Community Rainbow Waves

Out Is The New In​

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A hopeful wanderer in search of ways to better myself and the world around me. And yeah, I also happen to be a gay girl.

Growing up, I had these weird attractions towards female leads of a couple of shows. At the time, my 13 year old self thought that maybe I respect them a whole lot and that is the only reason I feel this way. And even though I did respect them, I always knew at the back of my mind that it wasn’t the whole story.
I was fundamentally different from the people around me when I was growing up. My environment was somewhat of a rigid structure. It still is. Where I live, there is only one way to be a girl and one way to be a guy. You wander off from those norms and you’re considered weird and forced to act and put up a face that’s ‘normal’. I was a tomboyish kind of a girl, always into sports and wearing jeans and tees instead of proper lady dresses with makeup and jewellery. And for that reason, I was always made fun of. It did bother me but thankfully I never let it destroy my identity.
When I was around 15, I realized that I had a crush on my best friend. That my attraction to her was more than a friend. And at the same time, I realized that I was not like the girls around me crushing over guys. Because I had been crushing over girls the whole time.
This led to me focussing a little more on what my heart was saying. And with some introspection, I realized that i had been pushing down a huge part of me for very long. And now I had a concrete proof that this was not just a one time thing with a movie character, I had actual feelings for an actual person.
It took some time to understand that my sexuality is an essential part of me that is not meant to be hidden away.
It’s been 5 years since I accepted that I am gay. It is a hard journey since the environment around me is not one that is supportive. But even though I can’t come out and be open with other people, I am still glad that I was able to be open with myself. Because for such a long time, there was no direction in my life and I felt there was something missing. But when I accepted who I was, I truly started on the path of self discovery for the first time.
I am now more open and loving towards myself. I am still trying to practice patience with my journey. But I am happy. I feel complete. And I hope that the people around the world who haven’t given themselves a chance yet to be open with themselves, find a way to peace and happiness. Because it is worth it. Because we are all worth the love.
We deserve to be loved and respected by ourselves and others.

Julie

I’d always been a tomboy. I grew up with 5 brothers and 1 sister (I’m also the youngest), and my dad was all about ‘the sports’ so we’d often be playing football, rugby, and quite a bit of cricket.

When I reached secondary school I really started to notice my feelings towards girls. I’d experienced these feelings before but I hadn’t known what they were, how to identify them.

I grew up in a really dodgy part of Yorkshire in England. It wasn’t a place one would ever identify as a ‘safe space’. It always felt like the whole town was… stuck. There wasn’t any art or culture, no diversity, and there certainly weren’t any (out) gay people. At least none that I can remember.

There wasn’t much to do in my town so as teenagers, me and my friends would end up drinking on the streets. I would only ever talk about my feelings when I was drunk and NEVER with anyone else, only ever to myself. I’d sit there and say “you’re not a lesbian. You’re not a lesbian!”

I did NOT want to stand out, I didn’t want to be different. When I was 14, a girl in the year below me had been outed and her life was made a living hell. No way was I going to do that to myself. So I kept telling myself that I wasn’t gay, that I’d meet the perfect boy and all those feelings would melt away thanks to his chiselled jaw and amazing magical penis.

Anyways, eventually I got out of that town and at 18 went to University. On my very first day, the very first person I spoke to was a super smiley friendly girl named Rachel. We immediately clicked and became instant best friends. But uh-oh, those pesky feelings were bubbling up again!

I ramped up my efforts to find the magical penis that drives off any lesbian tendencies. Personally, I found it pretty gross. And rather boring.

After about 4 months mine and Rachel’s friendship blossomed into something else. And it was MIND BLOWING! The first time we were together it was like my whole body was suddenly awake. Every touch, every sensation was just utterly amazing (I’m being super gushy, sorry). I was DEFINITELY a lesbian.

It wasn’t easy sailing though. Rachel and I had quite a few ups and downs in the beginning. I’d finally accepted my feelings to myself and to Rachel, but my fear of people finding out I was gay was still firmly in place. That fear meant that I, at times, ended up hurting Rach. She wasn’t out either but she handled everything with a great deal more grace and elegance than I ever did.

Over time, as our fledgling romance deepened, we found the courage to come out to our friends. They were very loving and supportive which was a huge relief. I was terrified my best friend from home would be horrified and disown me, but her reaction was so far from it! Which is also silly because I’d known her since we were 6 years old, she was never going to push me away! But I suppose that’s why the fear intensifies when having to tell the most important people in your life – the idea of losing someone you love that much is a hard thing to shake off.

Rachel came out to her parents after about 6 months. Again, they were very accepting and welcomed me with open arms. When Rach was back home and I’d go to stay with them, not having to hide our relationship was such a weight off. We were even allowed to sleep in the same bed… Get in!! 😀

My coming out to my mum took just a little bit longer. Rach and I had been together almost a year. It was Christmas in the second year of uni and Rach was going back to her parents and I to mine. My brother came to pick me up and saw me saying a very soppy goodbye to my ‘best friend’. Over the 20 minute car journey he finally asked me “are you two a couple?”. The word “yes” sat in my throat for what felt like a lifetime. I eventually managed to push it out and then waited for the repercussions…

The smile on my brother’s face was the most relieving thing in the whole wide world. We talked, we laughed, I *nearly* cried (I’m not very good with emotions). Problem was, now my brother knew, it meant I had to tell my mum.

My mum is a very intelligent woman with some interesting views, shall we say. She had gay friends when I was in my teens, but she always called them ‘queers’ and not in the positive way. In a nutshell, I was sh*tting it.

I spent the whole of the two week Christmas break hovering, trying to blurt out “I’m a giant lesbian!”. I almost said it after watching ‘Bend Is Like Beckham’ after the whole confusion where Keira Knightley’s mum thinks she’s a lesbian. I took a deep breath, had the words ready, and said “right, I’m off to bed then”. Fail.

The last morning before going home I went and sat on my mum’s bed to talk to her. I still couldn’t do it. My mum threw me a lifeline though – “is there something you want to tell me? I feel like you’ve been hovering”. I got under her duvet, covered my face, heart pounding through my chest, lump in my throat, “me and Rach are an item”. Head between legs, fingers in ears, wait for the eruption…

“I know. I heard you call her ‘sweetheart’ on the phone. I didn’t ask because I wanted you to tell me in your own time”. And just like that, my mum knew I was gay and my world didn’t end. I even got a call from my gran telling me I was still the same person, and “we talk to ’em (gay people) don’t we!” She was trying to be sweet so I let that go.

My mum took it well initially but still had her own struggles with me coming out, mainly because she had plans for me to have a strapping young husband to do her DIY. She got there in the end though.

Rachel and I have now been together for 16 years and our 12th Wedding anniversary is in May. We have a 6 year old son and live a very happy ‘out’ existence. That smiley girl, the very first person a shy me spoke to at Uni, became the love of my life.

Apologies for the huge essay.

Final note though – if I’ve learned anything in my 34 years, it’s love who you love and live your best life for you.

Stay kind beautiful people.

Nicole (not Haught)

I am on my mid-30s, have been married to a man for 10 years, have 2 young kids and have just recently begun to come out. It’s in some ways a sad journey because it marks the end of my marriage to a truly amazing man who gave me the security and space to find myself, but it is not the end of my family. I feel an incredible sense of relief at finally being able to love and accept myself and live an honest life. My children will be better for having a happy mother, and they still have 2 loving parents who love them very much.
Announcing your divorce and your queerness all at once is quite a lot, but I have been so lucky to receive nothing but support from my friends and family.
I think part of what scared me for so long was being defined by my sexuality, but we are all so much more than that aren’t we? I am a mother, a friend, a damn successful businesswoman, a sister, a daughter…and I happen to also be a lesbian.

I really can´t…identify myself…but it´s okay I think!

First of all, my first language is german.. so if i make mistakes (and there will be many I suppose) i apologize!

I want to make it short: I´ve never felt as a woman and I´ve never felt as a guy. i don´t know, I mean, it´s not important for me. biological i´m a woman, yes, and if you would see me you would also say that i´m a woman- but i don´t feel it-i like unisex clothes, sometimes i watch soccer and shout and drink beer, the next day i watch a walt disney film and cry- i´ve never liked or was even interested in things most girls like and also in things most guys like- as a kid or teenager i felt like an alien, now i´m happy the way iam. i don´t like the expectation society has on women- so what, yes im biological a woman, yes i don´t want kids, no also not in ten years, no i´m not married to a guy, blabla..

my coming out was a difficult- i always knew that i like women. i´ve never, and i´m 33 years old now- had feelings for men- maybe i fall in love with a guy when i´m a granny, who knows, but it never happened to me.
when my family found out (for me, it was always okay and normal) my parents throw me out of the house- i was 17. i had nothing, i didnt know what to do with my life, there was no perspective.
because i had to switch my places to sleep (mostly sofas of friends, we were young, not many of us had an own apartement or something like this)
i couldn´t concentrate on learning, doing my school etc… so i also lost the oppurtunity to do my final exams in school.
i had many difficult years, and i was so young…when i think back now, there was too much alcohol, too many parties and too many risky situations.

it all sounds very sad, and heartbreaking, but you know what?
I´m married know, to a wonderful woman, i finished university and i´m a social worker now- and try to help people manage their lives. in the past i always wished to have a social worker who helps me- now i try to be the person for other people.
so, there´s a happy end, i had good people in my life and i always trusted in myself- maybe i was just lucky, who knows 😉

Pat F. (she/her)

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)

#OutIsTheNewIn

I don’t think i know yet but i’d probably say for now queer

i think i’ve always known that i liked girls i just never thought anything of it. i always just didn’t even acknowledge it because i didn’t know what it meant. then probably around 10-11 i started really questioning my sexuality and gender identity. today, truth is i don’t know the answer to either of those questions. lately i’ve been thinking maybe i’m gender fluid because i feel like i’m both and i’m neither. this proves to be very confusing for someone who’s just trying to figure themselves out. i’ve thought out all scenarios and i’m not sure of any of them. i’ve questioned being a bisexual trans man and being non binary and just being attracted to feminine people but truth is i don’t think i’ll know for
awhile. I, as a 16 year old kid, don’t have to know exactly who i am right now. at this point i’m just trying to stay positive and patient and when i know who i am i’ll know.

Truth

All of the coming out stories on this site encouraged me to write what follows and post it on my website and social media. Thank you to one and all for speaking their truth and in doing so, reminding me how important it is to own our truth and for me, stand publicly in my truth.

I have never officially come out of the closet. I also never sat my parents down to explain my sexuality. It never felt right to me, I would not explain having a boyfriend so why would I explain having a girlfriend. The idea felt degrading and separatist. I brought my girlfriend home from college and we slept in the same room. My parents have always been accepting and supportive and this was no different. Eventually conversations occurred with my parents and we all acknowledged my having a girlfriend in college and in high school it was boyfriends. That was it, and the love and support I expected and desired has always been there. With time and life experiences I recognize how blessed I have been to have such parents.

By my sophomore year at college I had a serious girlfriend. We were not out to everyone, but we were not hiding. We essentially lived together and hung out with mutual friends. College felt freeing to me, having grown up in a small town in Western Kansas where EVERYONE knew everything, or it seemed. Unfortunately, college was also my first experience where I discovered what it is like to be judged and attacked for my sexuality. I was outed by an instructor and several peers. The derisive gossip was meant to attack and shame me, to what end I do not know. Action taken, I assume, because I was different and that apparently made me a threat. Again, one of those people who outed me was a college instructor… The lesson I took was to become smaller and less of a threat, and it worked.

I became a professional horse trainer and riding instructor; a career path that is heavily dominated by men with women predominantly the clientele, a world built on traditional conservative values. In this role I had to be as tough as a man and as feminine as I could be in appearance to survive; I worked hard and found success and continued to hide in plain sight. My inner circle knew, I just did not blatantly flaunt my relationships in the workplace. However, on occasion, I experienced people finding out and attempting to use my sexuality as a weapon against me. They were never even my clients. Somehow, being a woman and loving a woman was a threat to some. I find it confusing, the horses never seemed bothered and my students grew their riding skills. Shouldn’t that be enough? Wasn’t that my job?

Over the last several decades I have been asked to go back into the closet surprisingly frequently. One such request was from a partner. For her, I embraced a much higher level of privacy and seclusion, embracing dishonesty about my truth. I justified it to myself for her benefit as she was struggling with her own sexuality, and I knew what it is like to be outed and attacked. This choice came at a cost. I slowly but surely chipped away at my own value and self-worth. When you add the shift in our culture toward more blatant violence being taken against the LGBTQ+ community, it is no wonder I find myself hesitating to come out of my cave and stand tall.

During this pandemic, I have had some extra time on my hands and have continued the process of self-discovery and awakening. In 2016 I had a health scare, a little bit of breast cancer, which started me on a path of embracing life at an elevated level. I have explored regrets, past relationships, work choices, friendships, the list goes on. Recently I have been addressing my sexuality in depth. It seems strange to do at 51… After my last breakup I tried to talk myself into being straight, didn’t work. I have sought a label to fit in, frankly because it seems easier to find community and answer questions. The truth is that I do not fit a specific label, I am not gay, straight or bisexual. I like men, but I truly prefer women. Like many, I have struggled with understanding the diverse array of labels I have come across and what they all mean. Finally, I have landed on the belief that they, much like me, are trying to find a simple way to describe and understand themselves and maybe find others who are similar. It is hard to find community and mentors if you cannot describe yourself or see yourself in others. Visibility matters. Voice matters. Being acknowledged matters. Being seen, really seen matters.

Today I am choosing to officially come out of the closet. I am guessing the closest I will get to a label is calling myself queer, but I still do not prefer labels… I am so much more than this one word. I am a woman, driven, a leader, compassionate, an empath, a warrior, a facilitator, a healer, a horse trainer, a people trainer and coach, an aunt, a daughter, a professor, a humorist, an author, a story teller, a nature lover, a dog mom, a dancer…. and I am queer. I must speak my truth and be fully congruent. If I am not congruent, I am not whole. I deserve to live an entirely whole life embodying my full truth. I am most at ease and entirely in my power when I am my truth. I want to be the mentor for that person who feels alone and know it is possible to be fully embodied and live your truth. Self-acceptance gifts us with self-confidence, which empowers us. The job or client I do not get because of this statement, I do not want. No more tainted money. I am a better facilitator, teacher, trainer and human being because of who I am and what I have experienced in my life. I deserve to give you the best of me and you deserve to receive my best. That means I must stand fully in MY power.

I am here and I am reaching my hand out. To my cousin – I am sorry I did not know you, did not know that you were suddenly a teenager forced to survive life and the streets because of who you are. I am so grateful to know you today, to love you and count you as my family. I do not want to fail another. To those who simply need to know they are not alone, I am here with you. I stand beside you and see your light. To those who need a hand, I am here and will steady the ladder. To those who need to be witnessed or heard, my eyes and ears are open. May we all as a community, young and not so young, stand together and raise our voices. May we rise and be the mentors we dreamed of to create a better world for us all; every shade of the rainbow deserves to be seen and honored.

Cathy