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Alum Bio: Charlie

Two White teenagers side-hugging, smiling at the camera

Me in blue and my sister in green, back in high school

I went to my first OUT MetroWest meeting thinking I was there for someone else. My friend was in the process of coming out and needed somewhere she could talk, think, and feel without pretense, somewhere to just be for an hour. She was unsure of how her parents would react and needed a group like WAGLY, and I saw no harm in tagging along.

As for me, I felt fortunate that my friends and family seemed likely to be supportive were I ever to come out myself. But since no one was asking me questions about who I wanted to date, did I really need to come out? I heard a steady internal drumbeat: Why do I need to make a show of it by announcing to everyone what I am? Why is it even anyone else’s business? I told myself that eventually I’d just be out and it would be fine. This plan, however vague, was keeping me comfortable, safe, and secure in the closet.

But then I went to WAGLY, and I encountered peers going through the same thing and talked with adults who’d been there and made it through. Being at WAGLY helped me realize I was afraid. Even with progressive friends and family in my day-to-day life, it was impossible not to feel like everything was going to change if I came out. WAGLY gave me a place to safely test-drive that reality—to know with certainty that owning my identity would not break me and that there was a community waiting to welcome me with open arms.

Two young adults side hugging in front of a rainbow flag. They are standing in the street on a sunny day, smiling at the camera and wearing sunglasses.

Me with the boa and Drew with the beads at Boston Pride

“I am gay.” I finally said these words at a WAGLY meeting and waited as my heart kept beating, time continued, and the world went on spinning. Nothing exploded, people didn’t immediately point and laugh, my friends didn’t vanish. I am gay. I’d said it, and I was still me.

Through the support and confidence I found in WAGLY meetings, I knew I could incorporate this truth into the rest of my life, opening up to my family, my friends, and trusted teachers, weaving that piece of myself into my public identity with pride.

That’s Drew on the left and me on the right, at a friend’s wedding.

Fast forward seven years: I’ve graduated from college, and I’m working for a mission-driven software company. My husband, Drew, is studying to be a doctor. We live in Boston and our puppy, Fergie, has almost mastered sit, down, paw, and roll over. Things are so good. My life now is the life I dreamed of when I was in high school, and it was WAGLY that helped me turn that vague plan into a reality.

 

 

 

 

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