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What I learned From My Brother

Chris Higgins, Staff Writer

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When my older brother came out as gay, I was only eight years old, so it was hard to grasp. The only time I had ever heard the word used was when kids in my school used it as an insult. After finding out my brother was gay, it gave me an entirely different outlook on the word. At such a young age, I never commented on people who used the word negatively, and now the fact that I did not upsets me, since those kids think it’s acceptable.

Overtime, it brought my brother and I closer together, as it should for anyone who comes out to you. There is a stigma that when someone comes out, everything changes. This is completely false. As long as you stay close and support each other along the way, nothing will change. My brother and I are very close and the fact that he is gay does not affect our relationship at all and it should not be that way for anyone else. 

Sometimes when a friend comes out, it may feel weird or different at first. If your friend shares something personal, it is important to acknowledge and validate the struggles they may go through because of discrimination and prejudices. Whether a friend or family member comes out in any way, it is important to know that it does not change anything.

Also, it is important to understand that some people are only comfortable coming out to a few people, and if they tell you to keep it a secret, you need to do so. Some kids are not in a situation where their family members would be accepting if they came out as queer, so it’s important to keep it private if they say so.

Matt Higgins, my brother and former WA student, discussed coming out to people.

“Sometimes in order to be your true self, you have to take that risk. Coming out can be hard, especially when you don’t have the support you need, but it’s important to do so when you feel comfortable. Luckily, I have a family that will support me along the way, but others don’t and it’s important to know that,” said Higgins.

When a family member or friend comes out, it can make things different for some people. However, the fact is that they are still the same person, but now they are really showing you who they are. When someone comes out, it is also a compliment to those they tell since it shows that they are comfortable with these people.

If you have a friend or family member who comes out, once again, it is important to support them through their struggles that they may experience now or in the future.

 

Has a family member or friend come out to you?

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What I learned From My Brother