It didn’t take 18-year-old Andrew Guedea long to realize he was “different.”
The high school senior says he was just 11-years-old when he first revealed to a few close friends that he is gay. About two years later, he came out to his mother, who he says was very supportive of his identity.
“Coming out at a young age, I don’t regret it because I feel its brought me to where I am and its made me grow in a lot of ways,” Guedea says. “Growing up I always knew I was different, I just didn’t know how to describe it.”
In Coming Out Stories, a new video series from PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly, 16 LGBTQ people from all walks of life share how they opened up to friends, family and the world — and how their lives changed.
One inspiration for the series: the new movie Love, Simon (in theaters March 16), a moving comedy-drama about a gay teen (Nick Robinson) struggling with how to come out to his friends and parents (played by Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel). Love, Simon director Greg Berlanti (the producer behind TV’s Riverdale and Supergirl) tells his own coming out story in the series, as does costar Keiynan Lonsdale.
Others sharing their stories include Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Grey’s Anatomy actress Sara Ramirez, retired NBA player Jason Collins, social media star Tyler Oakley and Brooke Guinan, a New York City firefighter who is transgender.
PEOPLE and EW partnered with GLSEN, a nonprofit that fights to make schools safe for all kids, to create Coming Out Stories. See all the hilarious and heartbreaking tales at people.com/comingoutstories or on PeopleTV (download the app on your favorite mobile or connected TV device).