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Community Rainbow Waves
I grew up in a very traditional filipino family. My parents had me 6 months after they were married at 18. I grew up with boys in the family. Being the only the child, I grew close to my male cousins who were around the same age as me. I believe that I knew I was gay since I was little because I was such a tomboy and I would find other females attractive. It got to the point where I made myself believe that I wasn’t gay and that I’m attracted to these beautiful women because I want to be like them but deep inside I knew that I was attracted to them because I liked them. So growing up for me was tough because knowing that I was gay then made it impossible for me to really be myself. I was born in 1996 so when it was around my Junior high/High School Era, I was struggling with my sexuality. I still chose to deny that I wasn’t a lesbian or bi, or gay. It wasn’t until the end of grade 9 when I met someone. She was one of the reasons why I chose to go to. certain High School because I genuinely wanted to get to know her. Soon enough we went to the same high school and we became best of friends. I knew deep down inside that I had a crush on her and that I really really liked her. She was dating a boy throughout all of high school and I chose to be strong and be her best friend because I’d rather have her as a friend than nothing at all. That’s when some people started to question my sexuality more. I played a lot of sports in high school so I dressed like a jock almost everyday. Oh and to be clear, I find men attractive too. The first boy I kissed was in gr10. I dated 2 guys in a span of those 3 years in high school but deep down I knew it was always her. I guess you can say that I was trying to cover my feelings for her by being with someone else (mainly a guy). Anyways, long story short. after our first 3 years of College, I realized that my feelings for her got stronger and stronger to the point where I wasn’t sure if I could be friends with her anymore because it hurt me alot seeing her dating someone else. One night we went to celebrate finishing exams for that semester. She got drunk, I wasn’t drinking. She took me to the bathroom stall at the bar and cried and asked me why I have been so distant. So then after 6 years of hiding my feelings I told her that I was in love with her. 1 month later, we got together. Then at that moment I felt like I was invincible and that I was strong enough to come out to my friends and family. And so I did and so did she. We came out together and it was a scary but a beautiful moment for us. However, my parents did not take it well. Considering that I am the only child and in a traditional filipino family, it was a tough time for my parents and myself. But without my support system (my friends and my GF at the time) I wouldn’t have had the guts to come out to my parents. In conclusion, we broke up, and its about a year and a half since we broke up, even though I am still madly in love with her and she’s moved on, I have found some light to get me through. I am embracing my sexuality more than ever. But to this day, I am still afraid to come out to certain people because I guess I am still scared of how they will treat or look at me after. I am just glad that I am out to my parents and my friends because they mean the most to me. I apologize for this long story. There are tons more of details but I didn’t want to bore anyone any longer. But here I am, out. Gay as I would like to identify myself. I love men and women all the same, but I would say that I am attracted more to women as I am able to find deeper emotional connections with them.
I realized I wasn’t straight in the 8th grade. It was Saturday and I had just woken up. I had seen a dream that I was dating one of my friends who also was a girl. It had been a really nice dream. In it we had done some things like straight couples in my school, e.x kissing in the stairs and walking hand in hand.
Then when I was playing there on my bed it dawned on me, I wasn’t straight. I panicked a little because I didn’t want to be gay or anything else. My parents were(and still are) homophobic, but in few weeks I was completely fine with my sexuality ( even tho I still am questioning if I’m actually just gay and not bisexual).
I “came out” kinda differently then my other friends. When I went to high school I just openly said what I was and stopped hiding it.
I guess I have always been interested in girls, but I refused to acknowledge it. It was kind of obvious to some of my friends, who knew before I did. I guess that is why I never really tried to acknowledge it, but my friends would often comment about how different I was from them, just trying to make me realize it. I finally accepted the fact that I was a lesbian at the tail end of my seventh grade year. I refused to accept myself for who I am, but I still came out to one of my friends, who helped me come out to one of my friends who is an adult. She managed to help me accept myself, and come out to my parents, all in the same week.
One important thing about me is that I’ve always loved stories. Novels, movies, series, any story. From a very young age I’ve felt the need of finding inspiration and role models in fiction. When I was a kid, I deeply wished for two things: being a heroine living many crazy adventures (as a mermaid if possible) and finding true love. True love, from what I had seen mostly in Disney movies seemed like the most extraordinary thing in the world. And it was between a man and a woman. At that time, I didn’t know any queer people. I probably knew gay couples existed but I would have never thought of it as a possibility for myself. It was like this abstract thing that was very far from my world.
When I became a teenager, I remember that at a very young age I wanted a boyfriend who would love me. I was still watching Disney, but also teen movies and Romcoms. I remember that I was looking for a guy in my class whom I could have a crush on. And every year or so I would find a guy I would fall for, and secretly admire, wishing for this perfect movie ending.
It was also in these years that I really discovered that lesbian love was actually a thing. First by a Russian band called Tatu (that you may or may not know). This band was formed by two girls who were a couple and it was a huge hit at that time. I loved there songs but I was mostly very curious about their relationship. I became very attached to it, I was buying magazines about them. I remember once I bought one, and there was a poster in it where they were kissing. My parents said they thought it vulgar. I’ll come back to my parents a bit later.
Of course, it was revealed that apparently the couple of this band was totally fake. At that time, I felt betrayed (teenagers can be dramatic, what can I say). But I feel like my admiration for them opened a door that never really closed. I was thirteen when I realized I had feeling with my best friend. I don’t know if it was because of our friendship, or because I actually felt an attraction. In the girls magazine I was reading, they were saying that it’s normal as a teenager to question yourself, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re gay. So maybe it was just that, I was confused.
I feel like I was living a sort of double life the following years: as I was still looking for my prince charming, I was at the same time watching and reading everything I could that was including a lesbian relationship. The problem was most of these characters where ending awfully: getting killed, committing suicide, being miserable in any way, or back to straight.
As I told you before, fiction has always been very important for me, to inspire me for what I wanted, for my dreams. I think at an unconscious level I got persuaded that if I was not ending in a relationship with a man, I would be miserable. I realized that everything would have probably been better if I had talked about this to someone. It didn’t even cross my mind, probably because I wouldn’t have known who to talk to anyway.
So for most of my teen and adult life, I lived as a straight woman, in straight relationships. Do I need to specify that it was a disaster ?
I started physical relationships at university mostly. And without realizing it, I developed a pattern: I was always attracted to men I couldn’t have, or didn’t try to have. And I was never attracted to men who were attracted to me, at least not at first. To be honest, I wouldn’t have looked at any of the men I ever dated in my life if they hadn’t show interest in me in the first place. And then I felt so lucky that they even considered to look at me (Hello low self-esteem). And then we were dating, and I was making me falling for them, and I was playing the perfect girlfriend. These relationships all ended in the same way: at some point the guy was losing interest in me and breaking up.
The thing is, even I if I felt heartbroken and bad every time, I couldn’t help but feel some kind of relief at the same time. Like suddenly I got my time, my energy and myself back.
And yes, I kept wanting to have a boyfriend, or THE boyfriend. I felt jealousy towards my friends who were dating these awesome guys who loved them for so long. Why wasn’t anyone loving me? Wasn’t I able to be loved?
In all my early and mid twenties I avoided thinking about my own sexual orientation. But when I was 23 or 24 I met a woman (let’s call her Marie) who was openly gay. We became friends, and she invited me one weekend at her and her girlfriend’s place. As we were watching movies and talking, she said that it was so strange that I was only attracted to men, because even here other straight friends all had at least on same-gender crush (mostly celebrities). I didn’t know what to respond to that. Obviously, I couldn’t be gay or even bi if for Marie I was the straightest of all her straight friends. Since she was gay, she obviously knew better than me.
I’d like to take this opportunity to say that no, no one know who you are, who you love or attracted to better than yourself.
To go back to my parents, when I told them that Marie was gay, my mom answered me with a laugh « as long as you don’t become like that. » It was a joke for her.
That’s the thing with my parents: they are not what you could call obviously homophobic. They don’t insult queer people, they think they should have rights, they have no problem watching movies about gay people (as long as it’s tasteful according to my mom. I don’t know what it means either) and being moved by gay love stories. But they always made me feel like being something else than straight wasn’t right for me. I know that my mom have always pictured me with a handsome guy (and is probably very desperate because it’s still not happening) and I can feel the heavy weight of her expectations. It is probably why even if I’m 31 my parents still don’t know who I really am. I don’t know I’m ever gonna be able to tell them (if anyone has tips^^) or iff they suspect something.
But this story has a happy twist. After a burn out at work, I started a big work on myself, and after my last relationship with a man, I realized that it would be indeed probably the last one. At 28 I was finally ready to admit that I was attracted to women, and guess what, fiction helped again. This is where I want to talk about Wynonna Earp, and Waverly. I saw a lot of myself in her and her relationship with Nicole became very soon my couple goal. It was such a help and inspiration to me, so really, thank you. At that time, I thought of me as bisexual, but still questioning. I didn’t talk to anyone about it, but once I felt that I wanted to date again, I subscribed to an online dating app for the first time in my life. And I felt SO AWKWARD. I didn’t know how to start a conversation or what to do to keep one active. But this is where I met the woman I fell in love with and still dating today. For the first time in my life, I deeply love the person I’m dating and our relationship. Even if we don’t live in the same country and haven’t been able to see each other for a while because of what’s happening in the world, I couldn’t feel more happy, safe and excited at the same time.
I realized that I was identifying as gay or lesbian (but I still prefer queer), but that my sexuality will stay fluid: I can be attracted to men, but I don’t want to date them or have sex with them. The spectrum is so much wider than I thought before and I’m so happy to be part of this community.
But no matter how I call myself, it’s only when I saw and accepted who I was that I could really love myself and express my true identity. Thank you Dom for giving us this space of expression <3
Hello !!!!! I’m not one for labels , but what is fitting is transgender bisexual. I had my bisexual realization early on, I was in kindergarden and kissed a girl on the I think looking back at it now at age, you somewhat know that you might have an inkling that something was different, for me I grew up in a family being one of 5 kids and the youngest all i knew was same sex relationships.
The first person I kissed was a guy I was 15, I thought hmm maybe the fact it was a horrible first kiss that this was the reason i wasn’t feeling it (it was a horrible kiss) but that didn’t stop me I tried and tried so many times throughout my high school years even with a boyfriend which didn’t last long (poor guy properly thought he turned me) It seemed the more I tried the more it became just a routine kiss a guy no strings attached. Never feeling that internal I can’t live without this person in my life.
Jumped to the age of 19, To the first girl I kissed. I had a friend shall we call her (trial and error) I had known her since I was 12 & We all found out that she was with another girl, yes the 1st person i actually knew that was gay. I found myself being intrigued and I can’t remember to this day 100% but I think I ended up messaging her on chat (When all the chat rooms were all the rage) and asking her questions.. the questions lead to us talking a lot and hanging out a fair bit. Then we decided to go for a drive one night, we drove for hours till she pulled up to a street that had a area just to the side of the road we got out did the normal thing joked around each other, then her face turned serious her eyes looked onto mine & she just kissed me.
i still remember that feeling, that feeling that i had been wanting for all those years. That warmth and butterfly that just hit you all at once, like instantly. All the dots started to connect & things like my obsession to watch Joan of arc just for Leelee Sobieski & wanting to always hang with certain girl “friends” all start to made sense.
The issue in all this though was the girl that i had kissed also had a big mouth.. everyone I knew had found out not by me but by her. At first i was worried that it would change how my best friends would perceive me, how they would treat me. I was petrified that it would some how change the way they interacted with me.
The only person I actually ever told directly was my mum, she didn’t talk to me for days which seemed like years when you drop a bombshell that they never see coming. Don’t get me wrong my mum is the biggest supporter of my life choices now but it did take a while for her to understand and accept.
After many years of heartbreak from falling for the wrong people and some in your 20’s crazy choices, some good some bad I find myself in a relationship now for the past 6 years with a women. Im out to everyone in my personal life but not but still in my work life, maybe one day I will brave enough within myself to be able to live my true self in whatever form that may be across all aspects of my life. One thing I do know is, never feel guilty for making your happiness come first, never be sorry for being exactly who you were born to be. Im a 36 year old in finance from Sydney, Aus & Love has no labels and either do i.playground. My transgender one, however , came later in my life, around the time of middle school. I wasn’t feeling comfortable in my body, around my friends and family, or even whenever no one was around. I wasn’t happy anymore. I looked in the mirror, closed my eyes, and asked myself what would make me happy. I saw myself as a boy. And that surprised me. I talked to a friend, and they told me about the term transgender. That is when I figured out who I was.
Now I didn’t really have the chance to come out much. I only came out to a few people, but then the news spread like wildfire. My friends at my school were all accepting of me, some of them wished I told them myself, others were glad they new. But then it got to my parents, and they didn’t accept me at all. It was rough. Everyday I would cry just wanting my home life to be better. I almost took my own life. But then I found a “secret gay club” at my school. A bunch of lgbtq+ people came together after school on Friday’s to talk about their problems their stories and even just how they were feeling that day. I found a home there (even though I only went to about 3 meetings). They helped me learn to accept myself for who I am, labels or not.
Now it has been about 3 years since I have come out. Things have gone up and down but are gradually getting better. I have had a few people who have supported me throughout, and I couldn’t be more grateful. My home life is slowly but surely getting better, and even if it doesn’t I still have a few people who love me for who I am.
For anyone struggling to figure out who they are, finding what labels works for them, or are struggling with acceptance from themselves or others, THINGS GET BETTER !!! I PROMISE THEY DO !!! You have your whole life to figure out who you are. You don’t have to have a label if you don’t want to, you can just be you. Overtime, you will find acceptance. Whether it’s through someone you meet, people warming up to the idea of who you are, or even through sites like this, there will always be a community that will accept you. You just have to breathe, give it time, and never give up on yourself.
Hello !!!!! I’m not one for labels , but what is fitting is transgender bisexual. I had my bisexual realization early on, I was in kindergarden and kissed a girl on the playground. My transgender one, however , came later in my life, around the time of middle school. I wasn’t feeling comfortable in my body, around my friends and family, or even whenever no one was around. I wasn’t happy anymore. I looked in the mirror, closed my eyes, and asked myself what would make me happy. I saw myself as a boy. And that surprised me. I talked to a friend, and they told me about the term transgender. That is when I figured out who I was.
Now I didn’t really have the chance to come out much. I only came out to a few people, but then the news spread like wildfire. My friends at my school were all accepting of me, some of them wished I told them myself, others were glad they new. But then it got to my parents, and they didn’t accept me at all. It was rough. Everyday I would cry just wanting my home life to be better. I almost took my own life. But then I found a “secret gay club” at my school. A bunch of lgbtq+ people came together after school on Friday’s to talk about their problems their stories and even just how they were feeling that day. I found a home there (even though I only went to about 3 meetings). They helped me learn to accept myself for who I am, labels or not.
Now it has been about 3 years since I have come out. Things have gone up and down but are gradually getting better. I have had a few people who have supported me throughout, and I couldn’t be more grateful. My home life is slowly but surely getting better, and even if it doesn’t I still have a few people who love me for who I am.
For anyone struggling to figure out who they are, finding what labels works for them, or are struggling with acceptance from themselves or others, THINGS GET BETTER !!! I PROMISE THEY DO !!! You have your whole life to figure out who you are. You don’t have to have a label if you don’t want to, you can just be you. Overtime, you will find acceptance. Whether it’s through someone you meet, people warming up to the idea of who you are, or even through sites like this, there will always be a community that will accept you. You just have to breathe, give it time, and never give up on yourself.
I knew I was “different” in the early years of high school, 14 years old, and I denied it… hard. I had seen and heard how people in my family, in my community and in my friends group reacted to any sway on the sexuality spectrum, and so I hid it. For so many years, from every single person, to the point where I had hidden it from myself again, any thoughts or feelings for someone of the opposite sex and I would chalk it up to envy or just admiration and leave it at that, even though I knew I was actively lying to myself. When I was 18 a close friend of mine came out while we were still in high school And she faced some relentless bullying because of it, despite having friends and others who supported her, And that made me decide that I would wait until I graduated, which turned into I’ll wait until I’m not living with my parents which turned into I’ll wait until I move out of this very closed minded town.
I came out to that very same friend 2 years later because I was having some incredible inner turmoil over all of it, of what it would mean to be myself. To allow myself to breathe and live my life without lying or hiding.
And from then on I found it harder to hide my true self, and even harder to want to hide. I had been hiding for so long that once I started to accept that part of myself, there was no holding back.
I moved to the other side of the country, I had many reasons for that decision, but ultimately it was for my mental health, I had been through a lot of traumatic experiences and after four years of treatment for my depression and anxiety I felt the only way I could make progress and be able to live was to leave the town and people who had contributed to my state.
And when I moved I came out officially and publicly at 22 years old. I know there are people from my home town who no longer acknowledge my existence, that didn’t welcome me home as the same girl they loved when I left, but that is not mine to carry, I am being honest, and living my life which has seen me heal and grow into the best version of me.
By acknowledging who I am, I was able to acknowledge the pretty crappy things I had put up with because I had been convinced, by my own mind and by others that I didn’t deserve to be happy because I loved differently,
Since coming out, I have been in the healthiest relationship that I’ve ever been in, she helps me heal, and grow and strive for better everyday, and being in a healthy relationship is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, being open and vulnerable and trusting after years of closing myself off from pain or fear or my past is the scariest thing but it has been the most rewarding.
I grew up in a small farm town in Indiana. Open mindedness was not a thing where I was from. Being raised by older parents and growing up in an closed mindset community, I was raised to believe that those who choose same sex relationships were sinful and “wrong in the head”. I always sensed I was different from about 14 on. But it wasn’t until I was 16 walking the halls of High School thinking I can’t be gay dad will hate me. So….. I suppressed the queer side of me that wanted to be with girls, dated some boys, and tried really hard to be “normal”. Several years of chronic depression and anxiety later I finally turned 21, lived on college campus, and had a mad crush on a girl in my class. Fate, God, the Universe or whatever force you believe in, this girl was also bisexual. And although a relationship never happened, I owe it to her and one drunken night for my official coming out story. I chose to live honestly and came out to my friends and family soon after. Things did not go well at first, but we did a lot of growing, and things did get better. Fast forward a few years and I am now happily married 2 years to my beautiful wife. All of my friends were there and my parents walked me down the aisle. I am so very fortunate to have such a positive outcome. We now live in the same small town I grew up in where we strive to live positive, out, queer lives, and strive to make the world a more loving place. #KeepItReal
I forced myself to have a crush on a boy because everyone else had one so that’s what I did. Little did I know that I was crushing on girls that were older than me and I didn’t even know it. I thought it was normal to feel that way so I never thought anything of it. I was always nervous and my face would always fluster because I was attracted to them. I remember when I was in 7th grade someone had asked me what my sexuality was and at that time I didn’t know what that meant. I didn’t even know what gays and lesbians or even being bi was. So when I told them I was bi I didn’t really know what it meant so I just stuck with it. But a few days after that they ended up telling my whole class that I was bi. Every second that I had I denied everything because I was so scared of what people would think about me or if they would treat me differently. I was in a catholic school so it was never normal or shown so I denied every second of it. Until I moved schools and I saw diversity and I found out what sexuality was. That’s when I actually noticed that I was paying more attention to the girls rather than the boys. I made up what I thought were real crushes with boys and then I started realize that I liked girls the entire time. But of course I was always in denial of it. I even went online to take the ‘am I gay quiz’ I took so many of them, every single one of them came out positive. Even after all that I denied it I didn’t want anything to do with it because I was scared of it.
I remember one day my mom was taking me to soccer practice and she ended up talking to me about labels. And she started explaining to me about how my older sister thought that she was gay and that putting labels on things is what makes it become real. It sounded like my mom knew about me and basically told me I was full of crap for thinking the way I was even though I hadn’t told her anything about me. At this time I had a girlfriend and everything so I just brushed that conversation off. But but it made me feel insecure a little bit. It made me feel like I was stupid for falling for a girl and that it was fake like it was child’s play. So I hid my relationship the best way I could publicly and at home. I never really came out to my mom but now I’m growing into it and finally accepting myself for who I am. And it makes me shine brightly and especially to know that I wasn’t alone in this, that other people had been going through the same thing I was or am.
I think I’ve known who I really am my whole life, but it wasn’t until I went to college that I really found my community, 4 out of 5 of my best friends identify as queer, so it’s very ease to feel comfortable around them. When I was 20 years old, I met the woman that would become my first love. It took me awhile to realize that I loved her, but as soon as I was sure of it, I decided to tell my parents and brothers. I actually couldn’t find the words to do it, so my dad step up and asked me If I was in love with her, so I told them I was. My brothers were really supportive and acted like it was the most natural thing in the world, but for my parents was a little difficult, especially because I wasn’t telling them that I only like women, but that I also still like men, that was really confusing for them. It has been almost 3 years since that day, and she is still my girlfriend, my parents and brothers love her, she knows almost my entirely family (In Chile, we are use to have like 6 uncles/aunties and like 10 cousins, so it’s a big deal), although, only my closest family knows she is my girlfriend even though I don’t hide it (in social media or real life), so that is the next step for me, to be more vocal and more awarely proud of who I am and who I love.
CONTENT WARNING: THIS COMING OUT STORY CONTAINS DESCRIPTION AND/OR DISCUSSION OF SEXUAL ABUSE.
I was raised in a very strict, fundamentalist “Christian” cult, so many of my liberal values were viewed as wrong and shameful. My father was bisexual, but he was also very abusive to my mother and I. So my association with any kind of sexual ‘other’ was tied to difficult emotions. I was sexually abused by my father when I was of a tender age and again by a cousin when I was 14, so coming into womanhood and sexual awareness was met by fear and instant repression. I simply shut myself off to the whole experience.
Now, at the ripe old age of 29 😉 I have left the cult, separated myself from abusive family members, and am discovering who I am. It feels so good!
Just since turning 29 in April I have come out as gender queer and am flying the asexual flag (though I may truly be more demisexual). I have never felt so free or so confident.
It has always been easy for me to love others, but I find it’s even easier as I learn to also love myself!
I am inexpressibly thankful for Dominique Provost-Chalkley for her bravery and her representation. Positive representation really does change lives, and sometimes it even saves lives!
I am 24. I knew at age 15 that I had an attraction to girls when I had, what seemed like, an everyday interaction with a female friend on my basketball team. It was nothing more than a hug; but during that embrace I felt someone I had never felt before.
In middle school I would tell my friends that I had a crush on a boy, but it wasn’t a real crush. Outside of seeing this boy at school, I would never think about him or feel the urge to talk to him or see him. I told my friends this lie because I wanted to fit in. And maybe on some level I actually believed it was a crush because I hadn’t yet met a girl I felt that attraction for; so I was unaware of what if actually felt like, until a couple years later.
Having that interaction, at 15, that led to me realizing that I am attracted to girls was one of the scariest moments of my life. I remember going home that night and staring at the wood of the top bunk bed from my bottom bed. I kept finding and tracing patterns in the wood to avoid thinking about what had happened to me internally that day.
My mother was a very religious woman. Sexuality was never something that was talked about in my home growing up because it was always just assumed that because my mom raised us “Christian” that we were absolutely straight, or “normal.” My mom was anything but an open minded person, what she believed was right and you couldn’t change her mind, everyone else was wrong. At the age of 12 my mom informed me that she wouldn’t be watching Grey’s Anatomy anymore and that I was not allowed to watch it either. This was because they introduced a lesbian couple into the show. In my moms words, “it’s disgusting and I don’t want you kids watching any of that.” Me, being a curious preteen, would of course sneak to watch it on my own. I wanted to see what was so bad about 2 woman being together, but I didn’t see what my mom saw. And yet it was still another 10 years before I was able to be completely honest to even myself about my sexuality.
I went through high school and 2 semesters of college telling everyone that I was straight, and I got so good at saying it that I believed it and lived it, even though subconsciously I knew I was not.
At age 19, I fell in love with my best friend. I didn’t know it was love at the time, and even when she confronted me about it I denied it, I told her she was crazy and that I just like having a close friendship with her. She did not believe it; she cut me out of her life for having feelings for her, feelings that I had never acted on In any way. That should have pushed me further in the closet, but actually it started an internal battle with myself. I began to question everything I would do, every thought I had, every move I would make. I thought about it nearly every minute of everyday for 4 months. That is when I knew she was right. I lost my best friend over it, but all the hurt from that was able to make me see who I truly was. I had a LOT of shame about who I was, but also about doing everything in my power to hide it for so long. So much shame that I still didn’t come out for another year and a half.
When I finally felt ready to talk about, I sat in a room with my close friend and told her I had something on my mind. She was all ears, but I opened my mouth and nothing came out. I said, “my brain won’t let me say it.”
She said, “how about you write it down and read it to me.” She gave me a piece of paper and I wrote, “I think I might be gay.” I looked at it, I read the words without thinking about what they meant, and that was the only way I was able to say it.
Her reaction?… “that’s it? You built this up so big and that’s all it is? Sarah, I don’t care if you’re gay, I love you.” I exhaled the breath I had been holding in since I read what I wrote and I sobbed.
After that it became easier and easier to tell people. I was 22 at the time, but I did not tell my mom until I was almost 24. The first year of my coming out journey was only telling my sisters and close friends, people who I knew in my heart wouldn’t look at me any different. Since it was still a new thing for me I wasn’t ready to have a bad experience with telling someone. I feared that would shove me back into the closet, and that was the last place I wanted to be.
Here I am now, 24 years old. I have surrounded myself with a family of friends who love me for me, they do not judge me, they do not question who I am.
I can just be me and it is the best feeling in the whole world..
It takes a lot of courage and strength to come out, it really does. It’s not as simple as just blurting it out with a smile on your face. I’m not saying that all of us have had a tough time coming out. Not at all. I’m just speaking on my own personal experience.
Coming out was hard for me. I was 15 years old. Even though I knew my mom would be extremely supportive, I was terrified. Not because of my mom, it was everyone else and the scrutiny that I was going to potentially be under. I had to take a deep breath and just say it, or so I thought. But for the first little while, I went to say it and nothing came out. I was truly terrified to say anything. My anxiety spiked. I was scared. Scared to say anything. Scared that I liked girls because I was told there was something wrong with me and to get help. So, I was scared to speak my truth.
I woke up one morning and thought to myself; “Surely it can’t be as bad as I thought!”. Well, I got up and I told her. I said “mom if I like girls, will you still love me? I like girls.” My mom smiled, hugged me and said simply this….”Katie I am so proud of you!”. I was so relieved and her approval was all I needed. So, I thought I am going to be accepted by everyone!
That’s not the way it went with everyone. I was told I was disgusting, gross, taunted, teased, bullied, told it’s wrong and that I really wasn’t and that I should marry a man. I felt so ashamed of myself.
I told my mom what had happened and that I will never be accepted by anyone. I cried. She told me I wasn’t the only one, hugged me and said we are going to go out. She took me downtown to Pride. There were so many people and couples that were actually happy to be seen together and so many colours. My head was spinning but deep down inside I had never felt more alive!
I am proud of who I am. I am a lesbian. I am into girls. I am my authentic self!
Hii, so, what a beautiful place to be in sharing just a little bit of my story. 🙂 I won’t take too long, I wanted this to be short but truthful. Just like Dom reiterated with her story. Well, yeah, I’m queer too I guess. I never knew this about me, and maybe when I was younger I did shove it in the little dark corners of my heart. But I won’t anymore. I started to question the heteronormative narrative about my sexuality when I started to think too much about a girl I met unpretentiously when I was 18 years old. What I keep asking myself is if I had felt this way before, but I just didn’t recognise this when I was younger, and only now I do. What helped me see this in a better light was a friend of mine (my best friend now) and she had already been dating a girl for 6 years, and they themselves overcame some pretty rough things. Still, till this day I can’t really help but feel disgusted by what they’ve gone through. But anyways, this ain’t about them. It’s about me. And when it comes to it, THIS is all that matters, guys. After starting to feel things for girls, crushing really really hard on them, I kept asking OTHER PEOPLE for their opinion. Well, now I know better. They did help me A LOT, but at the end of the day I think what matters is that yes I don’t like only boys, I like girls too.
I don’t really feel the need to come out in a huge fashion, I think people suspect this of me, and I have been bugging everyone about Kat and Dom, and Melissa, and Katie and Kristen Stewart, and Caity and Jess and a loot of actresses, so there’s that as well. But I hope people won’t give me too much of a hard time once I start dating, if it’s a girl and not a boy. I lke to think that they won’t. I will nevertheless still love them even if they don’t understand, I guess for some reason we should be understanding. Fight like hell to end LGBTQIA+fobia, but be understanding, as well.
Thanks for reading.
I knew I was gay in 5th grade. Now my story is twisted with antiquated thinking by others and trying to be myself. The town I grew up in has a total of 368 ppl today..so very small not even a stop light. There was 0 representation back in 1990 when I graduated so I am old l had no clue where to find another lesbian. No clue there were bars for my own kind. It did feel lonely. Hard to believe I found an ad in the back of a Rolling Stone magazine and that is how I met my first gf. We lived 4.5 hrs apart and lots of road trips. Back then we had to write real letters and put them thru the mail lol. Well one weekend we were out on a date and when I got home I got stormed by my mother. She said “how long has this affair been going on?” Now me and I will say I am a complete a$$hat I turn to her and said “she’s not married so its not an affair” She didn’t think it was funny. My mother went into my room, dug through my dresser drawers found all my letters, plus told my whole family I was gay before I could come out. I was kicked out of the house with nowhere to go luckily my sister let me stay with her but I had to deal with my parents being ashamed of me and my sister being paranoid of my gf. My mother still reminds me I am going to hell and it makes me mad to no end. I thought I had real love gonna settle down marry when it was legal kinda thing but after 11 yrs she said she didn’t love me. I came out to a few ppl after my mother outed me and it was exhilarating. A weight off my shoulders. I felt free. Thru the years I’ve had to push my way thru head high never back down made fun of by family but I keep going never apologizing for who I am. After gf number 3 and my being with a str8 girl, I am alone. At my age sometimes its good to just be nothing. I don’t feel like a girl I don’t feel like a guy. My self esteem gets in my way of looking for another woman. I spare you a lot of details that were unpleasant plus I feel I’ve taken up too much room. My Twitter is WickedEyes22 to check out some if my earlier content but its full of plus that. It has gotten better for the younger generation now but ppl like me have been pushing against the world for quite awhile. The fight for equality is constantly changing. Someday it wont matter who you bring home for the holidays..
I am a woman who will be 60 next April, so I come from a time and place where expressing to the world, or at least your family and friends, that you are a Lesbian was not accepted by many. I was around 30 (similar to Dominique) when I finally let people know my truth, my identity. It was one of the scariest and most liberating times of my life. I received some backlash from family and friends but the knowledge that I was being honest for the first time in my life and what I gained from that was worth more than what I lost in relationships. That, to me, is what helped me to finally feel like a whole/complete person. Knowing that I may lose a relationship I shared with someone that had meant a great deal to me for many years. But the TRUTH is, the relationship wasn’t honest and without honesty there can be no depth to any relationship.
I have been fortunate to cultivate relationships over the years with people who do accept me for who I am and I do the same in return. Keeping positive people in your life is the key to living the very best you can.
If I had not come out to at least to myself I would have never attained one of the greatest gifts of my life, my relationship with my partner of over 20 years. She was one of the brightest light in my life and because of her I care deeper for others, give more of my time, help other humans that may need a lift in their life, and most importantly view all people equally. She passed away in March 2020 of a long term illess. But even in her struggles with her health, and there were many, she always put others first. I struggle sometimes with the deep loss I feel and it often times overwhelms me for the sweet soul I have lost from my life, my touch stone. But than I realize I must try to help others for that’s what her life was all about. Even on the most difficult of days she would offer to help someone else without complaint. I don’t believe I can express in words just how generous she was and what a wonderful human being.
So I want anyone who is struggling to know, I am here for you. If you need an ear to listen or voice to help find the answers to your questions, I am here for you. I dont’ have all the answers myself, no one does, but I have been through many difficult situations in this life and have many years of experiences from which to pull. I have spoken/counciled others who are strugging with their identity and how to be accepted by others, and more importantly, accept themselves. I just want you to know that if there is a way I can help I am available.
I knew I was a member of the community because when I was 11 years old I fell in love with a 15-years-old girl that played football in the same club as me but not in the same team. I didn’t realize that I was in love, I just wanted to be close to her, I brought her candies, I talked to her on the phone during all the summer and even me and some friends recorded a dance for her. But she was much older than me and time pasted and I don’t talk to her now. After her I had a lot of crushes, like Melissa Benoist and other women on tv. I didn’t fell in love with famous men, but I didn’t realize of that either. My uncle is gay so since I was little for me always has been love, there was or is gender for love.
Like I said, I came out to my family a week ago as a lesbian, to my mom I gave her a letter with my feelings but not with the word “lesbian” I wanted to tell her face to face, so I did, and she told me that nothing had change, that I am and I will always be her baby, whoever I love, she also said that she already knew it, like she imagined it, she was very supportive. A couple of days after that I told to my older sister, and as my mom she said that that’s okay. And my mom told to my stepfather, who was also supportive and who said that he loves me even more because he will be the only man in my live. That was really sweet.
This pandemic has helped me to know me better and to accept me. Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Kat Barrell, Emily Andras and every single human in the Wynonna Earp’s show has supportited me in many ways and the representation that Wayhaught was, is and will do has been my rock in this part of my live that’s why is and will be my favourite show as like Dom is not my favourite actress but my favourite person.
I love Earpers and Wynonna Earp.
Coming out. What does that term really mean? I don’t think anyone should have to “come out” you should just be who you are. When I was a kid liking girls didn’t really phase me. I was a “tom boy” per say but I liked to wear jeans and play baseball. I mean I can hang with the boys even if I was a girl. It wasn’t until I was in 9th grade that I really started to see that I liked girls as well as guys. I mean when you have a crush on Angel and Buffy, Pacey and Joey then you know you like both. It wasn’t something I talked about a lot. I had boy friends but dreamed of kissing a girl. It wasn’t until my 20’s when I actually did do that, kiss a girl and well I liked it. I come from a religious background so acting on these feelings weren’t on my mind. My church has since accepted the LGBTQ community which is great. After kissing my friend that was when it started to become real to me. She made me realize that it was OK to act on those feelings. Jump ahead a few years and I met a girl named Amanda. We were inseparable, we talked on the phone for hours and would hang out a lot. She was my co-worker so I would see her everyday. The kicker was, she had a boyfriend. The moment I realized that I was in love with her was the day she broke my heart. That day I will never forget. Her daughter loved me to death and thought the world of me. So loosing her as a friend was one of the worst days of my life. It has been over 10 years since that happened but to this day I truly believe that she started to feel something for me but got scared of that feeling, and the only way she knew how to handle it was to just cut off our friendship. I really believe that she was my soul mate because I had never had feelings for anyone like I did for her. The connection we had was like no other. I never acted on my feelings towards her because I didn’t want to loose our friendship. Since then I have stayed away from dating anyone serious because I didn’t want to be hurt like that again. After that happened I’ve only talked to guys because it felt safe for me. So going back to my first statement, what does “coming out” really mean. I guess you could say I just came out to all of you with this post. But I shouldn’t have to come out because love is love no matter who it is with. So here I am coming out to all of you that I am bisexual and I’m proud to say that.
When I was 12 I met a girl, she eventually became my best friend. We spent a lot of time together. She liked to hold my hand and hug me constantly. I noticed that my feelings for her were getting stronger, suddenly I realized that I wanted to kiss her, that something had changed, that I was jealous if I saw her with a boy, but I refused to accept what was happening to me, how could I like my best friend? It was very hard for me to accept myself, to realize that I liked men, but also women. I was never able to tell my best friend that I was in love with her, I’m still afraid to tell some people who I really am, and it’s killing me.
Little Pat already knew that she liked boys and girls. Surrounded by friends and always dreaming of colorful friendships. But only the boys had the courage. The girls only saw their friend. I kissed many boys, but I knew that one day I would kiss girls.
I let time take care of that part. And when a girl finally wanted to kiss me I just closed my eyes and let it happen. It was wonderful.
The time passed and the falmiliar meetings speculating the life of others about boyfriends, children, marriage … And I let them talk about how many boyfriends I had. I have never spoken openly to the “family” that I am queer (I like different types of people). My 2 sisters, 1 niece and my closest friends know that I am queer because I don’t hide.
But this year I decided to put the rainbow flag in the description on the social networks that I am on. Family members and acquaintances will see what they never really wanted to know.
And Dominique Provost-Chalkley, you are a beautiful person!
I was unable to read your statement and remain silent.
Thanks to your delicacy I wanted to write …
I am OUT. (and also a ACE “demisexual” brazilian person)
I’m 15 years old, and i always knew, since i was like 8 years old, that i like girls. I never really knew, that it’s not “that” normal in the society, since i had sex education in school. My best friend back then, knew it first, because i always told her about my Tv crushes who were always girls, and she didn’t even questioned it. why would she? We were kids, that thought, that everybody thinks, that it’s normal(what it should be). After in the 5th grade, i pretended to have a crush on a boy in my class, because i thought, that sow people would find it weird, that i had a celebrity crush on Lauren Jauregui. After a while i told everything a really good friend that was also in my class. I remembered, when she asked me, id i only like girls and i answered with a “yeees…..?” That was the moment, when i really realized it like “Dang i’m lesbian”. After a while, i fell in love with a girl, that was 2 years older than me and the daughter of a family friend. I told my friends, and they supported me and didn’t have any problems with me liking a girl. A year after that, i came out to my parents, and they said, that they’re proud of me, and they fully support it. They even bought me a pride flag. Then i fell in love with my friend(that also came out as bi). We’re still friends, and she told me a few weeks ago, that she had a crush on me back then. And that was my story
I was born a girl. I was always kind of normal person, as a kid, but a lot masculine. At the age of 12, I knew I was gay and at the time, it was a society that wasn’t very ‘welcoming’ to gay people and I experienced that. I didn’t make a coming out to anyone, I just joined with a lesbian friend and people start assuming I was gay too. I noticed my closest friends being weird with me. At school, when we were in gym class, the girls, my friends for ages, would hide changing their closest next to me, and with the time, they started ‘getting away’ and talking behind my back. So, by time it was high school, they all went to the same school and I decided to change to a different school a bit far.
I wasn’t always very good at making friends, so when I lost everyone, I got really scared that I was gonna be alone. But then, about 2 days at high school, a group of girls came to me and asked for me to joined them. They didn’t asked anything about me, they just accept how I was and they loved me. And that was the best time of my life. There, I made friends for life!
By the time I went to college, I had a girlfriend, that in a year in college, we broke up.
I had a really hard time in college, I didn’t have anyone, I was completely alone. And that started to get to me. I had a depression, really bad, I just really wanted to die. I tried. But something at the time told me to hold on a bit more.
I got help and I got better, for a while. And 2 years into college, I had no high school girlfriend anymore and I had a few friends from my class. But I decided to focus and end college.
And now I did, I’m 22 years old and I just ended college.
Buuuut, this was only my story about being a gay women.
At the age of 14, I’ve always knew I was different, I felt different. I always hated my body and how it was. And at that time I discovered ‘trans’. I started searching about it and learning more, how it was done, how much it costs. And in Portugal (that’s where I live), the costs were a lot! I couldn’t afford it, not until I was like 30 years old. So I made a plan. I promised myself that I would end school as fast as I could and I would go to another country and there work and pay for surgery and hormones.
But – and this is an important part for everyone in a similar situation -, things on my head started getting worse. The profound hate with my body was awful. I started to cut myself. In my head, doing that was like a way to get to my really body, that was underneath the one I had that I hated. I also had depressions and 2 suicide atempts.
But one day, November of 2019, a friend of mine – not very close at the time – asked my if I ever thought about transexuality. And I told her the truth and my plan to finish school and go away to become me. And she was this amazing person that said ‘are you crazy?! you gotta start that s*** right now!’.
The first step was to come out to my parents. I came out to my sister in 2016 and she was okay with it. And then I came out to my mother in December 2019, and she was.. . okay…, I understand it is hard for parents and loved ones, but I only want them to be the same as they always were. My mom said that, if this is something I feel and want, it was my path, I need to so it alone. And that okay by me, that’s acceptable.
So, because if the incredible women that supported me and helped me to come out to my parents and ‘ordered’ me not to wait anymore, I started my transition.
Now, I’m about to start hormones and I’m working to get money for my surgery. And I’m happy! Really happy, for the first time in my life!
For anyone it a situation similar – don’t give up! Don’t wait!
If you love someone, go get them, no matter the sex or gender!
If you feel your different, don’t hide it, live your true self!
I know we still don’t live in a society that’s free and that accepts ‘different’ people. In this century, we should not have to hide and we should not have communities. We should all be one. But the world is this not and this amazing community will stand by you and help you and support you all the way and all the time!
We are united as one!
I am a cisgendered Lesbian who uses she/her, and who identifies by simply my name.
I knew I was a Lesbian when I was 10 years old. I had a friend who was an actor and singer and I would often help her with work. One day we decided to do some improvisation, which she loved but did not get to do often. She set the scene and we both get into character and then she leads the scene to where I would kiss her. I stopped myself unsure of what to do. I really wanted to kiss her, but as far as I knew she was straight so we did not kiss. It was a little awkward after that but we made it through and remained friends until college. That is a whole different story.
College at 19 I finally accepted who I am now to come out. I struggled for a year alone with it going back in forth about if my family will accept me. Despite my parents having Lesbian friends and going to gay bars with them. Well during the year I was struggling my older sister and mom were talking about my sexuality. Finally mom told me my sister was worried I didn’t know who I was because I had never dated anyone. I was so mad that I said I know exactly who I am. I am a Lesbian mom. Her reaction was I know. I was waiting for you to tell me. That went not at all as I had planned! So now the next step my dad. Mom wants to wait so I do. My mom, dad and I go on vacation together when I am 21. While I am visiting friends my parents along with an ex minister and his wife go to gay pride where my proceeds to out me to everyone. Yeah I was livid. So I come back and my dad is acting awkward. He put his arm around me and said oh sorry you don’t like that. I am like dad just because I do not like that from other men does not mean I do not like it from you. You are my dad and that will never change. We were good from that time on and remained close to each other as we always had been. Then the Minister asks me what advice I had for people coming out after I tell them the whole story of my first girlfriend, which my mom knew nothing about. I said expect the worst and hope for the best. That is what I did, which floored everyone there. I said you can be open minded about other people being queer but it is different when it is your own child. Then it was time to come out to my siblings. I had asked my wife to marry me so I decided to come out and tell them I was engaged at the same time and they were like yeah we know and congratulations and moved on with the conversation.
I am extremely lucky in my journey to have had so much positivity and acceptance and because of that I try to pass it on as much as I can to others. I still give the advice I did then but I will add. If you are not lucky enough to have an accepting family then find one that will accept you. You are beautiful the way you are. You have the right to love whoever you want. You have the right to be whoever you are, because you are a beautiful human being just they way you are. Find a family who will celebrate and support you in being you. Own your individuality and pride. Own who you are.
All of my life I’ve known I like girls, even since I was just a little kid. But it didn’t matter to me that much because, as a kid I didn’t realize what that exactly meant. But then I got older… and as many other people must identify with (specially in latin countries): struggling with the fact that I come from a “macho culture” country as Guatemala, growing in an evangelical family, religious closed-minded-violent society, being the daugther of a respectable Doctor known by a lot of people, and belonging to a respectable family… and so on… those things over the years made me just (as Dominique wrote) suppress it, to the point that, for many years I tried to convince myself that it was absolutely not acceptable and I had to change and hopefully someday God would have enough mercy on me to change me, and if it didn’t happen, then I must just stay single for the rest of my life instead of having a homosexual relationship. Because it was not a good thing for my family, it was not a good thing in God’s eyes, because it is just wrong… and still at the eve of my 36’s I struggle so hard with those thoughts (that I know are not okay)… because that’s what I was taught.
Too many years have passed and.. yeap, I still like women, more than ever, and I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I definitely don’t have the same perception of life that I had 10, 15 or 20 years ago. And it makes me so sad to think that I have wasted so many years of my life where I could have just enjoyed and lived my sexuality freely without caring of what others would say, or think, but I’m working on it now, I think it’s never too late.
My coming out story though is not a happy one, back in 2009 I met a beautiful lady at work (we knew each other by sight only, from church and because our families also were old acquaintances… just imagine that). We started dating and we fell in love so deeply, we were together for almost 5 years, but of course we kept it secret for obvious reasons, even when we were not that young anymore (she was 28 and I 26) we were still so scared, we shared the same background, so at least, being with someone who understood the situation so well was kind of a comfort. Anyways, one day her brother (a total a.h.) saw us kissing and told their parents, and their parents talked to my parents, and as if we were children, they met to decide what they were going to do about it… that was the breaking point to our relationship, we tried to stay together but it got just so hard to confront them (not to mention, she had a daughter and it made it so much difficult)… well… just not to extend on this, we finally broke up. Didn’t speak for years… she got married last year and I’m still single.
I’m about to turn 36 and even when I came out to my friends a long time ago, and all of them were very supportive… the situation with my family injured my heart and soul, so deep, and since we were never that open with each other, my parents and I never talked about the subject after that incident. So it felt like it never happened, and if it made them feel calmed, that was enough for me. My two sisters, thank God have been such a bleesing, they’ve been my supporting point, otherwise I would’ve gone crazy.
And well… why now? Why am I deciding to write this down? I’ve never talked to anyone about all this… and so many things have happened in the last years, that I just feel overwhelmed, but the breaking point to me was on last december, when I lost my mom due to cancer, since then, I’ve been having so many regrets, because back in those days when they found out I was a lesbian, she was so hurt that she didn’t talk to me for a couple of weeks, and I tried to understand and not being angry at her, and she wrote me a letter (that I still keep with me) asking me to open up to her and talk to her about my feelings… and I never did, because I felt so guilty and bad, and I just didn’t want to hurt her more, I mean, I mistakenly thought she had more important things to worry about, I was a grown up girl after all so I just decided to deal with it on my own… and now I realize I should have done it… maybe I wouldn’t have felt so alone. Maybe, having done it many years earlier, I wouldn’t have to go through that painful stage of my life where I just found comfort in alcohol and trying to stay away from home… I mean, it wasn’t their fault after all.
And here I stand, trying to take babysteps on being brave enough to embrace my true self, and living my life the way it makes me happy… trying to get rid of the religious ideas implanted on me, trying to find that confidence to open up to my dad (who is and has always been a good man and a good father… but old fashioned)… and I don’t know how long it’s gonna take me, but I finally decided, it’s time to stop suppressing, it’s time to start being myself around my people… I’m still so so scared of hurting my father and dissappointing him, but I just can’t keep living like this anymore. So I’m doing this for me.
I apologyze if I’m not so eloquent in my writing, but I just took this space as a liberating point of all the things I carry with me, don’t even know if someone’s going to read it, but I just needed to get it out of my head for a change.
Blessings to everyone.
My whole life I was asexual and aromantic. But I didn’t have words. I picked names of random guys to be crushes, basing it on ‘well he seems nice and people expect me to say someone.’ I agreed to go on dates when asked. For a time, I even wanted nothing more than to be in a happy, straight relationship because that I meant I was not only wanted and desirable as a person, it meant I was normal. After trying out dating life with someone who on paper should have checked all the boxes, I felt so uncomfortable. Every day as his ‘girlfriend’ I felt nauseous. I felt like I was lying. I couldn’t call him my boyfriend. I avoided him as much as I could. I kept thinking in time it would get better, but the more attempts we made at having a normal relationship, the more uncomfortable I felt. I had a friend say ‘well maybe you’re asexual.’ I sheepishly agreed, but honestly had no idea that was even a thing and felt embarrassed in my ignorance. After a lot of googling, I knew who I was. I am thankful for that relationship, which I ended shortly after my discovery.
But the way I found myself and the time I found myself (2012) ingrained a sense in me that as well as I could understand myself, no one else could. So I went on, being myself to people who knew me, but staying silent in other areas aside from a few brave moments on social media. And often when it did come up, people asked questions. And as much as I do think everyone deserves an education, I couldn’t help feeling like no matter what answer I gave, they already had one in mind that would hold true. No matter if it was or not. That continued. I have been welcomed by the LGBT+ community, but knowing not everyone feels that way towards asexuality kept me feeling wrong and broken all over again. I didn’t fit in a straight mold. Nor did I fit a queer one. Even though the majority of people I’ve encountered have been kind, I still tend to fall into silence. Supporting pride and equality for others, but producing an internalized list of reasons why feeling inferior in my identity daily isn’t enough to qualify me as deserving the same as everyone else.
Years of off-putting conversation, exclusion and lack or representation created this paradox. I could accept myself. I could love seeing other people proclaim their pride. But I felt indulgent, selfish and out of place if I did the same. But as time has gone on, I realized I don’t need to justify my right to claim my identity. It’s not a contest of suffering. And in a way, the rules we use to measure our experiences don’t fit all identities. I have had the amazing safety of passing as straight and the anonymity to be who I am without fear of repercussions as long as I avoid the topic of my sexuality in conversation. But I’ve also had to lie every time I turn a guy down because I’m afraid if I tell the truth that he’d try to prove me wrong. I had a therapist I went to for help question my orientation and experiences relentlessly, going as far as suggesting I ‘try it’ with multiple genders to see which I prefer. I’ve had strangers ask if I masturbate, if I’ve tried X,Y,Z thing, or tell me I just haven’t found the one yet because they know me better than I know myself. And most of all, I have to go through every day thinking I don’t have the right to express who I am. Feeling guilty for being proud and knowing who I am.
Dom came out on her birthday. I write this on my own birthday. I’ve been ‘out’ for years now, but this year I pledge to allow myself to take up the space I deserve. I have and will always support the representation of all orientations, genders, races, cultures and identities. I will continue to raise up all of the other voices that need to be heard in this world. But I also need to start using my own.
I came out 40 years ago this August when I was 19 years old. For me, the realization of who I was when I came out was like someone had thrown open the shutters and thrown up the sash and let the air and light into my life. Unfortunately, there was also a great since of fear especially at that time. Short history lesson: Stonewall had happened just 11 years earlier in 1969. Homosexuality was removed from the list of “mental illnesses” by the American Psychiatric Association only 7 years prior in 1973. “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was still 14yrs away so they did ask and if you were found out you could not only be disowned by your family, but chances were good you might lose your job or your housing and most of your friends.
For me it was a time of wonder, I was naïve. But I as lucky because when I first came out, I found an older lesbian, who I worked with, that was able to help me navigate this new hidden world and find the community. You must remember that this is long before the internet, so finding each other was exceedingly difficult. She taught me about feminist bookstores, Lesbian Connection (a newsletter that is still published today), women’s potlucks, women’s music and of course the bars, though very few if any of those women’s space still exist. It was all about knowing the code words and symbols: feminist, womyn, potluck, lavender, violets, labrys, etc. To this day I still use “the look” with other women in public that let us each other know that we are the same without words.
Regarding the fear and history there is one story that I carry with me to this day. It was on St. Patrick’s Day 1981 when my older lesbian mentor smuggled me into the Three Sisters bar in Denver. I know they knew I was a little underage, but they also knew that the lesbian bars were one of the few places that was safe to meet other people like yourself. The Sisters was packed that night and the group I was with had been there about 30-40 minutes when across the room there is a face I recognized. Being young, and like I said naïve and feeling invincible I got up and walked across the bar, and bold as brass walked up to the woman I recognized and said: “Hi Miss (name withheld)”, to my high school guidance counselor. She turned and looked at me and said HI back in a very trepidatious way, not using my name and being kind of distant… I was a bit taken aback as we had been close in high school but figured whatever ‘it’s been awhile’ and went back to the group I was with. About a half hour later she came across the bar to me and said, “Hi Jackie” and introduced me to the woman she was with and we spoke for a few minutes. To this day I cannot forget the look of sheer terror that ran across her face when I said her name, it was the first time I understood just how dangerous being out could be. If found out she would have lost her job, possibly her home – everything. She was sacred of me recognizing her in a lesbian bar and it took her over a half hour to realize that if I was there too it was OK, and her secret was safe. I wish I could say that was the only time over the years that I have seen “that look”, but I am glad to say that I see it very seldom now and I hope that this generation and the next will never have to see it.
Thank you for this forum to share these stories. As I get older, I worry that our herstory and where and who we came from is being lost. Hopefully, projects like this will help to keep that from happening and keep our stories alive.
Usually a story starts at the beginning. When everyone is equally as confused. No one knows where the directors will take each scene and I, being from a conservative family, just was implied that I was straight by nature. No questioning needed of my sexuality. Thus, I live for 22 years just repressing feelings. Going out with boys and then feeling this empty feeling. Like I’m not being completely honest with myself. So I start this story with the middle. My junior year in University. I had already acknowledged that I liked a girl that was one of my best friends but I sweared to myself every girl had those kinds of moments. We are just hyper awear of our feelings. (laughs in closet gay). Well well we’ll. There comes 2018 and the summer that changed my life. I was preparing myself to have 2 months of no interaction with people. Ready to start studying for medical school and then out of nowhere I just put a random show on. Wynonna Earp. What an interesting show. Magic, guns and comedy. I was hooked. What I wasn’t expecting was to identify so much with Waves. How the heck did a writers created this character. Why I’m I getting so emotional over a TV show. How I was going out of my head questioning if I was a lesbian or I just was confused or all of the above. What I didn’t realize was that I will go to YouTube and spend days watching interviews from the cast. What I never realized was that one of them will sing the song I never wanted my lips to sing.
I’m still closet and at age 23 I feel like it’s taken forever to get to this comfortable place where some of my good friends know. But, Dominique I have to say thank you. I just graduated from a bachelor degree in environmental sciences. On my way to my PhD. If it wasn’t for the fact that I saw representation of not only the awesome queer community but also Start the Wave I don’t think I would’ve come out of that depressed stage I was in. Dominique thank you for saying it’s ok to be the odd one out in an ever so serious world. Thank you for standing by our planet’s side. As a queer Hispanic environmentalist it means the world. I sure as hell will be doing the most to save it too.
I found out when I was 11 but I guess I always felt like I knew and the first person that I told was my best friend and she has supported me through it since, then I told my mom but she just told me that I was too young and I didn’t know anything but it’s been a couple of years and I’m still the same person I still like girls i just hope she allows me to be me once I tell her again I hope she supports me.
I realized I liked girls around the age of 11 but had been confused for many years before that. When I was 8 I chose to cut all my hair off and become one of the boys. I had heard about transgender people on school and thought that explained how I felt. It felt good walking around in clothes from the boy section and looking like a boy but whenever someone actually thought I was a boy I’d get uncomfortable because that wasn’t who I was. Some older girls that I looked really up to would always bully me at school, call me a boy-girl or ask me “what are you?” And refer to me as “it”. They would call me gay as if it was something wrong with it way before i even realized that I was gay. Only a few months after cutting my hair I chose to grow it out again. I started dressing very feminine and didn’t want anyone to think I was different at all. I remember crying myself to sleep when I was 10 because all the other girls had crushes on boys and I hadn’t liked anyone yet. We were making PowerPoint presentations at school when I figured out that asexuality was a thing. I spent the entire class to google different sexualities and didn’t have anything to present at the end of the class. Thinking I was asexual was calming because I knew I wasn’t the only one but scary because I didn’t think I would be able to love anyone at all. I realized I liked girls when my best friend came out when we were 12. Her coming out made me realize that girls could also be an option. After I thought about it for a while I accepted that I liked girls and started coming out to people. I only came out to about 5 people, but one of them told some one else and the rumor started to spread.
It has been going around for a few months now. People have been asking my friends about it too. Some of them have told them but most of them have just said they didn’t know. Im starting in 8th grade in a few weeks which means switching to a bigger school. I want to take the opportunity and change myself, give them no reason to believe the rumor even tho it’s true. It would probably not work since I’ve known over half of the people for over 7 years already but I’ll probably still give it a try. I don’t want to get any attention at the new school. Blending in is my goal but I’m pretty bad at that. Im tall, big and very socially engaged. If someone is homophobic I will call them out for it, if they make a racist joke I will tell them that it’s not okay. Arguing about immigration politics with white supremacy teachers and informing other students about different sexualities and gender identities doesn’t make you blend in. It makes people think you’re gay and supporting terrorist. Supporting human rights are looked at like a bad thing. I really don’t wanna come out anymore. After hearing what people have said about me only because they’ve heard from someone that I’m gay I really don’t think I ever will. I recently found out that one of my best friends are homophobic and that she thinks gays deserve die and that it’s wrong to be attracted to people of the same sex. She told me that she loved me the same week. As much as I would love to leave her behind and not talk to her again, I can’t. Because she cares about me as a straight person so if I just keep it that way, it won’t be a problem. And to be honest, I care about her too. I shouldn’t, but I do.
I don’t know if any of this made sense but I’m only 13 and English isn’t my native language so this is kinda hard.
Respect to everyone who has come out. I’m very proud of you. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to. You’re brave and I hope you’re well. And for those who haven’t come out yet, I’m cheering for you<3
I was in grade 5 when I realized that I wasn’t the same as the other girls, I liked boys stuff more than girls and I’ve always known I’ve liked girls. When I came out to my mom she wasn’t excepting, my step dad was very excepting. My mom kicked me out when I was 14 and I live with my grandma now but I am much happier now
I went into fifth grade with the greatest belief that everything would be amazing. I was hoping to make many new friends and become someone that was independent for the first time. I was hoping for so many things, and got none of them. Fifth grade was the worst year of my life. It was a year that pushed me to the edge of everything and left me belittled and scared for what was going to come next.
The truth is that people often believe that fifth graders don’t have a good idea about who they are, what they like, or who they like. However, I was different. I can confidently say that fifth grade was the year that I realized that I was a bit unusual. I looked at boys with a fond eye, which is what I believed was normal, so when I first looked at a girl with that same eye, I became apprehensive. I wasn’t sure why I felt the same way and I didn’t know that what I was about to do would spark something horrible.
I walked up to this girl that I saw differently and told her, point blank, that I had feelings for her. I even remember writing her a poem and giving it to her as she stood outside of her locker. Nothing that I had done felt out of the ordinary, but as soon as someone noticed my gesture, all hell broke loose. The word got around very quickly that I was a lesbian. My classmates talked about me and laughed. They wouldn’t let me sit by them at lunch or be in their group for a project. At recess I walked alone, anxiously staring at a group as they continued to talk about me. I had never felt so isolated and alone, most of all, I had never felt so depressed. I, at the age of ten, considered taking my life. The pain that I felt kept building up and I didn’t know what to do. The only thing that kept me alive was my family.
Now, my family didn’t actually know that any of this was going on. Every day, I would leave my house with a smile on my face and come home with that same exact smile. My parents and two sisters had no knowledge of anything that was going on at school. They didn’t know that I would go into my room and contemplate why I should continue fighting and not just give up. However, if there is anything worse than what the kids were saying about me, making my parents cry would be cause the biggest pain in my heart. I could never hurt myself in a way that would leave them asking why I did something or cause them to wonder if they were the reason. Despite all of the pain that I felt throughout fifth grade, I would never leave this world for the fear that my parents would be left alone in it.
Denial was the only way that I made it out of fifth grade. I denied all of the events that had occurred and stepped right back into the figurative closet that has been created for people like me. Now, as a junior in college, I am more open with people about my sexuality. I have the biggest and best support system around me and could not be more thankful. I look at life through a new lens, filled with hope for anyone like me. I look back at fifth grade and hate it in so many regards, however, I also look at it and believe that who I am today would not be a possibility without those events. I believe that everyone deserves to be happy and I will never disregard someone for a belief or aspect of their life. I have also come to accept who I am as a person and I am no longer scared. I was so close to the edge with nobody near. Now, if I ever become close to that edge again, I know I will have multiple people behind me ready to help.
I came out to my parents two days ago as bisexual. I am still not sure if I am bisexual, pansexual, or gay. I guess the best I can do is say that I am queer. Writing those words is hard but it is a significant milestone for me. Dominique Provost-Chalkley made me realise that and I am so grateful for her example. I have had a boyfriend for nearly five years, but we are taking a break at the moment because I need to figure out my sexuality. I cannot go on suppressing the fact that I am really attracted to women anymore. I began watching Wynonna Earp last week and seeing Waverly and Nicole together brought up all the feelings I have been suppressing. Seeing how natural and incredible their love is on-screen has helped me to face the truth and grapple with who I really am. I have been denying who I am for so long because I was scared and because I had a boyfriend who I couldn’t face hurting. I really love him, but I am just so much more attracted to women than to him. In the beginning I was very attracted to him which is why I think I might be bisexual or pansexual. I really just don’t know though. It is all so confusing and it hurts so much. I cannot be inauthentic with him, however, as it is not fair on him nor am I able to take the strain anymore. I have depression and I think a large part of my most recent episode (which I am only just emerging from) was about suppressing who I really am so that I didn’t have to face the truth and break-up with my boyfriend who is the most amazing person I have ever known. I hate putting him through this but I can’t deny the truth anymore.
I went to an all-girls high school. I had a few crushes on other girls there but I told myself that it was just because I wanted to give my love to someone and I wasn’t around boys much at all. I was terrified and I couldn’t tell anyone how I felt. I thought I was perverted and I was deeply ashamed. I have always had problems with my self-worth and apart from being too scared to come out, I didn’t think that if I told the person I was in love with that I loved her that she would ever be able to love me or that she even should. I still don’t think I deserve love although my boyfriend of the last almost five years has been so loving and helped me develop some acceptance in myself that I might be worthy of love. I am still not sure though and I don’t know how any woman will ever love me.
My sister came out as gay about five years ago and seeing how brave she was and how normal it actually is helped me overcome most of the shame. Lately, the main reason I have been denying my sexuality is that I have been in a loving relationship and he has taken care of me throughout my depression so I feel incredibly guilty admitting to myself that who I want to be in a relationship with might not be him. I am still trying to figure it out and I am going through a lot of pain trying to do that. My depression is still in the background and the punitive voice in my head is relentless. I am having trouble seeing the future as worth living for. I have always grappled with wanting to be dead and not wanting to have been born in the first place. But Dominique has showed me the strength in living out your truth and how joyous that truth can be. I am trying to live up to my values and be who I really am and a good person at the same time. I am trying to keep living. I don’t know how long I will manage and I can’t help feeling that my suicide is inevitable but for the time being, Dominique, you have given me something to hold onto and I am so grateful. Thank you.
Hi, my friend often call me Jen, I’m an Indonesian girl so, pardon my English .
Well.. how do I start?
Mm.. I was recognized my self being attracted to a girl when i was on a 8th grade, prior to it when i was on my 7th grade there was a girl who always want to walk home together and says that she attracted to me but I never considered it and I have to moved town and school.
At my 8th grade or when i was 14, I started to feel this strange attraction to a girl on my class, I love to watched her studiying, playing and anything from a far.
I felt it so intentsly until i feel that I can’t hold it anymore. I was so confuse. I didn’t know what to do.
Surounded by a moslem family, neighbourhood and being in the Country with the largest Moslem population didn’t help my confusion at all, me being truthfull for who I am will only sent me into another deeper problem.
Until one day I did a wager, I decided to tell the truth to my bestfriend. Her name is Tina. I said to my self that day, If she will accept me for who I am, I promise I’ll always be there for her.
And.. I told her, after school, and I cried, feeling guilty like i was comitted to a sin.
But.. her reaction is priceless, she smile and say thank you for trusting her and promise she wont tell anybody else, and be there for me when I need her..
And I cried harder.. hahah! I dont believe such a wisdom could came out from a 14 years old friend.
And yes. She’s keep her promise until now, we’ve been friends for 20 years now since then! And still awesome!
We were went to highschool together and that was when I need her the most.
I have a crush to a girl on my class on my first week in highschool. Her name is Vani
Unfortunately, she’s a daughter of a strongbeliever, rich, respectful Moslem family. Hahah..
But.. somehow it doesn’t affected us. We were friend, I tried make a move as a friend.. share something in common, i try to find what’s her hobby, what she likes, tried to matched her schedule study. And… at the end of the year, we were finally close.
We were almost unseparable on our second year. We had fun, go somewhere together and so on, until one day some of student around us start to whisper about our closeness. Say that i was a bad Influence for vani, that it was wrong for two girl holding hands, or too close. Well i was always considered as a bad girl at school, while Vani is the sweet, beautiful, kind, a true moslem, and sincere.
I realised that there were “something” between us. We just don’t want to admit it.
My bestfriend Tina try to confirm about the school gossip to me and I said, yes.. I think Im in love with Vani and I guess it wont be one sided love. And Vani is my first love I guess. I was 17 that time.
My friend Tina asked me: “are you happy..?” I said “Absolutely”
And then she asked again
“Will she (Vani) happy if you confess to her?”. I said “I have no idea..”
She then just said, “you know I supported you all the way, but please don’t make descision when you’re on cloud nine. Think about her too, think about the problem she will face, about her confussion after you confess. What if she doesnt have friend who support her ?”
Tina is right, I cant think only about my self.
So.. we spent the rest of our high school with being “best friend”. Until one day we go on our separate way to the University. We cried at each other arms when we went apart.
2 years went by after that. We met again on our high school reunion. Even we still keep in touch through SMS. But we never saw each other.
I never realise how much i missed her when i saw her again.
Andddd.. something i least expected happened. Vani Kissed me, yesss kissed me on the mouth! I was so surprise and she said “I missed you” . Damn.. i cant even say it back. My brain was numb.
We spent the night catching up, talking about ourself the past year, talked about her Engineering study, my Accounting study and else until its time to go on separate way again. We lived in different city and its quite far. About 5 hours driving.
We never talked about it again, and we just continued our life like usual, we texting each other on daily basis but never met until our graduation.
We met again after she and I graduate, she was back to our hometown but I still live in another town but at least its only 1,5 hours driving.
I often came to see her, to her house met her parents, befriend her sister and she sometimes came visit me..
We were getting close, so close until i can savely said that we were together. But we cant said it to anyone else. Except I tell it to my bestfriend Tina and her reaction only “im glad..but when somethings goes wrong, u know I always right behind you..”.
Me and Vani get together for about a year and a half becauuseee… she has to be married.. . Her family expect her to be married. Her family engaged her with a very decent man, the date has set in stone and we broke up 5 minutes before her wedding.. and I was her maid of honor.. hahah!
Vani and I still a good friend until now, she lived with her husband and 3 kids now and its been 10 years since her wedding. And we were both 33 years old now.
We live in different city but sometimes we visited each other. Her kids adore me! Haha. But I know my boundaries.
Vani often said to me, “move on please find your happiness, its what i always wanted.”
We knew too well that our surrounding wont accept us, that’ s why we gave up
But I knew we hold up each other preciously at our heart.
And.. Tina keep her promise to be always there for me, she’s now have 2 adorable kids. I always gratefull to have her. She’s there for me on my lowest and vice versa. One friend who accept me for who i trully am is more than enough for me to keep my sanity.
Because I never came out to anyone except her.
Wish anyone is luckier than me!
I didn’t grow up with much role models or people who understood what it meant to be part of the LGBTQIA community. Coming from both a religious and hispanic background it’s not something that’s easily seen or accepted. I was 14 when I had my first boyfriend, I really liked him and I was sure that my journey would continue to go straight as planned or how my family expected, but, not every relationship is meant to last. When I turned 15 I was a sophomore in high-school and I had developed feelings for my then best friend. It took three attempts for her to finally want to go out with me, talk about a challenge! It’s high-school and we were young but, it was my first true experience with love or the concept of falling in love. I knew I was bisexual from the moment I realized that I was attracted to both men and women.
Fast Forward to my 2nd year in college 2016, I came out to my super religiously Catholic mom. It was hard probably one of the hardest experiences of my life because I knew she wouldn’t accept it. But I needed to accept it, it needed to feel real and I needed to live my truth. Presently, it’s been four years and my mom still struggles with who I am and who I choose to love. I know some people find it difficult yet, I love my family, it’s hard to change the mindset of people who were raised and exposed to things a certain way, I don’t blame her for not accepting me. But I am very hopeful she will come around, our relationship isn’t the greatest but then again my mother is 65 years old and I’m going to be 24 this year, we’re different souls from different times and that’s ok.
I’m truly at peace with who I am and I know patience is key, accepting myself is and was the first step to my ongoing journey. Going back to what I said earlier, I didn’t grow up with representation or role models, in fact I might be the first openly bisexual member of my family, and I have quite a big family, I’m the youngest of five. Wynonna Earp wasn’t just a show that let me feel represented as a member of the LGBTQIA, but, it’s also a show where there’s a badass female lead and badass female casts, and it represents freedom. The writing is freeing and provides relief the actresses and actors are so refreshing and I’m proud to say that this is the first time I feel apart of something even if physically I’m not, if that makes sense. I’m free. I just hope that someone managed to read all this and feels apart of something great, because you are great, you are loved, and you are beautiful. Live freely, life’s to short not to.
I truly believe that stories are the way we connect and reflect the bravery, challenges, love, and fear that is this human experience.
I knew I was attracted to girls at the age of seven/eight. Because I had feeling for my friend – I couldn’t name the feeling and it didn’t feel wrong in any way. My friend would sit on my lap and I’d feel so much love for her. As time went on, I released this was not ‘normal’ and no other girls were talking about girls but only boys, so I ignored my feeling for girls for years and years.
I lived in a small town in South Africa and I literally felt like the only gay in the village. If there was any mention of LGBTQI people, it was always in disgust and a negative light. So I was terrified about my feelings. I felt so alone, scared and confused. And then at university (in this small town), I started falling in love with my best friend and it was unbearable. I slipped into a deep depression and started taking antidepressants.
And then something magical happened, I found Youtube but more specifically a LGBTQ channel on Youtube called ‘The Beaver Bunch’ and for the first time I saw real life bisexual, queer, lesbian, trans people living their lives open and proud. I think I watched every single video and keep finding more and more channels. And just like that I didn’t feel so alone and decided to come out. First I came out to the Youtube community in a video and they welcomed me with open arms, love and support. I felt so overwhelming by the support that it gave me the courage to come out to my family.
Coming out to my immediate family didn’t go as well as I had hoped, my dad and sister could care less I was gay but my mum took it hard. She was and is my rock and when I felt her pull away, it broke my heart. I can say now a decade later, she is my biggest ally and supporter.
Besides my mum, all others I came out to were supportive. I feel very blessed and haven’t experience any negative ramifications regarding my sexuality.
I’ve been out for a decades this year and in the same year I came out I met my future wife. I’ve never known a love like I love her. She’s been my best friend, soul mate, and lover for 10 years. But this year just as covid went into full swing, she at the age of 36 was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. To say it’s been a tough time is an understatement, it’s been a living nightmare. All I can do is watch the woman I love and adore fight every day to be here. We exist on the edge of hope and despair every day, and live every day for the small moments of joy that we can find.
So to end, I just want to let everyone know that at the end of the day all we have is love. And love has nothing to do with our physicality, race, gender, or sexuality – but our souls. I hope one day this world will wake up to this and embrace love as the compass the guides us. Light and love to all.
CONTENT WARNING: THIS COMING OUT STORY CONTAINS DESCRIPTION AND/OR DISCUSSION OF SUICIDE.
I’m 26 years old and came out to a few select close friends when I was 17 (as Bi), then Pan, then Lesbian finally on 10Sept2015. I joined the Air Force (as a medic) at 18, and that was lift off for my Queerness and coming to terms with my authenticity and self love. When I was 8 my brother committed suicide (he was 16). It has been a struggle to come to terms with his loss over the years. I struggled with my own mental health over time, because of that trauma. Having gone through such a big loss/traumatic event at a young age has given an unfortunate advantage over the years. I’ve learned how to get through the stages of grief over the years in different and many ways. With positive and negative coping mechanisms. In doing so I have been very fortunate to notice the signs and vibes of depression and suicidal ideations within people, and I tell them my story. I’ve noticed that when I tell my story people tend to confide their own stories to me. In turn I have helped many people. Nothing feels better than a person telling me that I changed/saved their life by just listening and being there. Don’t get me wrong it has occasionally taken a small toll on my own psychie, but it also has grown it. Helping others has given me a level of self understanding and love for myself and for other humans. My mental armor has grown exponentially. I can only hope that strangers read this and take these words of wisdom from me… I promise it gets better. It will sometimes get worse before it gets better. There is always a way out. Be the person that your younger self needed. Surround yourself with people that listen and understand. Love is everywhere. Suicide is NOT the answer. It is never too late to get help. YOU ARE LOVED. I LOVE YOU! I am here if you EVER need a stranger to just talk to.
Love for a woman is the most beautiful thing that happened in my life.
I’ve always been a weird kid who wasn’t interested in relationships. I didn’t like boys and I didn’t like girls. I was fascinated by my inner world and the mysteries that fill my life. But I confess: “All my life I have been looking for a friend with whom I would like to share my discoveries.”
At the age of 16, I went to another school and met a girl. It seemed to us that we were once very close, which amazed us. One accident helped me become aware of my feelings. Unfortunately, they were not reciprocal. I was able to suppress these feelings in order to move on.
From the very beginning it seemed so natural to me. The only reason I tested myself for a long time, trying to be normal, is our legislation. Most likely, I will never have a full-fledged family … But it is easier to accept this than to pretend all my life.
None of my relatives know about this. I don’t want to lose my only family. And I don’t want to hurt them. But with close friends, I am absolutely frank. This gives freedom to me and to them. Very soon I fell unrequitedly in love again, but chose a new path.
Once a persone I loved said: “Unconditional love is possible only for God.” And I smiled …
I think that to love a person whom you don’t hear, don’t see, don’t know whether he is smiling now or sadness fills his heart … and even more so you don’t have the opportunity to be near, to bare yourself in front of him … This is the same as to love God.
After all, all you know is that he Is. And at some point it becomes enough for you.
My soul has always resisted the understanding of Love as an internal state. After all, I was sure that love is, first of all, a manifestation … without which any important words lose all value. And these feelings (be it inspiration or immense emptiness) without action are most likely nothing more than a need for acceptance and recognition. Since you feel so important because of the other. And this is actually enough for many people.
But when you Love, one state seems so little. There is a growing feeling of overcrowding. It’s like a cup inside you, which will soon overflow … Or a growing tree, directed upward, which is blocked by a stone roof, not allowing it to become even larger and more powerful.
Subsequently, a moment comes when you lose the meaning of life… It’s scary, hard, and aimless.
Every day the same question: “Why? What is the meaning of everything that happens to you, what is born in you, changes you, inspires you, but also throws you against a concrete wall? ” Even if you do not even have the right to say “I love you” … In any case, in the sense that is genuine.
But you don’t want to get rid of it…
It’s so easy to erase someone from your heart, stifle it in yourself and move on, continuing your search. But only weak people do this. This is the path of those who expect love from others but don’t love others. You know … When you do not want to give up on anyone, consciously dooming yourself to loneliness, the appearance of that very only person gradually dissolves. His figure slowly disappears, but the feeling remains with you.
Now I look into the eyes and find God in them, I see a blurry silhouette, behind which the whole world is.
I was finally able to feel that everything in the world exists as a whole. One soul that knew nothing but chaos until it incarnated in the material world. That is why when you meet a person who seems similar, understandable and so familiar to you, you get the feeling that you have returned home.
It always seemed to me that to be spiritual means to be in such a state of consciousness in which you identify yourself with everything living and nonliving that exists in this world or another.
Now I also identify the people I love with the Universe. They are an integral part of it, just like me. This means that we are all small parts of each other.
This gives so many opportunities for my Love that I have not found before. And if I want to show my feelings, I can do it at any moment, under any circumstances, and wherever I am. Then the world, albeit imperceptibly, will change.
In this moment, I realize that I love life like I never did before. And I so want to know her. Since life itself is Love. Now I listen to music differently, I read books differently, my fingers touch the strings of the guitar in a new way, my arms hug my relatives differently, and my eyes look at the stars in a different way.
These feelings are so pleasant. Something warm and bright shines inside me.
The body seems light, and complex things seem surprisingly simple.
It’s incredible how beautiful everything around me is, and it deserves the greatest love.
So one person becomes the whole world.
I will go my own way and sow seeds, in the expectation that the most beautiful buds will bloom in those places someday. And you will feel their wonderful scent, or you will even be able to enjoy the dazzling colors and amazing shapes.
And I still believe that I will be lucky enough to meet someone who is as in love with life as I am to love it together.
After all, when I am gone, the world will continue to exist. And I want that in this world there would be more Life!
CONTENT WARNING: THIS COMING OUT STORY CONTAINS DESCRIPTION AND/OR DISCUSSION OF ABUSE, SELF HARMING BEHAVIOR, AND SUICIDE.
Hello, my name is Paula from Brazil and my coming out history is a little confusing, so I’m gonna try to resume it as possible as I can.
Why is it complicated? Because a huge part of my childhood was erased from my mind, or at least for a long period I had these huge blanks in my brain, consequences of child abuse suffered from my 8 until my 12 years old. So when my teens came up I was struggling with a lot of stuff, so my orientation and sexual identity was on the surface of all my internal problems. Such as depression, substance abuse, ODs, attempts of suicide, and hospitalizations.
But at the same time, I was quite different and I was pretty conscious that I had attractions with girls but also with boys. Although with boys I was feeling guilty as well. Because I was constantly feeling all this overwhelming hate. Hate of the world, hate of myself, and hate of all men… almost rage if I’m being really honest. Probably, that’s why I was constantly close to dying because I wasn’t giving a fuck about anything.
My brother and best friend (RIP) was the first person I’d come out. I was 14 years old. But is funny though, because was him that asked me with I was gay. And was ok with all my family, as a matter of fact, everybody embraced. Honestly, I didn’t have a problem with the girl’s attraction part, I’d always felt comfortable and safe with them. My struggle was accepting that it was okay having attractions for boys as well. That only took 10 years of my life, even though I was able to have sex experiences with men I’m still having trust issues, emotionally speaking.
Only four years ago I could see other questions tagged in my mind. Questions about my identity, am I trans or not? Because I never felt comfortable with my body, but is it possible that is my child abuse tricking me? Or maybe I just don’t like labels and have a different idea about what women and men are. Or maybe I just don’t feel like either one of them. This is still a work in progress and sometimes I don’t think if I still have the energy. Or maybe is just fear because I live in a country where LGBTQ people have no voice or even proper rights. Especially trans people. Every day a trans life is taken from just for being trans in Brazil.
Music, art, vegan diet, animal care, and LGBTQ activism. Those are all the stuff that literally saved my life. Because I feel like we are here to constantly changing and to always transcend to a better version of ourselves, and maybe or probably, I’m gonna need another life to discover it. So kills me how the world can be so ugly sometimes.
And that’s why I really don’t know how I’m alive. I’m 30 years now and I look all this stuff I had to survive and deal with. But surprises me every day how hopefully I still am, and surprises me how I can be so fucking positive that annoys myself.
I know that I need to deal with a lot of stuff yet.
But I’m proud to already be so much more.
And especially I’m proud to look backward and access all that pain and suffering but with all the fucking strength of the world.
I’m proud to just be alive, honestly.
This story starts from the very beginning, so prepare yourself for a roller coaster.
Growing up as an only child, I was pretty dependent on my friends to get me through the day. If there was ever a rift in my group, it left me with a horrible feeling inside, as if I could show up the next day and be shunned from our usual bench at lunch. (My fear of abandonment is still real today, but in grade school, you were a loser if you didn’t bring the type of Lunchables that people wanted to trade you for or share with you. Social suicide at such a tender age. Kids are cruel.) So to keep my “social status”, I practically begged my parents to get me the lunches that the cool 10-year-olds ate, with fruit-by-the-foot and Mondo. After surviving the playground, my afternoons consisted of playing sports. Once I could start trying out for the teams in 5th grade, that’s all I wanted to do. I’d save the candies from my Lunchables and bring them to practice to share…with the popular (attractive – because society shamefully says that attractive=popular) girls. I’d pay attention whether they took the chocolate or the candy, which flavor Warhead was their favorite, etc. all in an attempt to talk to them as much as I could. Back then, I saw this as me just wanting them to like me because they were popular and everyone wanted to hang out with them. I knew nothing at this point other than I got severely jealous of their close friends, boyfriends, etc. Again, an awful feeling. It wasn’t until I got to high school that I started to put the pieces together.
In high school, I continued to devote most of my time to schoolwork and basketball, and my teammates were again my best friends – one of them becoming my first girlfriend my sophomore year. Trust me, the irony is not beyond me. This relationship was my first real relationship, so many “firsts” came along with it: first physical/emotional/sexual experiences with a girl, first love, first breakup-and-makeup, first long-term relationship. We were together for roughly 4 ½ years, on and off, and it was such a whirlwind of a relationship. I was 15 years old, completely immersed, everything heightened and everything intense. The feelings, the arguments, the learning, the growing. It truly was a relationship fueled by the unknown mixed with teenage angst, which needless to say caused tension between me and my family because we were both “in the closet” at the time and I couldn’t tell them all the things I was going through. We went through several breaks and rekindlings, that when we approached the end of the relationship within the first maybe 1 ½ years of college, it grew to be unhealthy for the both of us. This is not to say that the good times we had weren’t really good, because they were, but all-in-all, I had outgrown it and was turning into someone I wasn’t quite fond of.
I met my second girlfriend in my second year of college, during my “divorce” period with my first girlfriend. I call this a “divorce” because I feel like it took a few months to “finalize” the breakup and detach myself completely. This proved more difficult than I anticipated because potential-Girlfriend-#2 was a roommate of one of Girlfriend #1’s friends, so we were still running in the same circles. Once I was officially out of relationship #1 and in relationship #2, we moved in together and this took my experiences to a whole new level – cohabitation can either make you or break you and it definitely made us. We didn’t have too many hiccups, until I hit a huge speedbump: my dad confronted me about my sexuality. I was 19 years old. Again, we were both still “in the closet” and it was terrifying.
Coming Out – Part 1
My dad asked me to go to the grocery store with him one Saturday afternoon. This would have been a normal occurrence IF 1) he didn’t tell me to get in the car the moment my mom started running her shower, AND 2) if he didn’t take the absolute longest, roundabout way to get to the grocery store. Once he parked the car, he jumped right into it. He asked who insert screenname here was (he already knew), how long we’ve been together, and if my mom knew. His spitfire questions got my spitfire answers: “Girlfriend #2”, 1 ½ years at this point, no she doesn’t know.” My face never seemed to get the memo from my brain to remain calm, so my panic shined right through. My dad’s response: he immediately put his hand on my knee, told me to look at him, and said “Hey, it’s okay. There’s no need to panic. I just suggest you don’t tell your mom yet because we both know that she won’t be as cool about this as I am. Now let’s get some shopping done.”
With my hands still shaking, we went into the store and went on business as usual. My dad, being the extremely blunt unfiltered person he is, proceeded to randomly ask me inappropriate questions about my relationship, drill in the point of me needing to delete my profile from the home computer so all evidence was gone, and said that if I didn’t do it the moment we got home, he would ask me more inappropriate questions and force me to answer them. “Blackmailed” by my own father.
I didn’t think it would ever go this way. I didn’t have a plan, I hadn’t thought about coming out yet, I was just being the kid-away-at-college and figuring things out as they came along. I mean, to me, this relationship with Girlfriend #2 was kind of still “new” compared to my first relationship. I have to admit though, even without having a formal sit-down with him, a coming out announcement, or anything out of my own choice really, the weight that lifted off my chest was so much greater than I anticipated it to ever be. I finally had a parent I didn’t feel I had to hide all my gritty life details from.
Girlfriend #2 and I moved back to our respective homes after being away at college, and things started going awry less than a year later. No longer being able to rely on “cohabitation making us”, we started growing apart. The want to visit each other, Skype, and even text throughout the day like we used to dwindled. We were together for roughly 4 ½ years (similar to my first relationship), but the relationship was becoming one-sided and it wasn’t fair anymore. I hate to say that fighting for it wasn’t worth it anymore, but it’s the truth. We were at different points in our lives, wanting different things for our future, but although I won’t go into the details (because that’s not the point here), all-in-all, it ended amicably.
I took a break from all the seriousness for a few months, focused on my hometown friendships, went on a few (failed) dates, but really just honed in on regaining my individuality. I was 24 years old, juggling my first job as an undergraduate and being a new furmom. Things were really coming back together, in their devil-may-care fashion, and I managed.
And then there was Shedonism – Las Vegas Pride, where I first met Girlfriend #3, my current and god willing my last. Long story kind-of-short, we met through mutual friends from LA and Sacramento, we said maybe a handful of words to each other in Vegas, went home after the event, I texted her 2 weeks later on her birthday, and it was all downhill from there. We talked daily at all hours, officially got together 6 months later, and have been together ever since. We did the long-distance thing for about 1 ½ years and here we are now, living together in LA with 2 dogs, just 4 months shy of our 5 year anniversary celebration, and I’ve never been happier. I could gush about this girl, but I’ll save you guys from that, but I just want to say that it works. It all just works. The present, the future, everything. But no matter how great and grown and comfortable I’ve been in the relationship, I still had a huge chip on my shoulder: I still had to come out to my mom. I am 29 years old, and disappointing my parents is still (and will always be) such a huge deal. But I did it, and I wasn’t alone, and it changed my life.
Coming Out – Part 2
Friday, October 28, 2016 – The day I took the most nerve-wracking risk of my life (and the longest and most crucial).
So this plan had been brewing for almost a year. I originally wanted to come out to my mom around last New Year’s, but it just wasn’t the right time. I thought so long and hard about the various ways to do it because this was probably the most important thing I was ever going to do. I was finally going to be able to plan for this and do this after so many years. I could tell her in one of our daily phone calls or texts, pony up and tell her in person in a very public place to avoid the meltdown, have my dad tell her since he’s known for 9 years, or write her a letter. I opted for the letter. I felt that if I wrote it all down in a letter, no matter how long it was, it would result in some of the weight lifting off of me AND allow me to lay absolutely everything on the table for my mom to absorb. My dad, naturally, wasn’t a fan of the idea, saying “that’s like breaking up with someone via text. I think you should do it in person,” even though I explained to him that I really didn’t think I had it in me to have an impromptu sit-down. I wrote the letter anyway and left it for her to see the next morning at my grandma’s gravesite (for other personal reasons).
Anyway, I was due to visit my parents, and since they get home around the same time, you can imagine how my plan quickly devolved into not my plan at all.
My mom and I moved about the house, my dad comes in, and says “Mom, sit down, your daughter wants to talk to you.” Cue heart attack. I’ve never glared so hard at someone EVER while I said “No dad, I don’t. I REALLY don’t.” At this point, my mom is now starting to panic. My dad then looks at me, says “You’re going to hate me for this, but…”, turns to my mom and says “Your daughter’s ‘roommate’ dates women, and so does she.” Cue heart attack #2 and blackout. What’s a girl to do now that her plan had been hijacked a day earlier than expected? I held onto my consciousness as best as I could and went to sit opposite my mother. Yikes.
The first words out of her mouth were the most heart-wrenching. A phrase a child never wants to hear out of a parent’s mouth:
“I’m disappointed in you.”
I nodded my head and gave her the floor. The next phrases played like a broken record before I’d even said a word.
“Never in a million years did I think my own daughter was going to tell me this.”
And then the parental denial:
“I prayed every night that this day would never come.”
(I complimented her motherly instinct in the letter – I knew she had it in her.)
By this time, my dad is unexpectedly sitting next to me, and as much as I hated him for blowing up my plan, I am so grateful for him right now. I began by telling my mom “I’d been in 3 long-term relationships in the last 14 years, my current relationship consisting of the last 4 ½ years (funny how this number keeps coming up). I’m so tired of hiding myself and my relationships from you and this family. I’m exhausted. My dreams for my future haven’t changed: I still want that house with a white picket fence, be pregnant, have kids, and get married, which now I can, it just won’t be to a man. I’m so happy with how my life turned out, and I’m so lucky because I’ve never been bullied or put down and my friendships are so much stronger now. I’m one of the lucky ones! But it sucked having to go through every relationship and breakup I’ve had and been too scared to tell my own mother about them so that she could help me through everything.”
“The future I wanted for you was for you to find a man who would treat you as the great girl you are, get married, and have a family together. That’s what a family is.”
My dad chimes in immediately, saying “She has found someone who treats her well and makes her happy. I’ve known for several years now, and in the grand scheme of things, this is no big deal. She’s still going to get married and have kids. Your job now as her mother is to love her, not judge her, accept it and move on. She is the same loving daughter you’ve always had. Nothing has changed that.”
Now I’m crying, and I’m not sure if it’s from my mom’s comments or from the shock of witnessing for the first time my dad’s verbal unwavering support. Fast-forward through the next 20 minutes of repeated comments, my mom then has to leave to pick up a family member from work. I turned to my dad after she’s left, and said “Well, I suppose that went as expected…when I get married some time down the road, I’d appreciate it if both of you would walk me down the aisle. I’ll take one, but both would be preferable.” He grabbed my shoulders and looked me dead in the eye, “Look, I’d prefer you to date men, but I know that’s not going to happen. You are the way you are, and if you’re happy, then I’m happy. That’s all there is to it. If your mom is going to be upset at you or your girlfriend or anyone for that matter, that’s her problem. I don’t give a shit about anything else. We’re all just people.”
Coming to the end of this story now, my mom and I went through 4 days of radio silence, which equaled an eternity since she has text me or called me several times a day since I went away to college. Per my request, she did still read the letter I wrote for her, and we spoke about it while my dad was out of town. I took this chance to stand my ground more firmly, profess that I’m no longer a child, this is not a phase, and this is truly and fully who I am. It has been 3 weeks since “D-Day” and life is…well life I suppose. I’m still a little freaked out that we might just be on the brink of a mental breakdown, but I will take what I can get, and my mom still loves me and hugs me hello and goodbye whenever I see her.
The relief alone feels like nothing I’ve ever imagined. It could have gone a lot worse, and I’m slightly shocked that I am one of the lucky ones. It breaks my heart that so many people out there will not have their story play out as successfully as I did. No matter how old you are, no matter what path of life you are on, the most important things I can say to you are: Trust those close to your heart and embrace them and thank them always for being there for you. Trust yourself especially, because that is who you will always have. Be so unapologetically yourself, and demand respect in the purest way you know how. Please please please stay safe, stay mindful, and only do things you are comfortable doing. You know YOU best, so you’ll know when the time is right.
This is my story, and now I can honestly say it gets better.
Fast-forward 4 years: I am 33 years old, living in Sacramento with 2 furkids, and Girlfriend #3 became my fiancé! Even though we are in the middle of a godforsaken pandemic, I have to say my home life is pretty great and it still gets better and better.
I knew I was different, in elementary school, but I didn’t know why. As I got older, I started learning about things that were never spoken about in the Mexican culture. I learned about sex through classmates when I was in elementary school. When I came home, I told my mom some of my peers told me about sex. My Mom immediately got upset, she told me they shouldn’t have revealed to me what that was, and told me to never speak to my school mates again.
As I grew older and entered middle school, I was looking for music on a computer. I found a folder that had a name thinking it was a music file and well it wasn’t a music file. As you can imagine, that was a bit of a shock. I shamefully closed the window as quickly as I could. However, curiosity got the best of me and I opened it again, several times. Finally, embarrassed and fearing being found out, I closed everything on the computer. These feelings that I stumbled upon, continued to grow throughout my formative middle school years. I began to realize how much more I noticed girls and not boys.
When I started high school, I knew that I liked women but I dated boys, because I was scared to come out to my parents. I did what I thought I should have done. I lost my virginity to a guy sometime in high school, although I didn’t feel any emotional connection. I did eventually find a great group of friends and we would remain close throughout the rest of high school. I had crushes on two of the girls in my friend group and I was still afraid to come out. The one crush was particularly devastating, as she was taken by my other male best friend. He wasn’t upset but it was still scary to come out because I wasn’t sure what the reception would be. I didn’t want to lose my friends. Not only that I was still questioning myself. I eventually lost touch with my high school friends unfortunately.
I did eventually come out to my parents near the end of high school. I told them after coming back home from a church retreat. I came out and told them I was bi ( I still wasn’t sure of myself at the time) my mom proceeded to call her church friends so they could pray the gay away from me. I complied with my mom’s wishes. I kneeled down and pretended to repent while crossing my fingers behind my back. My mother at one point screamed at god asking why she had been punished by having a gay child. After this we didn’t talk for a while.
Around the same time, I came out to my brother on the same day that he was going to give me a guitar as a christmas gift. I cried and I told him about my situation with Mom and Dad as well as my fear of losing people. He embraced me with the warmest hug and told me that I shouldn’t care what others think or worry about the religious factor. He told me he loves me no matter what. I was relieved and happy.
I was much more nervous to tell my sister, oddly enough she already knew. And we also never spoke about it again.
With Phoenix job corps came many new experiences and new crushes. I felt like I could finally be myself. I came to grips with the realization I am a lesbian and not bisexual. And today I finally find the courage to come out to you all as a Mexican American lesbian and I am authentically proud to be me.
CONTENT WARNING: THIS COMING OUT STORY CONTAINS DESCRIPTION AND/OR DISCUSSION OF SELF HARMING BEHAVIOR AND SUICIDE.
My name is Ana and I am 32 years old.
My coming out story started when I was 12, I was a kid. In a world that at that time did not understand and we’re very close minded. I am the oldest of 9 and also a Mexican, my family.. Well they are your topical Mexican family. Strict and very in tuned with their old ways and values. At 12 I figured something was “wrong” with me. “Wrong”.. It’s crazy how much we are made to believe that there is something ” wrong” with us. Anyways, I had a girl best friend in school that I started having weird feelings for. I didn’t understand and didn’t know who to even talk to. I mean, what do I even say?. What if they look at me weird or something? These were scary times. I had an adult figure in my life that I trusted so much. When I couldn’t understand, I went to this person and told them what was going on. What I was feeling. This person convinced me to talk to my parents. So, I did. And man oh man did I regret it. My first thought was to “come out” to my mom. I mean, who actually goes to their dad first, right? Haha. After, I believe 20 minutes of beating around the bush, I told her I thought I was bisexual. That I was having feelings I couldn’t understand. My mom replied with, “it’s a phase, it will pass”. She made feel like, like my feelings weren’t valid. That things I felt weren’t relevant because things were just a phase. I agreed with her and completely hid who I was until I was 14.
At this point, feelings were strong. Things just couldn’t be hid anymore. I had a talk with my, then best friend, and it took me one week to come out. I was so scared to get told it was a phase, to get my feelings shut down. Or to simply be looked like I was weird . But the most amazing, beautiful and incredible thing happened. She hugged me and said, ” no matter who you are, I love you. You are Ana to me. Today, tomorrow, next month. No matter what you will be Ana”. And that my friends, that is when I realized that life was more than what I thought. That all people thought different. And that I, I was going to be okay, no matter what happened. I felt so free, I felt like the world had been lifted from my shoulders. I could finally stand tall and breathe. Those simple words that to her might have not meant anything, was the fuel I needed, the strength to be me. I then proceeded to come out to a few other friends and unfortunately, the word spread to my parents. My very old fashion parents. One day I came home and they were on the table sitting down, they wouldn’t look at me, they looked upset. You know, that look you see when your parents are super mad at you and you feel the colour disappear from your face. I knew, I don’t know how but I knew. I sat down. And through a lecture about Adam, Eve, the Bible, and our values. I was forced to come out, again. After that, I went years of ” praying the gay away”. I went to church everyday, I was made to pray everyday. I read the Bible till I knew the pages down to the last wrinkle. I am Catholic, rosaries is what we do. I learned how to pray it in different ways, for different reasons. But through it all, my best friends words replayed over and over in my head. And I when I felt like I didn’t have no more fight in me I would ask myself. “Who is Ana?” . And my answer to myself was always the same “I am Ana, and I am free”. But unfortunately, at 16 I gave in to my deepest darkest demons and tried to commit suicide. I bought some pills from a person in school that sold drugs. I went to the bathroom. And I took, every single one. Next thing I know I was in the hospital, getting my stomach pumped with nurses and doctors yelling but everything was so faint. After it all, my dad said I left him no choice and he locked me up in a mental institution for months. With no visitors but him, no communication with the outside world. Just me and my thoughts. And just when I was losing my mind, a staff member said to me. “You know there is nothing wrong with you right?, I understand you. I have been you and all I can say is, it gets better.” Then the words from my best friend those years ago just slapped me like my mother when I stepped out of line and then I remembered. “I am Ana, and I am free!”. In my time there I found myself. I had time to think, to figure myself out. I then knew I wasn’t bisexual. I was a lesbian. It was so good to say it out loud to myself and anyone who would listen. Many many things happened after that. Many fights, I got kicked out of my parents home but I said, enough. No one will tell me who I can and can’t be. And I fought for myself, even when everyone gave me their backs. I got married with a woman and boy was that a trip. Then I got divorced over domestic violence and luckily my parents allowed me to be back home till I got back on my feet. Anyways I’m getting side tracked here sorry, haha. My point is, I know coming out is not always a pleasant story as some others. It’s full of emotions, confusion, theories of how it will be. So many things happen with different outcomes, some we see coming some we don’t. I don’t hold a grudge against my parents. I don’t hate them, hate is a strong word. I understand that there will always be people like them. People that will ask why? That will say ” you’re confused” or “it’s a phase”. But people like that is why I fight to be me. If someone asks me why I don’t date guys I ask them, well why don’t you date the same gender as you. Their answer is usually the same, silence. I fight To prove to them that this is not a phase. This is me. This is Ana, and I am Free..
CONTENT WARNING: THIS COMING OUT STORY CONTAINS DESCRIPTION AND/OR DISCUSSION OF SEXUAL ABUSE AND RAPE.
Before I share my ripples and waves that have crashed on and around my coming out, I want to thank those who wrote before me. I am older than many of you, but your journeys inspire me to share a few from my own journey. I had set aside things I struggled with on shelves hoping one day to take them out and shine a light of a different day on them.
First Ripple…Start of my Wave…
My father and I had sat down on the couch to watch TV. The news had been on and there were images from the war raging in a foreign land. I asked him why we were fighting in Vietnam. His expression changed to one of sadness and he looked off into the distance. After a moment he said, “There are some bad people doing bad things to good people over there. We are there to stop the bad people.” He got up and change the channel came back and sat down. He smiled at me and he was my Dad again. A commercial came on the TV for a movie called 1 Million BC staring Raquel Welch. In this ad, she stepped up in a fur bikini and I was stunned, Wow. She was so beautiful! Something clicked in my five-year-old brain and I turned my head to look at my father. He had the same expression as me. Oh, I thought. I’m just like my dad. That was followed up by but ‘I don’t think girls are supposed to be like their dads.’ No, but I was like my dad. I reviewed the evidence. I loved watching Sally Fields in the Flying Nun, Bat Girl, Cat Woman and other women on TV. Okay… I’m like my father and I shelved it to investigate another time.
Dark Tsunami… Cut adrift in a Sea of Darkness
My parents split when I was seven and my mother and I relocated to northern California. Something should be said about this since it had a huge impact on my life. Between my two parents, I saw nine marriages twice to each other. I am my mother’s oldest child and my father’s baby girl; he had three girls in a row then three boys in a row. My mother’s youngest, my baby sister, rounded out the ensemble. (It’s okay; I have trouble with it, too) My childhood to this point was filed with family. When we left, I was in a foreign land… new place, new school and no family. My mother was pregnant with my youngest sister and would be strong at not tell her. I was molested by my stepfather and raped at different times by two men from the age of seven to twelve. I nearly suffocated during two of those incidents; I blacked out. This left me with sporadic claustrophobia. Those were parts of my normal childhood… yes normal. This little tomboy ran around with her friends, played soccer, football and baseball but also had few things on her shelves that she kept tucked away. She was strong, smart, empathetic and could keep a secret. Her friends and family adored her, but her secrets stayed on the shelves; she didn’t trust anyone.
Ripple… Oh, That’s What it’s Called
My early teen years had me staring straight in the face of being attracted to girls and a boy. A family friend who is a year younger than me told me she had a crush on me and kissed me. It felt like something that had been dead inside me was finally awake and I kissed her back. She and her family moved away the next week (better job not because of us). I thought about the items sitting on my hidden shelves. I took the memory of the five-year-old off the shelf. There was a TV show called “Family” that had an episode about the son’s best friend being gay. And as I watched it, I thought, oh, that’s what it’s called. I was Gay. I had a name for it, but it was still too afraid to talk about it. What if I should have been born a boy? Did God make a mistake? What about the boy I like? Those go on the shelves; the five-year-old is good.
Rainbow Wave Crashes Lovingly on My Shore…
In my sophomore year at high school during volleyball tryouts, I met the most stuck up, annoying but pretty girl ever. She had a click of friends and was trying out for the cheerleader squad. She thought I was a stuck up, elite athlete who was really funny at times, but she hadn’t forgiven me for hitting a home run off of her when we were freshmen. One day at volleyball practice, she surprised me. She asked me if I wanted to go with her to a party at one of her friend’s house. Curious, I accepted and from that point on we were inseparable. We did homework, read books, listened to music and somewhere in there, I realized I had fallen in love with her. There was no way I was going to do anything about it. She was Catholic and straight. So, we had sleepovers at each other’s houses and always slept next to each other. It made me crazy. We were staying over at my house in sleeping bags under the pool table. everyone else in the house was asleep and we were talking quietly. We were both on our tummies and elbows. We turned our heads towards each other as we were talking; our eyes locked, and we leaned in and kissed. Wow, what a kiss! She abruptly pulled away mumbling, “I can’t, I can’t do this, I can’t…” and got up and went into the bathroom. Shit, I thought, my life is f—-ing over. She’s going to tell people at school… crap… that line of thinking went on for what felt like six years but was actually about a minute. She came back in, crawled into the sleeping bag and while she was saying, “I don’t know, I don’t know…” she kissed me. And for me, game over. I was home. This was who I was. I was head over heels in love with and she with me. Wait. No one can know. My parents would be okay about but her parents, her mother would not. Fine. The love of my life goes on the shelf.
Ripple… You could’ve told me
We were together all through high school and off and on during college. She was an avid note, letter and poem writer; I had notes and letters squirreled away in my backpack till I could safely deposit them in a box down in our basement. My best friend from sixth grade and I were walking home from work one night. We were seniors and it was towards the end of the school year. She punched me hard in the arm and handed me a note with my name on it. I am pretty sure I turned pale. She had snagged it out of someone’s hand before they could read it; they had pulled it from my catcher’s mitt. Bam, another smack on the arm, “You could’ve told me.”
“Ow!” Sheepishly, I asked, “did you read it?”
“No. Didn’t have to. I have eyes and know you… I’ve always known… you’re my best friend and I love ya.” I felt lucky for her friendship but scared for being careless. My girlfriend and I were both certain that her parents found out about the two of us that would be the end of it. On top of that, they had put money away for her college and she was born to be a nurse. I didn’t want her to lose that because of me. No matter how much I loved her. Squirrel it away on the shelves.
Ripple… My heart was breaking, and I couldn’t tell her…
Being in love was beautiful and magical. Discovering sex with her was amazing except for those moments when unwanted memories would slide off the shelf and into our lovemaking. I would wake with a start or worse, shove her off of me not knowing where I was. I fought it to the point I could no longer feel her. My heart was breaking, and I couldn’t tell her. Get that shit back on the shelves!
Ripple… Wait, you outed me? Dude. Not cool.
My softball team was celebrating after a big win. I was enjoying an adult for fuzzy beverage with our shortstop out in the backyard. The discussion inside the house was a heated discussion about Sports, lesbians and who was gay on the team. Apparently, my name was added to the list. The shortstop and I came back in and heard our coach say, “She can’t be gay, she’s too pretty.”
Hell, one of our pitchers was drop-dead, model gorgeous and gay. I commented then asked, “That’s ridiculous. Whose too pretty to be gay?”
The room went silent and everyone was staring. The assistant coach said, “Uh, that would be you.”
“What—I’m pretty?” That can’t be right. I’m a tomboy, I’m like my dad. I have a Scarlet L on my forehead. How could I possibly be pretty? “Wait, you outed me? Dude. Not cool.” Great. Is there room to put that one on the shelves? Of course…
Rainbow Wave Ripples to My Shore…. WTF! Outed by my grandmother.
While in college and living with my brothers and dad, I thought it was time to share with my brothers and come out to them. I sat them down and shared that I dated women and I was gay. They stopped me and said, “Oh, we already know; Mimi (code for our dad’s mother) had already told us. She said you were different from most other girls because you liked girls. This was okay because we love you and you are our family and there is nothing wrong with it.”
What?! How did she know? Wow, though, I was moved by the words. Very progressive for someone from her era and the south. I asked her once and she just smiled at me. She said I wasn’t the only gay person in the family and left it at that. Something needs to come off the bloody shelves, but I don’t know what.
Ripple… Finally, I come out to my mother…
Summer break after my first senior year in college, my girlfriend and I were visiting my mother and her new family. We were going to watch a movie together. A few days later I was back over visiting. My mother asked me, “So, are you ever going to tell me?”
“Tell you what?” Me the clueless one asked.
“You and Mary?”
Oh. “I thought you knew.”
“I have suspected but the other night you took a hold of Mary’s hand and watched the movie holding it.”
Slightly embarrassed, I said, “Oh. I didn’t realize.” paused, “Mom, I’m Gay.”
“Thanks Honey. It’s nice to hear you say it.”
Ripple… Doodling Nancy Wilson of Heart
A year or so after college my girlfriend and I went to visit my parents. They had moved back in together and were engaged to get married; remarried. My mother and I were talking in the kitchen and the conversation went like this:
My mother said shaking her head, “Your dad wants to know when you’re going to get married. I told him the closest thing he’s going to get to a son-in-law from you is Mary.”
She answered imitating him, “Aw, not my little girl. She spends a lot of time with Tony…”
Mom as herself, “Honey, they are just friends. Do you know your mother told the boys?”
“Our daughter is a lesbian… just like your favorite cousin.”
“She told you?”
“Yes… Honey, she’s happy. Go talk to her.”
“Hey Dad.” I was doodling Nancy Wilson of Heart in a sketch book.
“Hey, Baby girl, uh, I was wondering if we could talk.”
I closed the sketchbook and waited. Only God knew what this would be about. “Sure.”
“Um, I don’t know how to… what I mean is…”
“Dad, is this about me being Gay?”
“Okay, I am.”
He sat quietly. I could see something was troubling him.
He swallowed then asked, “Is it because… because you were… hurt when you were small?”
A bunch of things started slide off the shelves, but I put them back; the five-year-old was sitting next to me. “No, Dad. I’ve known since I was five. That all happened later.”
“How could you know at five?”
“I knew I liked girls like my Dad and that was different than other girls.”
There are so many other things to share but I will stop here and say coming out, dealing with gender identity versus what’s expected culturally, and everything else that life tosses our way is an on-going process, so be in it for the long haul.
I have come to understand a few things in my travels. It is important to have a sense of humor around things and not take ourselves too seriously. Our brains are wonderful things, but their job is to keep us safe; to ensure our survival. It can’t differentiate between real (encountering a bear in the woods) life threatening fear and emotional fear. It treats them the same. There can be so many things thrown at us when we are young and trying to figure who we are and how we fit in. I kept many things tightly bottled-up inside; I was strong and could take it. I wouldn’t burden anyone. I kept up my happy-go-lucky exterior until something happened and it crushed me and cracked my psyche. I was diagnosed with PTSD and the things I tried to suppress seeped into my everyday life. Flashbacks at work; at home in the bedroom. The pain was too much. I couldn’t live with it and it took the intervention of some friends for me to seek help. I got help that made my PTSD manageable. I am happy and comfortable with who I am. If you are struggling at all, check the resources listed at this site. Have faith in yourself… I don’t say this lightly; I say it with a tremendous amount of love and gratitude.
I wrote everything below one evening after discovering Start the Wave. Before now only my notes pages has been witness to my reflections. I am nervous publishing this here- because my thoughts may be an echo chamber and I’ll connect with no-one or because I may actually connect with someone and this is a vulnerable introduction.
My coming out journey started just over a decade ago at 16 and it continues today as I un-learn and re-learn about myself and the world around me.
I have gathered that this is a life long journey of discovering how I wish to live as well as how I wish to uplift all of the other beautiful lives that do not have it as easy as I- a cis white lesbian.
How I display myself in this world has been an up and down journey. Predictably, my lows have come from society and my own preconceived notion of what is “right.” But my highs, they have come from the representation, those who have been fighting long before I, the ones who dare to live authentically and the mountains- who always seem to bring me the most peace within.
Prior to my self discovery I had been called gay slurs for the way I stared too long at girls and the excitement I got from being around my older female teammates. But then I had my first kiss with a girl and I panicked. I realized I liked the secrecy of it. The idea that you have something with someone that no one else knows about. It felt exciting in high school when I very much felt like I was on the outside looking in. I didn’t have the core group of friends I desired but I had the secret of kissing a girl behind the lockers. When I trusted a friend with this secret my worst fears came to fruition. In 2010 I was outed on Facebook when she revealed “my inappropriate behaviors” in a status. The feeling of isolation grew and the bullying increased so I turned to boys.
I began working in downtown Orlando and found my chosen family of queer humans who opened the doors of queer nightclubs to me. I felt accepted, understood, at ease and at home. During this time I also had a thoughtful and beautiful boyfriend who went along on my journey of self discovery and understood when it led to the type of person he was not. At 18 I came out to my parents. I got mixed reactions but in my spiteful teenage years I didn’t care. As I have grown so have they and I feel extremely accepted- even if it did take awhile. I’d dare to say they are even proud now.
I was finally #OUT or as out as you can be when the people close to you know but you keep your relationships hidden, pretend to be straight in a crowd and only tell friends after you suss out if they would be accepting. I had many beautiful dating experiences that never made it to the public eye. I realized that it wasn’t the secrecy I craved, I was just deeply ashamed of who I was. I truly believed that “I just hadn’t met the right guy yet.”
But then Pulse happened. Pulse, a nightclub in downtown Orlando that I found my queerness in. A club that I felt accepted and loved and understood in was attacked and so much of my community was lost. I was living in New Zealand at the time and had 7 roommates who didn’t know I was gay. How could I be ashamed of who I am when my own community dared to be themselves and was murdered for it? How could I watch my community mourn and stay quiet? That moment changed my life. I came out to anyone and everyone who would listen. I bought a pride flag and waved it at the top of mountains I climbed. I screamed it from the rooftops. I became loud, active and involved in my community and most importantly I became proud.
I rode that wave for years as I found friends, lovers, communities and representation. I felt sorrow for those who dare to emit hate into the world. I was out and proud because those who are struggling to get there deserve to see that it gets better. I decided in my late 20’s to go back to school to become a nurse. I moved to a small town knowing that being out would be less than ideal and I could pass as straight. But, I never wanted to go back into the closet or to feel inferior. So I met my new roommates, classmates, workout buddies and community and I came out. And that was the most trivial, anguished, challenging year of my adult life. I experienced the homophobia I had only ever read in newspapers. I began looking over my shoulder and set an alarm for every hour being afraid to stay asleep. My ears rang with gay slurs. I was still proud to be gay but I was not happy. I found solace in the representation I saw in the media- grasping at any and all of it I could find.
And then quarantine happened. At the midst of my depression I moved to my moms and I left that town for good- graduating with a job lined up in a progressive city. But now I had a lot of serious work to do on myself mentally. It was as though the years that I spent exhilarated about my queerness had dissipated. I couldn’t (and sometimes still can’t) look at myself in the mirror.
And then in the recommended section of instagram I saw a post by none other than Dominique. I unfortunately was not familiar with her or her work but I read an incredibly beautiful post about her coming out. Those words took me on a journey that can be described nothing short of otherworldly. That post led me into the incredibly represented world of Wynonna Earp that I can’t even begin to write about because it would supersede this whole post with one far longer and emotionally charged.
Dom’s post made me feel many things again. Proud. Seen. Worthy. Accepted. And Beautifully Queer. The conversation that could come out of me from that one post would take hours to unpack.
The post and this movement has really opened up so many incredibly beautiful conversations to be had about what it means to be queer and how we see ourselves within this identity at different stages of our growth.
I am in a period of regrowing. But I will always be proud. Thank you for this space. Although I can’t individually connect with those on here, I feel universally linked.
I won’t say that I always knew, but the feeling was always there. A feeling sometimes so hard to explain but so beautiful. I was “sure” around the age of 12/13 when all my girl- friends started to talk about boys and stuff. For a what it felt like a long time I didn’t have the courage to accept myself and who I was, for who I am. Sadly I was afraid of what others would think and how they would react. Reading things on the news, hearing about how people in the LGBTQIA+ community were/are being treated I didn’t want that for myself.
One day after reading stuff a guy in a parallel class in my school had written on his snap story about his thoughts on gay people and the LGBTQIA+ community, I was determined to beat the shit out of him. Me a 15 year old closet girl beat a 16 year old boy. I came to school that day with so much anger so much rage. I was crying in anger, than I thought to myself I don’t want to be like him, if I do something to him I’ll be on his level. I decided to talk to someone I trusted, a teacher who was always there for me. I ended up coming out to her without even noticing that I did, the words just came out so easy I didn’t even have time to process them. After some seconds I came to realize what i had said her reaction was so pure she gave me the warmest and biggest smile of all and a hug, it fell like I had just dropped so much weight off of my shoulders every insecurity that I had every fear were just gone while she hugged me. She was the first and only person that knew me for who I was for who I am for the first time I was myself without fear. Two months after that I came out to some classmates and friends and I started dating girls I was out but not fully.
I hadn’t talked to my family yet, it took sometime before I had the courage to. My family are mostly catholic, I knew that not everyone would take it that well. I was 17 on plane from Norway where I live to Spain, it was just me and my mom. We where talking about a friend of hers who everybody suspected was a lesbian. I thought to myself the worst thing that can happen right here is she opening that plane door and throwing me out while talking a just threw in a “and what about my girlfriend can I take take her home for diner one day?” We looked at each other she was silenced for a while than she laughed and said you know what I always knew than she asked me if I was sure and told me that for her it was no problem. For the first time I could fully feel like I was being myself. My mom gave good support she asked me if she could tell more people about it and I said ok. My dad took it in well and oh god he’s awkward when we talk about stuff he’s also very supportive I was lucky I feel lucky my friends and family all are there for me and support me. Yeah my uncle said it was a phase so did some other people but now I’m 18 I’ve suffered some comments and people have discriminated me for looking like a boy when I’m a girl and for kissing the human that I love in public but i tell them to burn in heaven cause if I’m going to hell I’ll have enough and and I won’t need that negativity there too. I’ve learned to love myself accept who I am and be free the road was scary and difficult and confusing but I’m glad that I am who I am I wouldn’t trade loving like I love and loving who I love and being myself for anything.
When I graduated high school. I found a girl that made me look at this world differently. She gave me what no other guy would and that’s hope. Hope to believe in loving someone for who they are. It was like a blindfold was taken off my eyes to see the beautiful colors this world had to offer. I had never felt the butterflies in my stomach before or the fireworks when we kissed. It was like I found my sense of peace with every kiss, every touch, every breath. My life started to make sense. My best friend at the time was the first to know and she gave me the support I needed. My mom was suspicious at the time and brought me out to eat lunch one day to muster up the courage to ask “are you dating ‘that’ girl?” My heart dropped… I couldn’t believe those words, I never in a million years would have suspected that my own mother, being the traditionalist she is, to say those words. I just stared in shock and she said “just tell me the truth, yes or no?” My next response was “well kind of”, I couldn’t come up with the courage to say “yes, that is my girlfriend” because of how I was raised. I always remember a time when I was little that we passed a same sex couple and she said “look away, I can’t believe they go out in public.” That’s the scene that always kept replaying in my mind when I saw a girl pass by me and telling myself “you can’t like girls”. She sat me at that restaurant telling me “that girl changed you, if you would have never met her you would still be normal.” To this day I still believe my story was easy compared to most. I’ve heard other people’s story that make me give thanks I had the support I was blessed with. After that day it was like a ripple effect. All my cousins called or texted me with almost the same phrase, “we already knew.” I felt like I was kicked out of the closet at that point because I never got to tell anyone, it was always “we already knew and we love you and support you.” To my relief I was happy I didn’t have to tell anyone, but I still to this day fear telling anyone I’m lesbian. (So my relief backfired big time) My father was the one who didn’t take it so well because he stopped talking to me for three years just to process and take a lot of hate out of his heart. Before me getting pushed out the closet, he would pass a gay couple and yell at them for holding hands or being close to each other. So you can imagine afterwards, he was speechless that his only daughter was a lesbian and wasn’t going to procreate with a man and have children with the white picket fence. My parents were recently divorced at the time and to hear both of them finally agree on making me go to therapy to make me “normal”, broke me down. I haven’t ever been a crier because I have always been an emotional rock for my mom and that day I’m pretty sure I could have filled a swimming pool with my tears. I kept repeating “I don’t know what’s happening but when I’m with her I feel relieved, like I’m whole and I love her.” The look on their faces was just disbelief, never have they seen me cry and be so passionate about someone I loved. I remember we all left quietly because they were speechless. After seven years, I can now say my parents love me and accept me for who I am. We can have conversations about my sexuality (even though the explicit ones are kind of uncomfortable and I try to avoid them) and they are more at peace with it. I can finally express myself through my clothing and I wear my suits proudly. I tried the whole short hair thing and I think long hair is a sexier option for me. Now I speak to everyone and just listen to their opinions whether they be for the community or against us and instead of argue with them, I show them what the truth of it all is by just being myself. So when I do get the courage to tell them I’m lesbian they step back and say “huh, that’s not what I expected” and understand that we’re all human. Doesn’t matter who you love, you are human first of all and that’s all that matters. So live like no one cares, love like no ones watching and laugh as much as possible (p.s. you get years back every time you do so laugh back the years you’ve lost in the closet.) I feel like I wrote you guys a novel but it’s from the bottom of my heart. I hope this story can give at least one person a smile and that this community can help you find your light. Have an awesome day and may you live every day with love and kindness. Thanks for reading my story. See ya
I knew that I was different from the age of six. I grew up in a neighborhood that primarily had boys my age and I got to grow up with them and plays sports, get dirty and pretend to be Power Rangers (my best friend and I always fought over being the red ranger) and I absolutely loved playing with these guys. I never had a silly childhood crush. That is until a girl our age moved in across the street. I didn’t really have any female friends when I was younger but the ones I had were nice. There was something different about this girl though and I didn’t process what it was until I got older. But at the time my best friend had a huge crush on her and it made me really mad. To the point where I would start dressing like him and doing things the other boys did to flirt with a girl. Until my best friend called me out on it and said it wouldn’t work because I’m a girl and girls can’t like other girls. In my mind at the time, he was right.
I never had crushes in elementary school. I was never interested. By middle school, everybody I hung out with had a boyfriend or was into a boy. There wasn’t a single boy that I had a crush on then. It led me to making up a fake boyfriend who goes to a different school with photos of some kid I found on myspace (not my finest moment lol) It worked for a while and afterwards my friends kept telling me that there were some boys who had crushes on me so I decided to give it a shot and “date them.” It wouldn’t last longer than a week with any of them. They would try to hold my hand and kiss me and I was so not into it. I was extremely uncomfortable and would just end it.
Ahh, high school. I went to a school where I didn’t know anybody. It was a fresh start. I made brand new friends, most of which were female, and was lucky enough to find two girls that would become my best friends. One of the friends I made however was a guy and because I was in high school now and hadn’t really had a boyfriend and him being attractive, I went for it. I really liked talking to him and hanging out with him, but any physical interaction was so off-putting to me. And during this relationship I had brought to the forefront the thing that I had been suppressing the most. I didn’t like boys in that way. I liked girls. It was extremely confusing and I slipped into a really dark place that led me into doing some things that I am not proud of. But my friends being as supportive as they are actually helped me figure things out in my head which made me finally comfortable enough to try things out with girls and see how it went. I remember kissing a girl first the first time and it felt like somebody smacked me hard enough to have whiplash. I knew for certain that I was gay. Out of this came many flings and eventually a girlfriend. Only my closest friends knew and I eventually told my younger brother since he would be at my school as a freshman my senior year.
I was making plans on coming out to my parents. I really terrified, mostly to come out to my dad and stepmom because of their upbringing and religious views. I decided I was going to tell my mom first. That is until my dad read my personal notes between my gf and I. He told me I was no longer to have her over and that I couldn’t see her unless it was for something school related. He practically grounded me to the house for a while. I would sneak over to her house to hang out but my dad tracked my phone every time I went out and he called me screaming at me. I got so sick of it and drive to my moms house only to find him there already to talk about it. My mom had my back and my dad was pissed especially since she still let my gf come over to her house. I was so devastated, but mostly because I couldn’t come out when and the way I wanted to. Everything felt like a mess. As soon as I turned 18 that year I moved into my mom’s house permanently because I had to get away from my dad. I didn’t talk to him much for a while. I’m not sure what happened during that time away but he had a complete change of heart and is now totally accepting of it. I got very lucky in that regard.
Ever since my experience, I work very hard with other people who are faced with the challenges of coming out and reach out to be a supportive helping hand. It also amazes me at how much more positive representation we are getting from LGBTQIA+ media and art. I wish I could have had this kind of representation when I was growing up. The incredible work that people put into the LGBTQIA+ community, such as Dominique’s Start the Wave project, are paving the way to a more positive perspective both outside and inside the community itself. My parents, especially my mom, are now huge advocates and take the time to watch and read and research what the community and the representation is all about. I hope that one day everybody can come to this type of understanding, whether it is something they accept or not. Just the understanding itself can be the spark to getting another step closer to love and acceptance.
It is only when I look back that things really become clear. For example, it is obvious now why I had a crush on my P.E teacher (but then who didn’t!). But at the time I was just a confused teenager trying to make sense of all that I was feeling. I guess that is the same for everybody when they first become aware of themselves as sexual beings, regardless of their sexuality. I don’t know how old I was, I’m guessing around 15? There was a Lesbian couple living opposite my family home, and I remember asking myself if I was like them, but then thinking that even if I was, I wouldn’t know what to do about it. This was the early 1980s, and things were not socially like they are now.
I left school in 1984 at the age of 17, got a job, and was happy just being me. I had no desire to meet anybody but I was aware that getting a boyfriend was the next thing on the list of things that were expected of me by society. I must add here that no pressure came from my family. So I conformed, and had a couple of boyfriends over the next couple of years. Looking back I actually feel sorry for them, they clearly wanted more than I was willing to give. Subconsciously I would never put myself in a position with them where things could progress physically. To me, they were friends who just happen to be male – end of. That’s why they never stuck around long I’m guessing.
Then in 1987 I started my Nurse training in the NHS. Six months into my course and my path crossed with another student who was to become my first girlfriend. We started out as friends. I knew she was gay, she never hid it. But I still wasn’t out, even to myself. Over time though the penny finally dropped and we got closer and closer. She would go on to say that she was just waiting for me to realise for myself, she apparently knew already.
That was when I started living the double life that will be familiar to a lot of people reading this. Luckily I was living at the hospital in student accommodation. It certainly made it easier, but hiding this part of me from my family didn’t feel right. My girlfriend, even though 7 years older than me, was also not out to her parents, which in a way made it easier for me to take the easy way out and keep my sexuality hidden from everyone but her.
Around the same time, when my world was rapidly changing around me, my sister passed way from Leukaemia. She was 36 years old and had only been ill for a few months before she died. My Father had died a couple years before this, and then for my sister to die….. I don’t know how my Mother and family (I am the youngest of 5 children) got through it, but we did. As for me, I didn’t want to add to the mix by coming out, so I stayed very firmly in. I can’t in all honesty say that had my sister not died I would have come out because I don’t know. Maybe it was just another reason for me to take the easy way out.
Life settled down, and I was happy, but still living a double life. I kind of found it exciting in the beginning, but as I got older, it became tiring. My girlfriend was accepted into my family, as I was into hers, but nothing was ever said. The more time that passed the harder it got to think about coming out. As it turns out, our families had guessed anyway and were happy for us. They were just waiting for us to say something. We didn’t know this at the time however.
In 2000 the unimaginable happened. My Mother passed away. And for me, devastated as I was I knew the time had come, there was no more procrastinating, I had to come out to my brothers and sister. I was 33 years old, and my girlfriend and I had been together for years. Even then, the thing that made my mind up once and for all, was that I wanted my girlfriend to travel in the funeral car with the husband and wives of my siblings. I remember the exact moment. The others were downstairs in my mother’s house and my girlfriend and I were upstairs talking. My sister-in-law then came and joined us. We chatted about other things to start, then I simply said that my girlfriend and I were a couple, and that I wanted her to travel in the family car behind my mother’s coffin.
That was it. I was out. The relief was immense, but mixed with nerves and grief for my mother. All my Sister-in-law said was “Well about damn time” and hugged me, before going back downstairs where she was of course going to tell the others.
A short time later my girlfriend and I also went downstairs. All my family were in the garden, and when I stepped out there to join them I was mobbed. I found myself in the middle of a huge group hug filled with love and reassurance. It was such a surreal time, grief for my mother, together with the relief of coming out and being accepted by my family.
There was only one negative. After the funeral, my sister’s husband came up to me. I had only seen him a couple of times since my sister passed away a few years earlier, and he said something along the lines of “There’s my perverted sister-in-law”. I’m not sure if he was serious or if he thought he was being funny, either way it wasn’t the time or the place, and he was dragged away by one of my brothers and told to go home.
And that is my coming out story.
The relationship I was in then came to an end after just over 17 years together. However, I am now married to an amazing woman, my real soulmate, we’ve been together for 11 years. I sometimes think my family like her more than me.
I am now 53 years old and I only have two regrets in life. The first is that I never allowed my dear Mum to know the real me, because I was scared to come out to her, and the second is that my Wife never met her. Or my Sister. Or my Brother who also died from Leukaemia 14 years ago.
Apart from that, life is wonderful.
Thank you for listening.
I’m pretty sure I knew I was a lesbian at such a young age im not sure why but i never had the confidence to tell anyone i was scared as to what people would think of me i was scared to be the different girl i didn’t want to be especially at such a young age where people tend to think its a phase or its just a momment that I thought one girl was pretty but to me it ment such more i was beyond anxious to explore myself i would hide myself from others i would try and go out with boys to throw people off my tracks as i was scared to show people the real me it then came a time it was dragging me down this cloud of fear hung over me at such a young age everywhere i went it was just dark and scary because I thought I couldn’t express who i was which is so so annoying and scary at the same time but there was this one day where I said screw it and as weird as it sounds i came out to one of my teachers why you may ask is because she understood and listened to me she was beyond proud of me which made me happy that this bubble was slowly leaving me and a ray of happiness came over me she sat and gave me advice on how or when to come out to my parents and friends and its people like that are the reason to me the world is so bright to me … fast forward to now im lucky to have such amazing friends and family supporting me on this crazy journey at this age i am also proud to be apart of such an amazing community that all come together by us sharing our stories with one another is truly incredible. I hope this story gets some point across that you can identify your sexuality or gender at any age and that’s its okay to come out at young age you are you!! love is love so please dont change for anybody
When I was fourteen I came out to my mother after I’ve been pretty sure that I was gay for a year or so. But she reacted the total opposite way of what I was expecting… saying that “it’s just a phase and I was too young to know stuff like this, I just haven’t met the right boy yet.” And that I was “lucky she wasn’t goint to tell my father about it.” Skipping to 2019, as I finally had the guts to institutionolize myself into a psychiatry after almost ten years of major mental health issues, I tried to be brave once again and come out to my mother. She apologized for the way she reacted back then and fully supports me in every desicion I make in my new out and proud life. It’s partly thanks to you, Dominique, and all the other actors who represented the queer community during this tough period of my life, that I am still alive today and grateful for every day I have on this earth. <3
I realized that I was different since I was little, when I fell in love with my roommate at age 7. Of course, I didn’t understand what that meant, but I knew I had something different. I grew up and my look to my friends was different from the look to my friends. When I got to the age to understand what was happening I repressed all this feeling. I started kissing the boys, buying posters of beautiful actors, talking about boys, trying to make me believe that I was not a lesbian. Because for the society in my time (today I am 37 years old), I was much more prejudiced, and still had my family, especially my mother, religious and very attached to children. I was afraid of hurting her.
At 15 I had my first homosexual experience. I kissed a girl. It was so strange, confusing but, at the same time, great. At that moment I realized that what I felt was for real! However, I still didn’t have the courage to take on myself or others! It was then that I plunged into religion! I participated in celebrations, prayer groups, youth groups, retreats, etc., to try to hide, oppress what I felt. It was a very big internal conflict, I suffered a lot at that time. Then I started to date a boy. It was only 6 months, then a girl appeared with whom I fell madly in love. I couldn’t resist! I stopped fighting a war that was already lost but I didn’t want to lose. I ended my relationship and we got involved. It was 4 wonderful years. Not so much with my mother! One day I went out to find my girlfriend and my mother went after me. I got a huge scare. She asked me if I liked women, I didn’t have the courage to say yes and said no. Until one day she asked me again and my heart filled with courage and I said yes. She said that I had not chosen to be a lesbian, that I simply felt attracted to women. That I did not want and never wanted to make her suffer.
At first it was very difficult, but little by little she realized how happy I was, how happy I am. I earned her and everyone in my family’s respect with great honor, dignity, wisdom and character. I love who I am and I don’t give up being happy to the detriment of anyone else!
I am the daughter of separated parents and grew up in a poor community in northeastern Brazil. My parents split up when I was months old and my mother ended up raising me without my father’s help. I lived until my adolescence at my maternal grandmother’s house together with my mother and an uncle. And after that my mother had a partner with whom we went to live for a few years.
It started when I started walking. My mom says that when I started taking my first steps I started going to church. At less than two years old I started going to church. I just went in there and sat down, nobody took me. Even my mother, my grandmother and my uncle I lived with, nobody went to church and in fact they didn’t even like it very much. As it is very hot here most of the year, I would leave the house wearing panties and flip-flops and enter the church at any time, all that was needed was for the door to be open.
The first person I attracted me romantically was my Bible school teacher, I must have been about 8 years old. I didn’t know what I called that feeling, I just know that I wanted to be close to her, touch her, watch her and try to somehow look like her or imitate her in some things. In parallel, I was absorbing and learning about sin, guilt and hell. As I grew up, both things became part of me, and as a teenager I had my affective experiences, both with boys and girls. And then at that time I stopped attending church.
From there, I started to get interested and research about possible theories and explanations to understand this concept so complex that it is sexuality. I consumed materials from both psychological science, biology and the animal kingdom as well as theories of the Christian segment. Despite feeling trapped and suffocated in that search, I really believed in God and wanted to find positive answers in all of that.
When I turned 18 I went back to church, got baptized and tried my best to get close to God. I started to be part of that community. I joined the music and communication group, made myself available to help with various activities, dedicated a part of my salary to deliver to the church every month and help with other campaigns. Sometimes I arrived before the doorman and left with him. I read the Bible a lot, the most complex and contradictory texts, I searched for the original language to understand the most accurate possible translation, I bought several study bibles and biblical dictionaries, I read books and everything else you can imagine.
In parallel to that, at the age of 20 I entered the faculty of Psychology, and then I thought: now I will learn and discover many things about the human being, his interactions and his behavior. So I will seek to study and learn about God in the same way, in an attempt to balance things out.
But, before talking about everything I lived and learned in college, I need to talk about my faith. I really believed in God. I really enjoyed being part of the church and belonging to a community. I learned many good things there and many of the things I learned with faith helped me to become what I am today and of whom I am very proud. A lot of that universe is really part of me. I met people that I can say that made a lot of difference in my life and helped me when I had several problems and difficulties, and who are by my side today.
Despite these things that I see as positive, there were so many others that hurt me too much. There were so many jokes, comments … I saw people being removed and expelled from their activities and positions in the church because of their sexuality. People who had to undergo various rituals and procedures of deprivation of so many things so that they could participate again. I was really reflective on how this topic was always prominent in the church. I heard several messages about it, so many damn jokes that even today I can clearly hear the pastor’s voice in my head with so much irony. It hurt, it really hurt.
I started to think about these parallel universes that may exist, like the one in the church, that managed to make me feel small and insignificant, because it seemed that I couldn’t be part of it, even though it seemed to be a very big place, it didn’t have a little space for me. Maybe this sounds familiar. This environment, ideas can even look like something very sophisticated and sometimes I thought that there was only this universe and that I needed to fit in some way, because it was the only one I could see.
Unfortunately environments, like churches, companies and even the family can compose an environment that is not good for us and then we need to find ours, because trying to fit in can hurt us and collaborate so that we become someone else or the worst, let to be who we are. And if there is no such place, we may need to create one. I will not lie, it is not easy. But we can find people and many other resources to help us. I found many things, I will tell you.
So in college, as you might imagine, it was a long way, from learning, acquiring repertoires about various ways of existing and living. I developed the ability to listen and observe and so many others that promote health and well-being. In my profession I learned about welcoming, understanding and caring. I realized that feelings like guilt and all the actions that can increase this feeling lead to psychic discomfort, mental disorders like depression and even suicide. I learned about relationships and so many other contributions that helped me understand social movements and other such interactions. I learned that the human being is powerful and that there is a potential for transformation. I learned concepts like equity, empowerment, autonomy, and that these being present in the logic of social interaction
can bring so much freedom and quality of life to people and result in changing paradigms and transforming worlds. Ah, I learned a lot that made me and still has made me more human, too human.
At the same time that I was learning so many things about what was human and what makes us human, I was looking for God. I searched, searched and searched. I looked in the bible, in the church, in retreats, camps and vigils but I didn’t find Him in any of these places. And then I started to arrive at the following conclusion: that the relationship with the divine is something so personal that it is certainly within us. I started to search within myself for the relationship I was looking for and approached an idea of spiritual independence. Gradually and with a lot of reflection, therapy and self-care I have sought to improve myself as a person and in my relationships and to reformulate my faith.
But it is in fact a conflict. A conflict occurs when two opposing forces point in the same direction, such as: I have a desire for women, being a woman at the same time that I do everything to make sure that doesn’t happen, because I believe I can’t or that it’s wrong. It’s confusing and it hurts a lot, I know. This can be a sexual conflict, and there are still many others. But we can overcome them.
I learned and I am still learning that life is almost never a dichotomy, it is almost never right and wrong, good or bad, black and white, it is diverse, it is colorful and it is infinite. I usually say that since there are more than 7 billion people in the world, there must certainly be more than 7 billion possibilities and ways of being, of existing and of loving. Among so many possibilities, we don’t have to choose between two. I believe that we will not always need to choose one over the other. It is possible to find a middle ground, a balance. I did not leave my faith to live my sexuality nor the other way around, I am working to find a way to live with both of them because these two instances of life, like so many others, make up who I am and made me get here. We don’t need to deny or renounce who we are since this does not hurt us nor does it hurt others. There are several parallel universes, we will all find one. My faith also consists of this, being part of a possible universe for all forms of existence and it also helps me to produce a sense of life and living.
Now start the process of sharing with my friends about who I am and have already found a community here where I am accepted. Gradually and gradually, in my time I have gone less to the church I have been attending for almost 8 years and integrating into another community. I have been practicing spiritual independence. Also therapy, yoga and many hot baths. My wish is that everyone can find in themselves infinite reasons to be proud and sensitive and positive ways of relating in an identical way, so that from then on they can start transforming the place they live in into a proper environment for our identity and as these relationships and interactions.
My best hug!
I knew I truly liked girls at the age of fifteen (I’m a 28-year-old woman now). How did I know? Well.. I was looking at my favourite poster.. and there she was, Avril Lavigne was pinned on my bedroom wall and there was me thinking “f*ck. I’m in love with you and how the hell are we going to meet?”. Don’t judge me.. come on! I was young and she was a hot skater girl! (she still is hehe). Anyways, that is how my story started.
I can’t complain because I’m aware of how lucky I’ve been during the process. To start, I came along with a girl in high school (just friends) who told me she was lesbian so she had to face the barrage of questions I threw out to her (bless her) to make sure that I wasn’t going through a “phase” of feeling homosexual. She helped me a lot. My dilema in that moment of my life was that I felt attracted to boys as well as girls so.. was I bisexual? Interestingly, I couldn’t imagine myself having a long-term relationship with a boy but I had really romantic ideas when thinking of girls.. (I’ve done spectacular romantic things by the way). I tried to find a label capable to represent me but I couldn’t so I honestly thought; “What the hell, the “label” is ME and if you don’t like it you know where the door is”.
I think that is the point of all this. From my experience, you attract your fears. There is a simple and real personal example (you are allowed to laugh, I know it is a bit ridiculous). I have selacophobia (shark phobia). Okay, I wanted to sound intellectual so I looked up the proper noun and I just pooped myself because there were pictures of sharks next to the definition (not funny). Anyways, due to my selacophobia I see sharks everywhere; people wearing shirts with sharks stumped on them, TV advertisements where in order to sell pills they show a shark swimming (why?? I mean..why??), and a large etc. This situation can be extrapolated to all of your life experiences. If you are scared of people because you think they may be judging you just because you are not “traditional” you will come across with people thinking that way. You have the power to attract whatever you want so be yourself. Mum told me once something really wise; “When you discuss something in front of an audience, 50% of them will agree with you and the other 50% won’t. Therefore, be yourself and you will be surrounded by those thinking the same as you do”.
Going back to the thread of the conversation, there is an important topic to be discussed; Parents. Here comes when everything got complicated. I experienced two very different reactions (my parents are not together).
Conversation with my dad:
(In the car. He was driving.)
My dad: Tell me.
Me: I’ve got to tell you something important.
My dad: What is it?
Me: … yeah well…
My dad: …
Me: You like women, do you?
My dad: Yes. Why?
Me: Me too.
My dad: Oh. And are you happy?
Me: I really am.
My dad: Me too then.
(Simple and easy. Men style.)
On the other hand, it was completely different with mum. She caught me sneaking out with a girl (everyone knows mothers have superpowers). It was a difficult time for both of us. She loves me so much that she was scared of me being hurt. From her life experiences she knows that there are violent people whose ideals are completely radical regarding the freedom of love. I remember my mum crying in front of me, apologising because deep inside her she wanted to accept the situation without shame, she wanted to understand me but she couldn’t. Seeing your mum hurting that much breaks you heart into million pieces. Then I realised what I had to do. If I wanted her to truly accept me, I had to accept that she needed to fit all that emotions into her heart and I had to comprehend her worries so I told her that it was okay, that we would make it through no matter how long it would take. Time did its job though and now she is completely okay with it so do not give up on people! Everyone has their own odyssey so try to not rush others’ processes.
I know it is hard and sad thinking someday your parents will be gone, that friends come and go but there you are. You’ve got yourself and that is forever. You have to take care of your heart and soul. Good news are that the sooner you do it, the sooner will come the day you will get up and realise how strong and authentic you’ve become. And I’m sure that people around you will be there because they love see you being you.
Hope it helps!
I knew I was different from about 9 or 10 but I knew I was gay when my teacher in 8th grade, giving a talk about sexuality, gave all the girls a survey to ask, “on a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you desire a boyfriend?”. It was an odd question but it was anonymous so I answered truthfully. He then collected the papers and read out the numbers aloud “8, 10, 9, 2! Two??? Wow.” The class laughed…I was mortified. I spent the next 20 years hiding this truth from myself and everyone around me.
In order to keep up pretenses I slept around and dated every guy I could but I never felt love. It always felt like friends with benefits. I joined the military at 26 during Dont Ask Dont Tell and after I started dating women, in secret, I still did my duty at work but that law kept me from feeling connected to my fellow troops. I couldn’t share my dreams or hopes or loves. I couldn’t talk about my weekend trips without dancing around pronouns or lying altogether. I lied to myself, my family, my friends…i felt like a fake. I was externally happy-go-lucky and adventurous but inside…I felt alone. Empty.
At 30 yrs old, I finally stuck with one girlfriend longer than a few months and we moved in together. I couldn’t keep lying and I wanted to free myself of the burden I had felt most of my life. It was time to be honest. I was a grown-ass woman; brave in every other area of my life except this one. No more lies.
I knew my biggest rejection would come from my religious family so I went big and started with my parents; if I could tell them, I could tell anyone. I knew that the moment I said it out loud I would lose them forever but I could no longer live for others; it was time to be authentically me. My parents and I got into a car to head to the beach and on the way home I told them I had to tell them something big. They saw my face turn white, my voice began to shake, tears started to fall. They said, “Mija…whats wrong? What is it?”. I said that I was gay. I knew I was attracted to women and I was tired of living a lie. I then commenced to crying even harder. My father spoke up, “Lisa, you are my daughter…you are the same person you were 5 minutes ago, nothing has changed. I love you. I will always love you.”. My strict religious father surprised me with LOVE. My mother took it harder but she came around over time.
I’m 44 now. I’m happy, healthy, and OUT to ALL . In the military I have to still be careful who I let into my circle but those who know me, accept all of me. I am finally allowed to serve and feel connected to my team. I am absolutely unafraid to live and love. It feels so good to say that. I lost some homophobic friends and family members along the way but you find that when the lies are gone you are able to have closer bonds with those who truly love you. It was worth it.
Sending love and amazing vibes to all my fellow LGBTQ+ family. May you all be free to explore your path and live devoid of any shame that stifles your happiness.
i knew when i was in 7/8th grade, it’s a little hazy exactly when. but i feel so fortunate to have queer representation in media (including dominique) that helped me figure out who i am quicker than i would have on my own.
By pure chance I came across some videos on YouTube that brought me to Dominique’s profile and read this incredible post. Everything I have read has inspired me, I have felt identified and has made me wonder about so many things in my life.
I am 28 years old and since I was 12 or 14 years old I was attracted to women, men only saw them as friends, despite feeling all this I only dated men.
At the age of 22 I decided to stop and accept myself, accept that it was impossible for me to have sex with men and I did not see myself with any of them. I sat down with my best friends and told everything I had hidden until that day, it should be noted that my best friends are gay and I was still afraid. My friends understood.
Today with 28 years, I still feel that I am afraid to talk about it with other people, even my family does not know it, this has brought me problems of having a relationship as I would really like to have it. I am patient with myself and with the stages of my life.
This post has made me think and reevaluate my values, my passions, my whole life, rethink what I want and it has let me know that I have neglected a part of me that feels imprisoned. I want to be happy.
I am now 23 but my coming out process started when I was 13, and to be perfectly honest, it will probably never stop. In today’s society I am constantly having to ‘come out’ to new people as no one ever assumes you are gay if you don’t look a certain / stereotypical way. I always knew I liked girls since I was in primary school at the young age of 6 before I even knew it had a label. I suppressed this as there was not any same sex representations to normalise these feelings I had. But at 13 I fell in love with a girl and started my relationships with girls from this age, forcing me to identify as bisexual only to this girl. However, once that relationship ended I forced myself back to being ‘straight’ in my own mind, maybe because all of the hiding made me feel different and therefore ashamed. But when I was 15 I met another girl and convinced myself it was only her I liked and no other girls and that I was still ‘straight’. But at 16 I decided to come out as bisexual to my football team as this was my safe place since a lot of the team identified as bisexual / lesbian also. It was only when I turned 17 that I came out to my very religious friends and non-religious family who all embraced me as well as I could have expected. There was awkwardness around my first relationship and I hated this, and I refused to withhold my affections with my girlfriend for my family’s sake when I knew they wouldn’t have felt this way if she were a boy. They soon came around however and are now very accepting. I only came out as bisexual because I wanted to feel more ‘normal’ and admitting I was a lesbian made me more different than I was comfortable with. However, just before I turned 18 I decided that I needed to fully accept who I was, and not seek acceptance or validation from anyone. This was the best thing I ever did, and I’m now so happy with who I am and I am proud of it.
I probably first realised that I was queer when I was about twelve years old but I wasn’t quite aware of it. I was just aware of the fact that I felt different. Then when I was around 14 I met some people who really changed my life and I think they honestly saved my life. They helped me realise myself not by doing anything specific but by just being themselves and embracing me. They helped me be open even when I was so scared. I went to my first ever pride (Exmouth pride in Devon) with them and I was so utterly scared that someone I knew from outside that group of friends might see me but they helped me to enjoy myself and it’ll always be such a treasured memory of mine. The first person I came out to that wasn’t also part of the lgbt+ community was one of my best mates when we were 16 and I can say that it thankfully went unbelievably well. Since then I’ve come out to a lot more people then I ever thought I would at this point in my life. It’s thanks to such incredible representation in the media such as wayhaught that have helped me come to terms with who I am and I can finally feel comfortable with who I am and who I love. It’s a process and I’m still learning, about myself as I tell more and more people. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be heading to university feeling happy and content if it weren’t for people like you Dominique Who have such courage to stand up and be themselves so to you and everyone in the lgbt+ community I say thank you and to those still struggling, it gets better I promise, so much better.
Since i was a child i love everything that are for boys.
Because i want to be recognize as strong and brave, like a soldier.
(Not discriminating but hey its the prejudice and i was just a Kid)
Then as i grow up i am attracted with girls but when i went to highschool i was attracted with my schoolmate and he was a guy but i thought i just want to be like him if im gonna be a guy i want to be like him. But i was wrong i like him like him. Then when i went to college i have crushes who are guys and gals. But i only have 1 relationship, a relationship that i was so sure, made plans, happy, contented and she was a girl yes was we broke up. I love her so much, love because it never fades out.
I love her with all of me and with everything that i am. I can do and will anything for her. Words cant explain.
Right now im alone. Doing the will of God. Because that is also the reason why we broke up. I hope that our breakup and sacrifices were worth it. And that we can endure till the end.
I first questioned my sexuality in high school, after I dumped this boy I was dating because I just wasn’t feeling it. I got home from school and told my mum about it and out of nowhere she asked me if I was gay. I had never encountered the idea, but as soon as that question was asked, the closet door opened a smidge for me. It was abruptly slammed shut again when my mum followed up her question with “well you better not be, I’d have to disown you”. I figured that it was a possibility but thinking that I liked guys, it was probably better not to look into it.
I moved out and went away for university and continued to suppress it. I had a lot of great guy friends and they loved to roast me with lesbian jokes, so all I wanted was to prove them wrong and I really didn’t want my mum to be right so I put a lot of energy into hiding away. I saw these amazing confident queer women in uni and instead of seeking freedom I suffocated myself with thoughts about the shame and shut down further out of fear. I turned to alcohol to take my mind off and when that started screwing with my health, I focussed on my fitness, trying to literally run away from my queerness. I tried to enjoy staying single and resolved that I could get love in other ways because I had great friends. I decided that it was better for me to just be alone than to deal with coming out. I was wrong. I thought it would be easy, but I knew who I was and was still so deeply unhappy knowing that I’d never get a shot at what I actually wanted.
That all changed when my sister was diagnosed with cancer. She is 4 years younger than me (and in remission now), and at the time it immediately made me realize that life was too short not to live it in full colour. Between visits to her in the hospital I coped by trying to date again. I met a lot of great people, but something instantly clicked everything into place for me with one woman in particular. I lied and tried to hide it for a while but as my connection with her grew stronger it became impossible. I started by telling one person.. then my sisters, then just spilling all the beans to all of my closest friends after a few drinks on my 25th birthday. By the time I told my mum I was confident I’d be ok because I had other great support, but she ended up being so amazing about it. All of the fear and shame about how people would react was all in my head, everyone was so happy to see me actually happy. I never would have predicted 6 years ago that I’d be where I am today. I am BLISSFULLY married to that woman, out and proud with the love of my life, hopefully for the rest of my life. Don’t shut away what’s in your heart or parts of yourself for anyone or anything. You are not alone, and you are loved, and I am here with y’all. Living your truth may not always be easy, but I promise it’ll light the path for a bright future for you. Peace, love and rainbows
I never did have an eureka moment. That, my god, I think I like girls moment. It always just felt somehow innate, a part of me somehow. A part of me I should always without question hide. As a young adult I thought to myself “ Yes, your gay, but you can never act on it”.
I remember being a very young child. I was looking at a performing arts troupe and I was transfixed at one of the performers. It wasn’t an attraction, I was too young, but I felt like I was in a trance , drawn to her female energy.
And so it was, I knew I was Lesbian but I lived in rural Ireland. The mentality as it was at the time -I believed I could never be openly gay. And honestly I was just scared. Too scared to act , not that even if I was brave that there was any place I could go or people I could talk too. No facility’s , no groups , no gay bars. We didn’t even have internet until I was already an adult. TV barely depicted female or gay relationships of any kind. Any show , any song , books, any films that depicted lesbian relationships I clung too. In secret, I clung to this love I didn’t think would I would ever feel for myself.
I was always a Tomboy , playing with the boys , wanting the boys toys. In adolescence when I was teased with “ Your such a Tomboy “ “ Why don’t you like girlie things ” I began to consider myself somehow wrong. I needed to be more girly to be accepted.
And so as a teenager, I dressed more like a typical girl of my age , faked interest in school boy crushes and ultimately completely lost myself in the process. I was such a outgoing confident child, in my adolescence I found myself quieter, more shy, confused and I felt very much alone. I carried this fear that I would be found out – as if that could be the worst thing that could ever happen. Because at the time, I though it was.
When I was 17 and like some teenage film cliche I fell completely and utterly In love with the German exchange student and we were inseparable for 6 months. She even asked me to kiss her once but I didn’t.
I always suffered from sore throats from childhood into adulthood. One day I was in an angel shop and somehow got talking about this with the lady who ran it. She said to me “ You are not speaking your truth “ and that stuck with me. The sore throats continued for a long time.
I went to college. I remember the day the clubs lined the corridor looking for new member. I waked by the LGBT table, afraid that people would see my eyes dart towards it.
I went out with friends. I kissed boys. I hoped it would one day feel different. That it might click. It never did. I even went on a few dates. Boys even fell for me – hard but I couldn’t explain why I didn’t feel the same.
In Ireland the first question from aunts and uncles mouths are usually “ Any boyfriend !?”
Followed by “Why doesn’t a pretty girl like you not have a boyfriend” It was tiring and I felt embarrassed.
I was 21 when I graduated with an honors degree in law but a superior degree in self denial.
One of my classmates and I went out one night in our final year. That night- she went home with a girl. She came into class the next morning in the clothes we had went out in the night before. Without words she asked me to keep her secret and I did. Finally, someone who might know how I felt someone I could talk too. We went to our first gay bar together and there in the middle of the dance floor for the first time in my life I said “ I’m gay “.
I had kissed girls , friends , straight friends drunk on dance floors, maybe for boys benefit but it wasn’t until the summer after I graduated in 2010 that I kissed the first girl who wanted to kiss me back in an abandoned classroom of the college I had just left. I thought my heart might beat out of my body. She became my first girlfriend and what ensued for the next 2 years was a double life , my ‘ straight acting ‘ life at home and my life with her and my small few gay friends I had gathered. I couldn’t explain to friends /family why I had to keep inexplicable leaving to see this person. I was stressed but in love. In love but oh so naive. She broke my heart and I was crushed. My family wondered why I lost so much weight. Why i seemed so sad.Convinced I had developed some eating disorder. In a moment of heartbreak I told my sister. She was kind but warned me to never tell our Mother.
Through the majority of my 20s i had a few different relationships , but never disclosed that to my parents. They only knew some of me , I had to omit so much of my life , the best parts of my life because it was my love. I left out my happiness. We spoke about surface matters and it became apparent that , that was ok. My father was kind and loving and I never felt it would be an issue but I couldn’t tell one without the other ( I suspect he knew) that my sisters had filled him in. He made efforts to show me he loved me. My mother had once told me “ Never tell me your Gay Anita, don’t ever tell me that . I couldn’t take it” and so I didn’t.
I use to feel uncomfortable at home hoping certain questions wouldn’t come up. I loved my partners , I loved being myself and I could because I didn’t live at home so when I went home a lot of the time I felt repressed , like I was in hiding. Just awaiting a time I could leave and embrace myself again. For a long time I was a stranger to them. I was scared to come out. I honestly thought that my Mother would just preferred for me not to do it. And so that’s what I did for a long time. I came out to friends along the way which explained some things to them. All were kind.
Very slowly my two worlds, my two lives grew together, along with my own growth, my own comfortableness with myself , my self love ignited.
In 2015 Marriage Equality was passed in Ireland and I took to the streets. I saw the glee and the love and I smiled. I attended the Marches and now the celebrations and it had all come full circle. I felt ashamed of the parts of me I still kept hidden away.
In the end I never had that sit down conversation with my parents where I said ‘ I’m gay’- it just naturally transitioned.
Some things I wanted in my life I wrote down on a piece of paper and put it in my wallet, a to do list. The thing I wanted the most was “ a love that even time would lie down and be still for “ I wished for it , every eyelash , every birthday candle blow out. On my list I wrote “ Find a love that makes your heart sing “.
I had loved , experienced great times , great experiences and adventures but always something felt missing.
I have found that love that makes my heart sing , it makes everything sing. My Dad passed away in November 2018 and I’m glad he got to meet her. I know he could tell I was happy. His passing also helped me grow , to solidify that I could never think of hiding that love. When I brought her home , the love was palpable and for the first time any walls that were still up or any withholding between me and my family seems to fall away without words.
I was guilty of being private with my life but we have all let each other in, in a way we never have before and it can only grow from here. Having experience the grief of my Dads death I feel silly for hiding so much of myself from him for so long – a regret of sorts but with every goodbye we learn. I’m happy to be where I am now , happy in my own skin and so very in love with my soul mate. 32 years old and being my authentic self. It took love , grief and growth to get here. The journey is different for everyone. Happy travels.