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How I Came Out-Rea Carey’s Story

October 11, 2015

My earliest memory of having a crush on a girl was in third grade, and while I knew this made me different than my friends in some way, I didn’t have a word for it. The negative words that kids used on the playground didn’t match up with the positive feelings I had. While I knew it was socially unacceptable, I wasn’t bothered that I felt that way. Rea Coming Out Day

“When I was 16 years old, in 1982, I came out. In part, coming out…was mostly just about living my teenage life, having girlfriends and not hiding it. I resented the idea of having to ‘come out’ because my straight friends didn’t have to come out about being straight…I was very lucky to have a relatively easy time in being out in high school. Many LGBTQ people are not so fortunate.

Coming of age as a lesbian in the 1980s, as the AIDS epidemic was beginning to rage and so many people I knew were HIV-positive and getting sick, had a profound impact on my life, my activism and my sense of community. At the time, there was also increased attention to the high suicide rates among queer youth. There is no way to explain how it felt to be surrounded by these tragedies…There are thousands of people like me that carry with us in our activism the privilege of being alive now, after having seen so much loss. Every day, I am working to honor those who are no longer here and to make it safer for LGBTQ people to be out.

by Rea Carey, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force

This post originally appeared in “‘How I came out’: 6 LGBT influencers tell us their amazing stories” on Mashable

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