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Posted at 11:19 AM ET, 06/06/2012

Share your coming-out story

(Jae C. Hong/AP)
In “LGBT youths in Washington area get their first mentoring program,” Megan Buerger writes about LYFE Mentors, a new program that pairs gay and transgender youths ages 16-24 with a mentor to help them navigate the gay community.

For many people, finding the courage to come out can be just as pivotal as learning to navigate the community and finding a place of belonging. We’d like to hear your story. Share your coming-out experience in the comments section. Who did you come out to first? How old were you when you made the decision?

Here’s one story from Abdul Johnson, a 16-year-old who lives in Northeast D.C.
(Abdul Johnson)

“‘So, you guys know I’m gay, right?’” 
That was how I came out to my parents. I was scared to death but had never felt more confident. The timing was awful but, surprisingly, perfect. My family was at its breaking point: We were homeless, surviving on the McDonald’s coupons that came in the mail the weekend before we were evicted from our townhouse. I figured that the news of a gay son couldn’t compare to what was going on around us, right? Right.
Little did I know, they already knew. They had accepted me long before I had accepted myself. I used to have this idea in my head that my Christian parents could never love me for who I am. I thought I’d be packing my bags. But there wasn’t a dramatic fight. No crying, or even yelling. My parents just gave me exactly what parents should give: love and acceptance.” — Abdul Johnson

“‘So, you guys know I’m gay, right?’” 

Share your coming-out story. Use the hashtag #whenicameout on Twitter or include it in the comments.

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