target everywhere I went. Then you know, I was ... different. So you know, it was not easy living in that kind of environment at all. It got to a point where I was kind of afraid to come outside. I was always a very feminine person. Just my movements. Just the way I spoke. When I looked in the mirror, I would see a woman. In my mind, my mind was Tatiana, so I would call myself that. So, I was like, this is me -- I mean, from four or five years old. I can remember. It was like, I didn't feel there was anything wrong. It was so normal. This is who I am. To everyone else, I said, 'You're the problem.' For the life of me, I could not wrap my head around the fact that nobody could accept that this is how I liked it to be.
I came out when I was 19, which was really difficult. I was raised in a really strict Baptist church home. Growing up, I would always hear the homosexual story in the Bible: homosexuals are going to be condemned. It didn't register until I realized what I was. In second grade, I realized I wasn't like the other boys in my class. I didn't know what it was, I just knew I wasn't like them. And then it was middle school when I heard gay for first time and what it meant. And I was like, 'Oh my god -- not going to say that to anyone.'
Ashley was told she couldn't attend her prom in a tux. She was told that she shouldn't tell anyone that she is a lesbian. She was told that she couldn't be herself over and over again. So you know what she did? She looked the world square in the eyes and she lived her authentic life anyway. Her uncle is her inspiration, a man who lived in the time of Stonewall, who was arrested for being gay, and who died of AIDS. For him, and for all of us, Ashley performs as a drag king, Ashton the Origin8r. She performs so that all of us might know that we are not alone, that we are beautiful and magical just the way that we are.
The one and only Mojo Disco is a fat femme from Brooklyn. A trans woman of color, her magic and resilience are a part of her - as much her identity as her queerness and her blackness, which are inseparable to her. Her poetry speaks truth to power and her love for others always wins.
Héctor grew up in El Paso, Texas. He's now an attorney, and it wasn't until he felt he was financially independent, successful, and accomplished in his own right that he could tell his family about being LGBTQ.
Make no mistake, Sundeep, also known as King Sunny B, is proud to be gay. He’s also proud to be Sikh and South Asian. And he’s proud to be American - the kind of United States citizen that accepts people for who they are and pursues love and equality. That’s why King Sunny B is taking social media by storm. He wants everyone to know - especially if you’re Sikh, South Asian, and LGBTQ - that you are important. You matter, and you are loved!
Edafe is from Nigeria, a refugee who runs The RDJ Refugee Shelter, currently the only shelter in New York City specifically for homeless asylum seekers and refugees. His story is fraught with challenges and pain, but Edafe is 1000% heart.
In his VideoOut story, Martin tells about the time he came out to his grandmother. "She looked like she just stepped off of an olive oil can." It's funny, and a sweet reminder that oftentimes, coming out isn't traumatic. But Boyce was (and still is) a fighter.
Shawn is from New York. He's spent his whole life here, and he loves it. Now, he works as a member of the NYC Pride staff. He believes in the Pride march platform to increase visibility, celebrate victories, and change the world for the better. Shawn's story is a testimony of all those who have come before us.
Originally from Hong Kong, Ho Ki is now a Brooklyn resident. It wasn't always easy for her. She came out in high school as a lesbian, but she's still not out to her mother. She is learning a lot about what it means to be a member of the LGBTQ community at her job, the Department of Health, but at home, she says, "It's just not a part of our culture. We just don't talk about it."
“At that time, we just didn't worry about anything. It was just living life and having a nice time. It was different then.... I was in an underground club, in the basement of this building... The door opened up, and there was this fabulous club with a sunken bar, and a dance floor. It was wonderful. But unfortunately, the fun didn't last that long because the place was raided by the cops that night.”
Sarina left Jonathan in the past, but she will not forget to acknowledge him. Now, however, she is happy living in her truth. At 16, she started telling everyone. Watch her story, and then add your own voice to VideoOut's library of coming out stories. Be a part of something powerful!
Barbara moved to NYC is 1969, just in time for the disco era. Her experiences excited her and allowed her to live her truth. She recounts her losses - an all to common narrative surrounding the AIDS epidemic - but, her story ends on a happy note: she is happy being Barbara the lesbian.
"My coming-out story is definitely one where my mom figured me out first, and then I had to come to terms with where I was."
Katy is a queer, single mom by choice. She knows the anxiety harboring a secret brings, and the freedom that comes from shinning a light on it. Her hope is that by sharing her story, she'll let others know it's ok to be queer and a parent.
“I'm still figuring out the way that I, Amy, am gay. And I think that's fine."
Don't compare yourself to people who've come out at different ages. Just let it happen. It's your life..."
“I wanted to say that my gender identity was Wonder Woman and that I was deeply in love with Scott Bacula.”
“When I got to that point, life just felt so much better for me. It was a lot lighter in a real way."
Michael, also known as Barbie, has always lived life between Mexico and The United States. Crossing the border was a regular experience for he and his friends throughout high school, often staying out very late to hang out. After one of those night, Michael's father asked him a question.