To celebrate National Coming Out Day, I want to share the email I sent to my parents last summer while I was visiting my girlfriend in England. This email is completely unedited and contains a lot of details of my trip before working up the nerve to tell them (the coming out section is in bold). To anyone who is not out yet, do not feel guilty about it. You do not owe people in your life your identity. And if you choose to tell people over texts or emails, or anything that is not in person, that is okay. The average person does not have to struggle like you do, so do not feel bad for making it easier for yourself.
Mom and Dad,
I’m having an amazing time here and I thought I would write a long email about it.
Meeting Jas for the first time was the most surreal experience I’ve ever had. And weirdly now is I can’t quite remember it. I can’t remember how it felt to see her for the first time—I just know that it felt surreal, as if that moment was more of a fact and not a feeling. Like I had been there but it didn’t happen to me, except for that it did. I remember that she smelled really good and that she was taller than I expected and her voice was softer than I knew it to be.
All the houses are smaller here. Every so often I see a house that looks about our-sized home, but even then the structure has two doors and is shared by two families. Everything is very communal and space is tight and nothing is truly your own, which I have less of a problem with than I would’ve guessed. Jas brings out that part of me, one that isn’t afraid to be less isolated.
London was otherworldly. We took a train from Ipswich to London Liverpool Street, where the station was the busiest, largest, most congested building I have ever seen, busier than the airport. Our train tickets and returns with underground day pass travels cost near 100 pound; the cost of living here is far greater than what I’m used to in the States.
The city itself was beautiful, and exactly what you’d expect. Well at least Oxford Street was, and the area with all the tourist attractions. I was in a 3-story Lush and bought an oxford exclusive bathbomb for Tessa, a friend from school, as well as some bath melts for Sarah for her birthday. I got a London sweatshirt from one of the million souvenir shops for only twenty pound (which was the same price as a London snapback I considered buying.) (I think I might get Conor a snapback when I go back to London.) We went to loads of shops, including Urban Outfitters, a shop so expensive I could probably only afford the zipper off a pair of jeans.
We went to a part of London called Camden, which I’d never heard of before, I don’t know if either of you have. But it was completely different from central London. Camden Market was the coolest thing. Sculptures leapt off of buildings and the market itself was like a craft tent sale except there were literal stories of it in this very old brick-pathed outdoor structure. And there was nothing they didn’t sell there. We’re hoping to go back to Camden because you could spend days in this one single part of London alone.
We went to see a youtuber named Dodie Clark sing in Camden at a place called Cereal Killer Cafe (a cafe completely dedicated to serving only cereals). She was as good and charming as she is in her youtube videos and I have clips to show you when I get home. She also told me my outfit was cute and I would just like to point out that my outfit that day was the black and floral jumper that mom bought me from playdough’s closet for one single dollar. A+ thrifting right there.
As for Warner Brother’s Studio Tour. It was everything I’ve ever dreamed of. The experience is more than I can say, more than I can share. I just hope that somehow I’ll be able to hold onto that feeling of having a dream come true. Because that’s what happened. Jasmin made my oldest dream come true. To actually get to do something that you’ve been thinking about in the back of your mind for like, a decade, but something you don’t wish for too hard because there’s not really a good chance you’ll ever get to do it, but then, by some miraculous series of events, you land in the place of all your birthday candle wishes. Absolutely unbelievable. There were a lot of favorite parts of this, but possibly my absolute favorite was seeing the Hogwarts castle’s model they used for filming. It was way bigger than I would’ve guessed it to be. Bigger than our living room. Just such a WOW! that I could hardly even speak.
We also went to a free science museum in which a random boy who sounded German asked to take a picture with us, looked at Jas after another random museum goer took the picture, and told her in all seriousness that she “looks like a shiny potato” I kid you not. I could not stop laughing I had actual tears falling from my eyes.
We went to another city earlier in the week called Norwich, which is quite close. We went inside this enormous Cathedral, which has been standing for over 900 years. Can you believe. How old. That is. Because I can’t even begin to wrap my head around it. Something that old, still standing. It’s unbelievable. It’s breathtaking. And seeing it was too. We even got to go up to a stabilized part of the second floor, and the curly staircase (without a railing I might add) to get up there was claustrophobic and jarring. But I made it up (and back down!).
I want you both to know that I am having a truly amazing time here and I’m seeing so many things and gaining a lot of experiences I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. And also that I miss you both very much.
As you’d assume, I’ve heard about the Orlando shooting at the gay nightclub. I don’t really know what’s being said about it over there, over here everyone is simply shocked at the gun issue, and that citizens are even allowed to acquire guns so easily (probably because this is so foreign to them). And while guns are an issue, it’s not the only issue. And it’s not even my focus. What I can’t help but focus on is that the LGBT community was targeted. The deadliest mass shooting in American history took 49 lives from this community. A community that I belong to.
I don’t know how much of a shock (or lack thereof) this is, but I would like it to be officially known amongst our family that I identify as bisexual.
I am truly, truly sorry this isn’t something I’ve told either of you before today. The guilt I’ve carried for not speaking truthfully about this has been heavy. And even now as I write this, I still do not have a good excuse or explanation as to why I’ve waited so long, because I know both of you love me. I know nothing I do and nothing that I am is going to change how much you both love me. And for that I am one of the luckiest people in this world, to have such loving, accepting parents as the two of you.
I just want you to know that waiting to tell you, and to tell you over email rather than phone or in person, is not something you could’ve prevented or changed. I am who I am and I’m too fearful and too private a person to be able to tell anyone from the get-go. It took me a long time to even be able to accept it within myself without any intention of telling anyone.
But for a while now I have felt very comfortable and happy with this label and belonging to this community, and I want you to be a part of that with along with me.
Although I am very happy with who I am now, it hasn’t always been that way. When first discovering my sexuality I had spent hours contemplating and deciding that I would simply never tell people. And hope and wish and pray that I would never, ever fall in love with a girl. That way I would never have to tell anyone.
And now a few years later I am in love with a girl who happens to live in England. We both understand the complications, and yes there are numerous. But our happiness comes before a set of “what-ifs” and risks we might have been too scared to take. We are young and smart, and we will figure it out one step at a time.
I’d like to take a couple moments to explain what it means to be bisexual. There is a common misconception that bisexuality means “attraction to men and women.” The definition from the queer community (and this is the definition that counts, since the word is for the queer community) is “experiencing attraction to two or more genders” meaning that bisexual people may experience attraction to men, women, and nonbinary people (meaning anyone who does not identify as a man or woman). It is also important to note that bisexuality does not always mean attraction is 50% men, 50% women.
I am sorry, really truly sorry for just bombarding you with this unexpectedly via email. I wish I would have told you sooner. I wish I was brave enough to call you. I wish I had been fearless enough to talk to you about this when I was struggling. But I’m not struggling anymore. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, and for raising me to love myself. I couldn’t have survived my early adult life had it not been for that. I love you both so, so much.
P.S. Jasmin is not out to a majority of her family, including her dad, and we would like to keep it that way right now. My sexuality, however, is not a secret. Tell whoever you feel comfortable telling if it ever comes up. I don’t like hiding and the more people I don’t have to formally come out to the better. It’s really hard for me (in case you couldn’t tell hahaha). Manda and Conor already know. You can text me after you read this or call or reply back to my email. It doesn’t have to be a huge thing, you can just say “I read the email” or something really simple, but for my own peace, I would really like to know that you’ve both read it. And please ask me any questions if you have any. I love you.