Tris Daley (@triisdalee on Twitter and @trisdoll_ on Instagram) opened up to me about her coming out experience in an interview I had with her. Her pronouns are she/her and she is 19 years old. She has a different take on her own sexuality and does not label herself with a specific name. Instead she told me, “I fall in love with people, not their genders/sexualities”.
Below are the questions I asked her and her answers.
1. What was it like for you to come to terms with your sexuality? Was it difficult, or did you embrace it from the start?
It was EXTREMELY difficult for me to come to terms with my sexuality. When I first started having feelings for the person I am in a relationship with now, I was very confused, and I did not embrace it from the start. I had only ever “liked” men. I had only ever had serious physical attractions to men. But being confused wasn’t even the most difficult part of it all, I was terrified to let my family know.
2. What is your main coming out story/experience?
Even before I knew that I could potentially fall in love with someone of the same gender, I had always hated the idea of LGBTQA+ people having to “come out”. It never seemed fair to me. Straight people never did it, so I didn’t ever think anyone else should have to. So when I first started to have feelings for my girlfriend, I just told my mom, who I knew was totally ‘new-age’ and pro-LGBTQA+, that this was the person that I had feelings for, and this was the person I wanted to be with. Just like how I told her about all the other boys I’ve ever had “crushes” on or wanted to be with. I didn’t want to make things complicated and dragged out because I am a very ‘to the point’ person. I had told my best friend, Leslie, that I was falling in love with this person and that this was the person I wanted to be with, just as I would have told any of my other friends about any potential boyfriend or girlfriend. My mom was very happy for me and took it very well. She’s Jamaican, and most people know that Jamaicans are some of the most homophobic people on the globe, so I’m very grateful to have such an amazing and supportive mom. I knew that as long as my mother was supportive of me, then it didn’t matter about what anyone else thought.
3. What was either your best or worst coming out experience?
I guess my worst coming out story was how when my father’s side of the family found out, including my father, they completely cut me off and stopped having any sort of contact with me. But I mean… what am I supposed to do? Not be in love with the person I am in love with because they have personal issues with MY life? Hell no! That doesn’t make any sense to me, and I hope one day they all find happiness in their lives. Like I did!
4. What is the thing that has shocked you the most from coming out?
The thing that has shocked me the most about coming out is just the amount of happiness I feel. I feel so at ease with everything now. I’m so glad that I am able to talk about my experience because people need to understand that everyone’s love is valid. Everyone’s feelings are valid. Everyone’s relationship, no matter with whom, is valid.
5. Are you happy you came out?
6. What is the best piece of advice you could give someone who is contemplating coming
Do it for yourself, only yourself. Don’t let anyone pressure you into coming out if you are not ready. Not your partner, not your friends, not anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are in a relationship. If you are not ready, then you just aren’t. Do it when you are comfortable with yourself, truly comfortable. Even if people have something negative to say about your sexuality, or about who you are with, or about who you are, ignore it. Because no matter what, people always have something to say…negative or positive. You just really need to be happy and comfortable with yourself, I can’t stress that enough. It’s your life.
Zoe Levine is 17 years old from Erie, Pennsylvania. She is currently a student in 11th grade at McDowell High School. Her main passions are intersectional feminism, writing, music, watching TV and movies, reading, and journalism. She is president of her synagogue’s youth group and president of a local volunteer organization. She is involved with her school’s performing arts program, Speech & Debate, Mock Trial, Model UN, Exposure (tolerance activity), and Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science. Outside of school she has a job at a local farmer’s market and travels for Reform Jewish conferences. You can follow her multiple social media platforms including YouTube: sunflowerzoe15, Instagram: @xzoelevine, and Twitter: @xzoelevine