Thanks for starting this wonderful thread @WheresMySquishy, and Happy Wear it Purple Day everyone!
Today, I have spent some time reflecting on where conversations around my identity as an LGBTQIA+ person started, and how far I've come since then.
Around 6 years ago, I came out to my family as a lesbian. At the time, I was finishing up high school in a rural town, and I didn't know a single same-sex attracted woman or man.
I felt really alone.
Even though my family had always showed very progressive attitudes towards queer people, I was still scared that it wouldn't be okay when it was their own daughter.
My Dad is quite a blokey bloke. He loves playing golf, barbequing meat, and watching the footy with a beer on a Friday night, so I never really thought he'd be too invested in queer culture.
And yet, this morning, I received a message from him saying that he was wearing his purple socks to work today, and that having a gay daughter has brought him more joy than he ever could have planned. He calls my partner of 3 years his third daughter, and always offers her a beer or a scotch over dinner when we come to visit. He recently got a FitBit to wear while he's exercising, and he was incredibly chuffed to show me that he's set a rainbow flag as the lock screen. I've only ever seen my Dad cry a handful of times in my life, and one of those was last year when he held my hand and marched with me through the glitter and rainbows at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
6 years ago, I could not have imagined that my family would be so accepting and supportive of who I am as a gay woman. From two words - "I'm gay" - a 6-year, family-wide conversation began, and I feel so much closer to the people I love because of it. Not only do they see me and accept me for who I am, they have started their own conversations with their colleagues, peers and friends about what it means to parent and love an LGBTQIA+ person. When someone calls me a nasty name, or makes a hurtful comment about who I love, there is nothing better than knowing that I don't have to hide in shame and silence anymore. Instead, I tell them what's happened, and together, we keep the conversation going and talk about why it's okay to be me.
Now, I don't feel so alone.