Coming Out Series Part 2: Dragged Out of the Closet

Albert Serna Jr. recalls his story being outed in high school


Photo credit: Doug de Wet/SAC.Media.

This is the second part of SAC.Media’s coming out series. Read the first part here.


Freelance journalist and journalism project expert Albert Serna Jr., 30, remembers what it felt like for him to be in the closet and having difficulty with loving himself.

“We didn’t get to love ourselves because we were so busy hiding who we were and when we come out that starts the process of loving ourselves,” he said.

Serna’s coming out story was a bit different than others. He didn’t have the opportunity to stride out of the closet and relay a speech planned ahead of time. Instead, he was dragged out.

It was a beautiful, sunny day at Charter Oak High School for 16-year-old Serna. It was his senior year of high school. Serna was focused on taking notes, when he suddenly heard the dreadful words that would change his life forever. What he did not know in that moment was if it would change his life for the worse or for the better. The answer to that question came much later in his life.

His classmates were asking another student, who was already out, what it was like to be gay. The way that person decided to respond was by saying the following words: “I don’t know, ask Albert. He’s gay too.”

Those eight words came as a surprise for Serna.

He was not planning to come out that day, that week or that year. Actually, he was not planning to come out at all. He was slowly coming out to close friends and family, but even then, it was only the people closest to him who knew. Serna only wanted them to know. No one else. Those eight words impacted the rest of his senior year.

Serna recalled thinking, “Holy fuck, I just got outed. And I looked directly at this person, and I just said ‘I’m going to kill you,’ and so when the bell rang, they took off running out of class, and I literally was gonna kick their ass. I was literally going to grab them and beat the shit out of them. The only reason why I didn’t was because the two girls that were their friend blocked me and gave them a head start. But I chased that motherfucker to the next classroom and I stood watching them and I said, ‘I’m going to find you after class, and I’m gonna kill you.’ It was the most horrifying moment of my life.”

As the days went by, Serna realized the impact those eight words had on his life at school. The anger he had for the person who outed him started to fade away. He remembered how liberating it was to not have to hide anymore. Those eight words opened many doors for him at school. Since he was out, Serna was able to openly speak about it. He was able to start a gay-straight alliance at his high school, bringing many people together.

Serna remembers how terrifying it was to think about dealing with society. He feared the backlash that would come with coming out, but finally being out changed his mind.

“My senior year was really liberating for me,” Serna said. “I got to be me for the first time and not worry about people saying anything or hiding anything.”

Even though Serna was already out at school and at home, he found himself constantly having to do it again.

“The moment you do come out, you will never stop. Ever,” Serna said. “Whether it’s to a person on the street or a new job, you’re always having to come out one way or another, and it never ends.”

Serna looks at the past and present of the gay community and says that he sees a change.

“It’s become easier and socially accepted in a better way and I’m so happy about that and so grateful that I get to see this change,” Serna said. “I never thought that I would be able to get married, and here I am.”

Those eight words that came out of that person’s mouth on that beautiful, sunny day at Charter Oak High School drastically changed Serna’s life. He is now engaged to his perfect man and feels that he is the luckiest person to be able to love and be loved the way he is.