8 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self About Coming Out

When I moved to NYC at 22, I was a full-on gayby. What’s a gayby? A gay baby, a baby gay. I had no idea how to come out, be gay, or enjoy any of it. Now I’m 30, happily out and living my best gay masked-up and quarantined life. But what if I had magical powers? Like the kind that would allow me to speak to my younger self and give her some tips for the strange journey that is coming out. Would I do it? Obviously, but only if I could publish it on Cosmo, the magazine that taught me what a hand job was/most likely still is.

Like most millennials, I tried to micromanage my coming out. I used to have this little red secret gay notebook where I would keep track of who in my life I’d come out to, and who was still “on the list.” The list was filled with people I felt obligated, excited, and terrified to tell. Eventually I realized the list was going to take me decades to get through, so I decided to rip it up in dramatic millennial fashion, and do something bold. I put together a team of awesome people and made a TV pilot about my own coming out. We premiered it at Tribeca Film Festival and called it LADY LIBERTY. Last month I released the pilot online, thus coming out to everyone I know—and everyone I don’t know. So now I’m officially out, and it feels great, but if I could, I’d love to go back and give that sweet gayby a few tips to ease her down the rainbow brick road.

Clear out your closet. Like, your literal, physical closet.

Of course, there’s no Blouse Police that pulls up and forces you to do a total overhaul of your wardrobe, but I wish I had known that as I grew more comfortable with myself, my personal style would change. One day you’ll think, “I should exclusively wear all black, forever!” And the next you’ll be like, “Kowabunga! I should absolutely dress like a ’70s all-American surfer dudette in New York winter!” It’s all about exploration, and accepting the fact that you’re now a person who owns three pairs of adult corduroy shorts.

Embrace the lob.

Since long hair is cancelled (according to older, queerer you), go out and get that long bob! You’ll feel better, freer, and more yourself in minutes.

Peel off the label.

As David Rose from Schitt’s Creek (a TV show that you’ll be very into in the near future) says, “I like the wine, not the label.” Do yourself a favor and stop forcing a label on yourself. Let’s face it, if you had to pick one right now, you’d probably go with “AHHHGGHHHHHH!?” anyways.

Bros over hoes, at least for now.

Not that you’d ever refer to women as “hoes,” except for the sake of rhyming at this very moment on this very public forum. You are so thirsty for queer friends and a queer fairy godmother to fall out of the sky that hookups feel secondary. I know you hate math, but if you do the math, a one-night stand lasts approximately one night, whereas a friendship lasts a whole bunch of nights! So focus on finding yourself some IRL queer friends to rock beanies and attend Wet concerts with.

Revamp your feed.

You know how everyone you knew growing up was straight, and also everyone’s parents, and oddly enough, everyone’s grandparents? Well, believe it or not, that messed you up. Since you didn’t see gay families, gay couples, and gay people being happy and smiling (IRL or on TV), you’re not going to believe that you can be gay and happy, gay and in a relationship, or gay and building a family. Good news though, you can fix this. You just have to become your own queer Rupurt Murdoch and redesign your Instagram feed to be at least 90% gay. Slam that follow button on queer families, carpenters, skateboarders, politicians, etc. Soon enough, you’ll realize that gays have awesome lives, cool wives, adorable happy kids, and gorgeous wooden country homes in the Hudson Valley.

Gay Magnetism is real.

I only learned the term “gay magnetism” last year, but when I did, it hit me like a ton of gay bricks. It’s the scientific theory that gays attract other gays. Wild, right? It’s my new favorite scientific theory, right after centrifugal force. Basically, you’ll soon realize that a bunch of your best friends from over the years are actually gay, and just aren’t fully out yet, just like you! And here’s the good news: they will be coming out soon too, and you will start to feel a lot less alone.

Confidence is contagious, but so is shame.

Splitting, compartmentalizing, and secrets will take a toll on you and leave a scar. As soon as you’re ready, make the choice to surround yourself with people who are bold, brave, and you guessed it, BEAUTIFUL!

Stop trying to control everything.

It’s time to stop caring about who knows and who doesn’t know. Toss out the little red notebook of shame and accept that there is no “right way” to come out. Just go full speed ahead with your way. Take your passion, fear, and desire to share your truth, and tell it. Make LADY LIBERTY, release it, and without realizing it, you will have released yourself.

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