Jessica Mahmoud
Jessica Mahmoud

A university student shares her coming out story with pride.

I’m Jessica, my pronouns are she, her, hers, and I’m a lesbian. I’m also a 21-year old college student studying Journalism with a minor in LGBTQ Studies.

I think my coming out story is pretty unique, and as someone who wants to be an activist, I love sharing my personal stories with others. Here’s my coming out story.

I didn’t come out until college, but I thought about my identity for a long time. I think the show South of Nowhere planted the idea of liking girls in my head back in 7th grade. For years, I questioned whether I was gay, and I always felt really guilty about the possibility that I might be. For whatever reason, it felt like it was a bad thing, even though I don’t come from a religious family.

Around that time, in middle school, I confided in a friend about it and I think it kind of scared her off. My mum told me that my friend’s mum said she didn’t want to be my friend anymore, so my mother kind of learned about it then. I think she said something like she didn’t think I was [gay], and said how they have a harder life, which I think mentally stuck with me and made me feel that my mum wouldn’t accept me.

From then up until about the fall semester of my sophomore year of college, thoughts about my sexuality and the guilt of not knowing and the possibility of being gay came and went. Sometimes, it wouldn’t bother me at all, but eventually, when the topic came up, so would all my thoughts about my own identity. In the meantime, I was not seeking out lovers of any gender.

In the fall of my sophomore year, I realised I should stop consulting my friends and came out to my mum about being curious about my sexuality. It was a life-changing conversation. She was really supportive and it meant the world to me.

In the spring, I decided to go to the professionals and got involved in my school’s LGBTQ Centre. It was also life-changing. I found a community and support system that I needed in questioning my identity. It was also great to feel confident in identifying as questioning because I still really wasn’t sure.

At this time, I still wasn’t in relationships or “experimenting.” Eventually, I realised that I didn’t need a sexual or romantic experience with anyone to know my identity and that in April I came out as a lesbian. I had a peer mentor in the LGBTQ Centre and she was the first person I came out to, in the diner we have on campus. I told my mom that night and she said something like, “I know,” because I had told her I was leaning towards lesbian instead of bisexual or something broader.

That said, I don’t think lesbian should be a “boxed” term. We live in a world full of different genders, and I think that the lesbian identity can be broad, too. My first kiss, just in April, was from someone who is non-binary, but I don’t feel that it means I can’t identify as lesbian anymore, because it’s my identity.

Coming out and sharing any queer sexuality or gender identity can be really scary, but it’s great when things work out because, in the end, love knows no gender. Love is love.