Coming out as LGBTQ isn't easy.
It usually comes with fear, anxiety, and uncertainty about how friends, loved ones, and coworkers will respond. It's a long process filled with so many ups and downs, and that's if you choose to come out at all. For some people, there will never be a safe time to open up.
Artist Ryan Maniulit captured this feeling perfectly in his colorful comic all about coming out.
The 21-year-old freelance comic/concept artist from the Seattle area came up with the idea on Oct. 11, 2016 — National Coming Out Day. He saw the topic trending and put together a comic to share the whirlwind of thoughts brewing in his head, many from his own experience.
Comic by Ryan Maniulit, used with permission.
As a bisexual in a same-sex relationship, Maniulit says this topic is very personal.
"My identity has definitely informed my work on this comic because I had a VERY messy coming out with my family[.] I felt it was very important that I put some of those references into the comic," he writes in an email.
It's also why he focuses so much on queer representation in other areas of his work, creating relatable LGBTQ characters for everyone to enjoy. That positive representation is so important and can help people see themselves as worthy and valued, in or out of the closet.
If you're thinking about coming out, first, ensure your own safety and well-being.
There is no rush to come out. Don't feel pressure from your friends, yourself, or even articles like this. Confide in your family and friends when you are ready and safe.
Whenever you're able, there will be a community of peers and allies ready to welcome you. That may be when you're 13, 75, or somewhere in between. There is never a bad time to be your authentic self.
Photo by Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images.