Grace Baldrige looked back on her journey of coming out and offered advice to other queer folks by sharing "before and after" photos on Twitter.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on August 13, 2021.
Coming out to your closest friends, no matter how progressive you know they are, is not an easy task. Sometimes, people may be LGBTQ+ affirmative in theory, but they may not know how to accept their own queer friends and family members. In light of this, Grace Baldrige took to Twitter to share some much-needed advice with her fellow LGBTQ+ followers. As someone who was hesitant to come out to her friends as a teenager, she spoke to her younger self in retrospect, reassuring her that things would work out in the end, Good Morning America reports.
told my barber i felt “powerful” after my haircut today pic.twitter.com/xJzOrK59c1— Semler (@GraceBaldridge) June 30, 2021
Baldrige shared two photos of herself and her group of friends. The first was a photo they took at prom, where she looked a little uncomfortable in a purple prom dress yet happy to be among her friends. The second, on the other hand, was more recent. It was taken at her wedding. She held a pride flag in her hands and wore a suit. "Dear Grace-At-Prom, I know you’re afraid to come out to your friends right now," she wrote. "But don’t worry. They’re gonna be your bridesmaids one day." The sweet affirmation struck a chord with many, with her tweet reaching thousands of people who shared and liked her message.
In an interview with Good Morning America, Baldridge shared her story of coming out. She said, "I knew and I've known for some time [that I was gay]. You kind of start convincing yourself, 'If I pretend and act like everyone else... I'll kind of fake it 'til I make it.'" She became fast friends with her current circle—Ariane Harper, Cecilia Jeppsson and Juliana Bambridge—when she moved to Waterloo, Belgium, in the third grade after her dad was offered a job there. Prior to her move, she grew up in Delaware. Now, she lives in Los Angeles with her partner.
She slowly started coming out as gay to her friends and family after high school. Thankfully, each and every person she spoke to supported her. "They would never pressure me or push me or gossip," Baldridge stated. "It just felt so safe." It comes as no surprise then that Harper, Jeppsson and Bambridge were her bridesmaids at her wedding. She got married in 2018, to her then-girlfriend Elizabeth at a ceremony in Malibu. One of her friends shared the prom photo while the couple was on their honeymoon.
Well, hi! If you’re interested in more sappy gayness, here’s a video of me proposing to my wife. https://t.co/YhrEds0X5Q— Semler (@GraceBaldridge) August 11, 2018
Baldrige explained, "It's crazy to think in that photo, I knew prom was such a sham—going in this dress and really hiding a lot. I feel a little bit of heartache for that kid that was privately so lonely and sad and I wish I had known then that it all works out." That is why she posted the photos on Twitter, to help other young queer folks gain confidence in their futures. Harper, Jeppsson and Bambridge also pitched in: "[I] just tried to make her feel loved and safe as she was clearly nervous about coming out. I couldn’t be happier for her and Elizabeth!" Jeppsson said. Harper added, "I always loved and will always love Grace for who she is as a person and the uncontrollable laughter and joy she brings to my life—that isn't altered by who she chooses to love. [It] turns out Elizabeth is the best person ever, so win-win!" Bambridge affirmed, "I would always accept Grace for the beautiful soul that she is, regardless of her sexual orientation, but it gave me such peace to know that she was ready to accept herself and share it with others."