Over the past decade, the idea that we are "born this way" has become increasingly important. Coming out as a person that is a part of the LGBTQ+ community is a very personal and life-altering journey.
Regardless of the circumstances, there is no right or wrong way to come out to the people you love. Some people of the LGBT community choose to come out in a public way, some just to family and friends, where others choose not to share their stories out of fear of judgment or not being accepted based on the public's view on sexuality.
Windsor-Essex Pride Fest, which attracts over 7,000 people each year to the downtown core and took place in June, got cancelled due to the pandemic, which left many missing out on being their full authentic selves that day.
23-year-old Elijah Gauthier, who recently came out about his sexuality this year, said he's never been to pride and was looking forward to it.
"I just came out to my family and some friends back in January, I've never been to Pride, but it would have been something I would have loved to have gone to."
Gauthier, who discovered when he was eight-years-old that he was attracted to the same sex, expressed that over the years, he felt the need to hide his sexuality due to his religion and the fear that people would look at him differently.
"Growing up in a Christian household while also attending a Christian school, I was constantly told that homosexuality was a sin, and that was all I was surrounded by," shared Gauthier. "I was so fearful of my family kicking me out or never talking to me again."
Even though the significant changes in the laws and norms surrounding same-sex marriage have changed over the years, public acceptance of homosexuality remains divided throughout countries, races and religions.
After Gauthier came out to his family and friends, he felt a complete shift in his confidence and regardless of the acceptance people had towards his sexuality, he was tired of hiding who he was.
"My advice is to come out when you're ready," explained Gauthier. "There are so many people that have a past and are embarrassed about it, but there is nothing to be embarrassed about, it's your sexuality, and you should take full pride in it."
This month, Pride Fest Windsor-Essex is celebrating virtually by doing an online community celebration at home from September 11 to the 13th.
For more information on Windsor’s Pride Fest check out https://www.wepridefest.com/.