"I’m proud of myself for starting to figure out who I want to be and how I want to spend my time and what kinds of people I want to surround myself with.

For me, embracing my queerness coincided with becoming an adult and learning how to be in healthy relationships with myself and other people. I was 22 and excited and scared and had no idea what I was doing. I went on so many first dates where I told my whole dramatic coming out story in the first 10 minutes, and of course, never heard from the person again. I have so much compassion for that bright-eyed, newly queered me, but I’m so happy (and feel so lucky) that in the past 5 years I’ve gotten to a place of feeling solid enough in myself and this part of my identity that I don’t feel like I constantly have to explain it to people.

Being queer is about taking myself seriously and knowing my boundaries and being part of communities that make queerness feel like the norm. I’m proud of myself for getting out of relationships where I felt smothered because I was so attached to the other person that I forgot who I was — and giving myself time and space to reconnect with things I love to do, like making art, playing music, and spending lots of time outside. For me, realizing I was queer was the beginning of learning how to take care of myself. Even though I’ve been “out” for almost 5 years, sharing these thoughts publicly still feels vulnerable. But I think visibility is really important. And I'm proud of myself for being vulnerable."