STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – In the United States, more than 4% of adults identify as LGBTQ, according to a 2017 study.
October 11 has been declared National Coming Out Day — a day designed to bring awareness to the LGBTQ community.
On this day, one local man wants to share his journey.
Daniel Tirabassi, who was born as Danielle, is 32 years old. He said since he was a child, he always felt like something was off.
“I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but I was kind of like the classic tomboy. I always played with the boys, I hated wearing dresses. For the longest time, we cut my hair short,” he said.
Tirabassi said as he got older, he felt like he wasn’t really himself.
“Got made fun of a lot for being kind of that different kid, especially in a smaller town,” he said. “So I went through high school not quite knowing what’s going on. Secluded myself for the entire time I was in school. I had maybe three friends growing up.”
He joined the military at 19, but quickly realized it was not for him. He was discharged and when he came home, he decided to make a revelation to his family.
“I came out to my family as a lesbian,” he said. “I told everyone, ‘I’m a lesbian, that’s what’s different with me. That’s why, you know, I don’t dress like a girl,’ so on and so forth. About a year of that, I realized that that wasn’t the answer either.”
Tirabassi said it was more than that.
He realized the reason he was never comfortable with himself, the reason something always felt off, was because he was truly a male, not a female.
Tirabassi realized he would only be happy if he lived in his true form.
“The first people I came out to were the people I was closest with, which was a small group of friends,” he said. “We all sat around one day and I was like, ‘You know, something is a little off about me.’ And I told them what happened and they all were super supportive.”
Next, he told his parents, whom he said have been supportive and accepting of him for who he is.
Tirabassi began his physical transition at 20 years old. He said now, at 32, the process is still ongoing but he feels he is living as his true self.
Since Tirabassi’s journey began, he also met a woman who became his wife. He said she has supported all of his choices and also works with the LGBTQ community.
“She’s probably one of the most supportive people in my life and has been since day one.”
Tirabassi said he wanted to share his story to let others know it’s OK to take your time in your journey.
“The struggle gets you to that place. It gets you to a good place where you can feel comfortable in your body…But the next thing is, don’t pressure yourself to come out. If you’re not ready to come out, don’t come out. You can keep that to yourself as long as you need to.”
Anyone looking for support or a place to go to be more involved in the LGBTQ community can contact Tirabassi at the LGBT Full Spectrum Community Outreach Center by calling 234-254-8924.