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Coming out is by far one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do in my life.

When I was in high school, I came out as a lesbian. Even then, though, I knew that wasn’t the right label for myself. The problem was that I wasn’t sure what to label myself. I was a female who was attracted to other females. Society told me I was a lesbian.

But as time progressed, I realized that it was my gender identity that I was struggling with, not my sexuality. Eventually, I realized that I identified as a man who is attracted to women. Slowly I started coming out to close friends and family, all of whom were fairly accepting. I ran into some major resistance from my parents, but besides that, I was very well accepted.

Despite my support at home from my partner, I was still terrified to publicly come out. I was out at work, home, and with most of my friends when Bruce Jenner came out as Caitlyn. I followed her coming out story by watching her interview with Diane Sawyer, the two-part special of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, reading articles beyond articles about her, etc.

I was so inspired by Caitlyn and her story. Her bravery, courage and persistency to be seen as the woman she has always been showed the entire transgender community that being yourself is the most important part of life.

With all of this going on and on my mind, I finally decided to come out publicly and live my life fully as the man I know I am. I posted my own personal Vanity Fair cover to my current Facebook and created a new Facebook under my new name. My friends quickly grew from 0 to 100 within a few hours of coming out. I have felt so loved and blessed with gracious friends and family. I couldn’t have done any of this without Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out, though. She gave me the courage and support I needed to finally come out as me.

Now that I’m out, life is still far from perfect. However, I am feeling so much better. I have so much less anxiety and I feel much more myself. Though I know there will be bumps in the road ahead, I’m so excited to keep this journey going.

Something I’ve really been thinking about is how I almost wasn’t here to do any of this. Just a few months ago, I was ready to end my life because I didn’t think I’d ever be able to live my life as the man I am. But, here I am today, ready to face the world.

If you’re feeling lost, confused, helpless or just need someone to talk to, feel free to reach out to me @NotPeter_Parker on Twitter, or send me an email at [email protected]. You can also contact the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), reach out to the Trevor Project, or try out the Crisis Text Line by texting “start” to 741-741.

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