Finding Who I Really Am: My Coming Out Story

Finding Who I Really Am

From a young age at my Greek Orthodox school, I struggled with an identity that didn’t fit the mold. It took a while to find who I really am through bullying and self-discovery. Being raised in a traditional environment, coming to terms with my sexuality was challenging, especially as I faced rejection and isolation. Yet, this narrative is more than just about survival; it’s about embracing who I am, learning to accept my feelings, and ultimately finding a community that respects and supports me.

My Upbringing As A Greek Orthodox

Being Greek Orthodox and having 2 parents with the same background I was put into a Greek Orthodox school in the Eastern Suburbs at the age of 4. I remember my first school play in kindergarten, I was a sunflower and all the flowers were paired with an angel.

My angel was Angelique, I remember the way I would look at her every time she would walk onto the stage and come stand right next to me, she was flawless, I was in awe and I wanted to be her! Now, my 4-year-old mind didn’t know how that would help me understand myself later down the road of life. At the end of that year, she changed schools and I remember crying about it for a very long time and I wasn’t even one of her close friends.

My First Crush

Halfway through that year, I found my first boy that made my heart feel all the things and that continued all throughout primary school. We both had crushes on each other and it was wonderful, we never did the primary school boyfriend/girlfriend thing like everyone else but he was one of my closest friends, a boy I could feel completely comfortable being around, the one boy who never disrespected me as a person.

I Was Different From A Young Age

When I got to about the age of 7 I was the tomboy, the girl who wanted to play all the different sports the boys would play at lunchtime, owned all the Pokemon cards, collected all the cards in chip packets, had every version of Gameboy, Nintendo and PlayStation that would come out but little did I know that boys bully girls that want to be like them. I would get pushed around and get called mean names. I remember the teachers telling me to grow up and getting told:

“Boys tease girls that they like.”

This definitely was not the case for me.

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Image: Parks And Recreation Quote

I don’t know why, but I thought it was a good idea for me to continue onto the high school, I remember going and looking at some of the all-girls schools in the area but the size of the schools intimidated me as my school was quite small, it was about 50 people per year whereas those schools were over 100 per year so I decided to stay.

I Found Myself Always Hanging Out With The Same Sex

Year 9, 14 year old me. This was the year I finally started doing things with my friends outside of school, we’d go to the local Westfield on a Thursday night. All the kids from different schools would go and meet up and just be teenagers. I started to make friends with some of the girls from one of the all-girls schools in the area. My friends were allowed to make friends with boys but as soon as they noticed me getting closer to the girls the bullying started again.

I Realized I Had Feelings For A Girl

The group of friends I made were away for camp, I was sitting at home playing a computer game and that was the moment I realized I missed one of the girls a little bit more than what a best friend would. Everything started to make sense now, I never wanted to be the girls I admired and I wanted them. Angelique was my first crush and I didn’t even realize it.

I Came Out To My Close Friend

Anthony came out as gay and that made so much sense. I called my best friend from school and told her that I had a crush on this girl and she hung up on me real quick. She kept my secret like any best friend would. About a week later I couldn’t keep my own secret anymore though and I asked my new friends for advice and they were all really open-minded about it and told me I should just tell her how I felt, so I did. She didn’t feel the same way back and that was ok because at least I had the guts to tell her how I felt, that was enough for me.

They Encouraged Me To Let The Group Know

Our girls’ team soccer presentation was on that following weekend and I told my best friend that I had told her and her friends about my feelings. She got super mad at me and told me I should just tell our group since my new friends knew. I told them and they were all pretty cool about it, they asked me if I was a lesbian or bisexual? I had no idea what they were talking about because I was never taught these words before. “Coming out” wasn’t even something I was aware of at the time.

who i really am

The soccer presentation was on a Sunday night, I remember going home and feeling like all this weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I was so happy that everyone had taken it so well. Little did I know.

I Felt Like An Outcast Just For My Sexual Preferences

Going to school that Monday felt strange. Have you ever walked into a room and felt like everyone was staring at you you’ll understand. I walked into the school and had every student staring at me, my friends backed away as I went up to talk to them. My friends chased me around doing the sign of the cross and telling me I was a sinner, no one wanted me near them. I was alone.

I Was Relentlessly Bullied

The bullying was really bad for a few months, I had photos from my social media edited and sent to schools I hadn’t even heard of. I was smacked across the face by a friend and then threatened to not tell otherwise she would make my life a living hell. The boys started to get super rough with me during sports periods (I ended up with a black eye). I would get yelled at by students I didn’t even know on the bus and at school during lunch and recess. Many times I was called names and even had a cup of boiling water thrown at me.

They Forced Me To Come Out To My Parents

I got forced into telling my parents “otherwise we’ll tell our parents first and they’ll tell yours” and my friends put me into the school counseling office. One friend who I am still thankful for to this day, would come into the counseling sessions with me and do the talking for me because I would just sit there and cry. She would listen to me every night on the phone crying and give me advice on how to deal with the mean kids at our school.

I sat my mum down one night and told her, I cried for a while and then said:

“Mum, I like boys and girls.”

Over Time They Came To Accept It

My mum then told my dad that night. It took a while for them to come to terms with it. There are different reasons to what affects the acceptance of sexuality but eventually, they did.

My mum noticed how badly I was being affected and my year adviser called her in for a meeting. I remember her telling my mum that I had to repeat so I may as well change schools otherwise next year I’d get bullied for repeating and for being gay.

I Was Able To Move To A New School That Supported Me

By the end of that term, I was out of there, my whole grade was shocked that I was leaving but it was the best decision I’ve ever made and I am so grateful that my mum allowed me to make that decision. I moved to the all-girls school that all my new friends were going to and it was so much more accepting than the school I left behind. The girls were all super open-minded, the principle wasn’t but the students always stood up to that and that made me proud to say that I went there.

Years Later My Old “Friends” Apologized

Years later down the track, I went to a party for one of the girls birthdays from my old school and everyone sat me down and apologised for the way that they had treated me in high school. My best friend cried and just held me. Unfortunately, because I wasn’t brought up with any knowledge about the LGBTQIA community I didn’t know how “different” it was and how people reacted to it.

There are challenges when you come out. I came out at such a young age and 10 years ago young people weren’t as aware as they are now about equality. I’ve spoken to a lot of people between now and then that have been and still attend that school and a lot of them are a lot more open-minded now and much more accepting.

I don’t regret any of it or hold any grudges, it’s made me who I am today and I am proud of the person I became. I am open-minded to everything and I don’t judge, everyone is different and that is definitely OK. The world and society have grown since then, young children and teenagers are so much more aware now and that’s all that I had wished for.

I left school, started dressing the way that made me feel most comfortable which is in male clothing, I cut my hair short and figured out that it’s only girls that I’m attracted to.

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There is no longer any days where I feel alone.

Author: Elliana is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres



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