(Jae C. Hong/AP)

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?

(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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#WhenIcameout I was 15. It was 1990. I was encouraged by teachers, family and friends to go back in.

— Christopher Edwards (@xtopher1974) June 6, 2012

@washingtonpost #WhenIcameout I lost my home, friends, and job. But I made a new life and have never been happier. It really does get better

— Anthony Telaroli (@anthonytelaroli) June 6, 2012