I am 16, gay, and I've finally come out of the closet.

My name is Linus. 16 years old. I have always lived in Hamburg, with separated parents since I was 6. I attend the tenth grade in high-school. In the beginning of 2020 I started my own business as a designer and developer. I have taught myself everything autodidactically since I was eleven. Some of my traits can be described quite well as introverted, helpful, eager to learn, empathetic and determined - well, the latter at least when it depends on it. I want to be a person with whom others feel comfortable, to whom one can confide everything, because I know how much that can help. Oh, and: I am gay.

For a long time I tried to talk myself out of the fact that I am not attracted to women. Because of the heteronormative society, in which we unfortunately still live, and the legendary question of stereotypical aunt, who asks over and over again whether you finally have a girlfriend. When I started to watch very unrealistic tutorials about sexual intercourse between human beings, my choice always fell on videos with exclusively male actors.

I'm not a fan of labels — neither then nor now — but I used to give myself the label "bisexual". Because I didn't dare to say the other word out loud. "Gay" was still considered more of an insult than a sexual orientation by some, and that scared me. Also, for a very long time I was attached to a very special – female, that's probably important to note – person in my life that my romantic thoughts refused to part with for a long time.

All that was two years ago now – and for about one I've known that I'm exclusively into guys.

My outing went quite differently from what I expected it to be like

First with my dad, then with my mom, who – as I mentioned at the beginning – live separately. My dad and I were in the car on the way home. I was talking to him after a somewhat homophobic comment I caught with one ear while we were having dinner. He excused it with something about "older generation" and "still unfamiliar".

To justify himself further, he began his next sentence with the words "Besides, I also have a gay friend…". All of a sudden a lot of thoughts went through my head, my heart was beating as hard as it had not done for a long time. And then I uttered the words I had been waiting for:

“You also have a gay son”

Now it's out, I thought to myself. My father looked me straight in the face until his mouth turned into a warm smile. "I thought so", he said with a grin. For the next two hours, I couldn't stop smiling. Shortly thereafter, doubts gripped me as to whether this was all the right thing to do, but when he pulled me into his arms the next morning and told me that he loved me "just as much as he always had before", those fears were also illiminated.

It didn't go as I expected, I didn't want to tell my dad first, but that's how things happen, welcome to life.

A good three months later came the time when my mother found out. We had one of those typical mother-son arguments, which as usual were about tidiness, helping around the house, and my oh-so-dubious friends. As we circled more and more around the cue of "male friendships," she finally followed up with a question about whether I was gay, which I confirmed with a simple "yes."

Later, during a walk, we had a more detailed conversation about it, which was very positive. The bottom line is that I am happy about how well everything went over with both of my parents.

Finally free, relieved, but somehow also a bit uncomfortable; Because suddenly everything is so new and different.

I didn't have a relationship as one would describe it just in full. Also, my sexual experiences to date were more in the direction of "friends with benefits," but that's also a while back. At the moment it is rather limited to dates with my hand.

But all that is somehow secondary. The main thing is that I can finally stand by myself and be the way I am.

The most important thing for anyone who still has this step ahead of them and doesn't know how to take it, is to take your time. No one is waiting for you to come out. And there is no hourglass running out that will make it impossible for you at some point.

Learning to like and accept yourself is not always easy, but it's the only thing you have left in the long run.

Because that makes everything easier. Dealing with yourself and dealing with others. Look for people who take you as you are, who take you by the hand, walk beside you and take you in their arms when you need it most. I am very grateful for my family and my circle of friends. They have encouraged me and guided me through the whole process. I wish that for everyone.

Whether through good or bad experiences, I am more myself today than ever before.