I am 18, and as I grasp this issue of homosexuality, I realize that it is something I always knew, sort of a silent understanding with myself, but life went on, and growing up I never made it a big issue. I felt different from a very early age, but than again, I never knew what it was like to be very normal anyway, so I figure that I didn’t miss much. Having an older brother guaranteed me to an adolescence of tomboy activities. Hanging out with his friends was much cooler than hanging out with dumb girls who only cared about what the boys thought anyway. The teenage years struck, with a startling result, and all of my brothers friends began to be interested in me. Not friend interested, but girlfriend interested. I had already had my slew of boyfriends… always looking for something that I suppose would never be there. Then I had my first lesbian experience, and I finally admitted to myself that I was gay. You would never know it from looking at me, which is better I suppose, because I want people to know me for who I am, not my sexual orientation. Anyway, attending a magnet Art High School, where allot of the guys were openly gay, led me to finally coming out to my friends. Some of them said they had their suspicions because I never had boyfriends around, and others said they had no clue. They all took it well, and the point is, they accepted ME, That segued into me telling my brother. He accepted it in disbelief, because he always thought that everything about me was perfect. I told him that I don’t see my sexuality as a curse, and that if he wanted to think everything around my life was still perfect, he could. I have yet to tell my parents. I figure I will wait until I am out of the house, either in college, or after that. Part of me thinks they already know, but that they really don’t want to admit it. My parents are Catholic Republicans, very proud of my grades and talent, and constantly trying to fix me up with the “perfect” guy. I let them think that I don’t have a steady boyfriend because I go to a high school where allot of the guys are gay, and that I truly love going to movies with their co-worker’s sons. I do this because at this time in my life, it’s easier than hurting them. I know that time will end soon enough, and that they will love me nonetheless, but until then, I keep it to myself. I am who I am, and that is enough for me.
It is early in the morning, in the other room I can hear the soft sleeping sounds of my partner, Terry. I am concerned that she will wake and find me in here on the computer, instead of studying for exams. She is 11 years older than I, and sometimes can be rather paternalistic, (notice I didn’t say maternalistic). I also refer to this as her wearing the “pants of crank”. Nevertheless, since I came across this site and read a lot of the sad, happy, inspiring and just plain brave stories of so many men and women, I have wanted to add my own insights and share my “coming out story”.
I like to say that in a sense, I never actually “came out” because I had never known I was “in”. It took me ‘til I was in my later twenties to realize that I was a lesbian, bisexual, gay, whatever you want to label it. Was I so blind and stupid I lived in a closet for 25 odd years and didn’t even know it? (Actually, I was feeling a little cramped, oh, and the mothballs….). Gay friends and acquaintances said later “We knew it all the time”. Maybe they are just trying to prove their strong “gaydar” skills or maybe they’re right, I don’t know.
My mother was not wholly surprised that day I told her I was dating another woman. I think she half suspected I would not let her drift into middle age without pulling some rabbits out of the hat. She even asked if I was “doing this just to spite her”. (Funny how she always thinks everything is about her). She should have expected it from me, the child who always fought for the underdog, who could never leave well enough alone, who lived with her heart on her sleeve. If our family had a black sheep (and you didn’t include my alcoholic father, who was really more of a “black-out”), I was it.
The first time I had sex with a woman I was more than a little drunk, a lot lonely, and a little bit in love with Meg, this smart funny, troubled, self proclaimed “dyke” I had met through a close friend of mine who was gay. ( Hey, we were friends for years, and I thought for the longest time her partner was just her roomate. Yes, they slept in the same bed, did everything together, but so???)
Loving another woman, touching the landscape of her body that was so like my own, kissing her, holding her, was a little strange and yet beautiful experience for a woman who thought she was straight and just hadn’t met that special guy. It was almost like the ultimate way of loving myself. The thing was, I didn’t feel ashamed, embarrassed, or that I had done anything “wrong”. Instead, I felt like announcing to the clerk at the gas station and anyone else who would listen about this wonderful experience I had just had. (I didn’t).
When I left her apartment that morning I knew that something very meaningful had just happened, but I thought it meant I was “open” in my sexuality, that I was curious, bisexual, whatever. But I still told myself it didn’t mean I was gay.
I had always been attracted to men, had my share of boyfriends and sexual experiences as a teenager but never long term, and then as I got older and gained a lot of weight I chose to be uninvolved because I didn’t feel I could be intimate with anyone looking and feeling about my body as I did. Plus it wasn’t like a lot of guys were chasing fat girls. So I went off to university and then spent the first five years of my twenties celibate, lonely, busy with school, friends, hobbies, my career, and fantasies of losing weight, meeting that perfect man, and having the white picket fence.
Eventually I did lose quite a bit of weight and was feeling more comfortable with myself and started dating and actively meeting men. It felt hollow. It also felt like I just wanted sex. I didn’t feel like I connected at all with men on an emotional level. I didn’t understand them the way I did women. And then there was Meg.
It took a few months after that (and also a few more nights with Meg, though we decided to eventually be just friends), for me to realize I really was gay. Of all things it was a porno movie that finally made me sure.(Who knew they could be educational or enlightening?) As I watched the man and woman on the screen I thought, that’s not what I want anymore. I was sexually attracted to men, yes, but I didn’t want to live with one, spend my life with one, now that I knew there were other possibilities. To a lot of gays, I know, it was never a choice, but I think in a way, it was for me. I could choose to do what gave me the most happiness and joy, and who wouldn’t choose that? Still it was difficult for me to grasp that the “American Dream” of husband, wife, kids, and picket fence would never be for me. And I grieved for that. It had been all I had ever wanted since I was a little girl.
So I was confused, stressed out, coming to terms emotionally with my realization that I wanted to love a woman. And like others in my situation I called up the GLBT group in my city and spoke to the woman who was then the president of the group for some advice and reassurance. It is her that I hear soflty snoring in the next room.
She is the love of my life, I feel that I have been so blessed to have a best friend, life partner and lover all rolled into one human being. Terry is more transgendered than gay and I suppose I am more bisexual than lesbian so we are kind of the classic femme/ dyke couple. If there were a husband in this relationship, she’d be it, and I the wife. But its different because she has just enough felinity so that she thinks like a woman, loves like a woman, even though she’d rather be shopping for power tools than shoes. Over the years she has considered a sex reversal operation, and maybe one day she will. It won’t matter to me. I have discovered that its not male or female that I love but a person, a soul. And in her I have the best of both worlds.
We have been together four years now, and live our lives very openly. I talk to strangers, friends, family and coworkers about my partner the way they talk about their husbands or wives. I am very matter of fact about it. In the beginning, I told family and those close to me “Guess what, I am seeing someone new. Only, its not a guy.” Then I would just stand there, with a small smile on my face and wait for their reaction. For some, like my brother, it was easy, he just said, “Ok, if your happy, that’s great”. For others, like my mother, it is an ongoing road to acceptance. (The other day we were talking and I told her that I was happy. She said “No you’re not. You just think you are”. I wonder, isn’t that the same thing?).
Oh, and the American Dream thing? I didn’t have to give it up after all. My partner builds a great white picket fence., and we’re planning our first baby next year.