This is the story of my coming out. After years of repression and my own struggle with inner homophobia, I finally said the golden words, “I think I’m gay.” I didn’t pick the time or the place carefully. Hell, I didn’t even know I was going to say it until I did, and I didn’t know it was true until I said it. As soon as I uttered those four words, It shocked me.
Okay, wait. Let’s back the truck up . . . So, it was the eve of my roommate’s birthday. I had made a huge dinner and we’d invited all of our friends. It was festive and excessive. The food was rich and there was plenty to go around, and our glasses were overflowing with wine. I was sitting by myself. My head had been so messed up lately. I couldn’t think straight. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. Things were bubbling up, and after I drank nearly a bottle of wine to myself I should have seen it coming . . . There was a lull in conversation and I blurted out, “I think I’m gay.” Just like that. The table grew quiet. The room had grown still. The silence was awkward and uncomfortable. One of the women’s husbands reassured me, “I think you’d know if you were.” “Oh, really?” I said looking at him hopeful like maybe he had all the answers. I looked around the table at my friends’ faces; they were skewed in disgust. I laughed nervously, “Haha! I’m just kidding you guys. I’m not gay!” I said. But I knew it was true. It was never brought up again in that house. A couple weeks later my roommates (a married couple) kicked me out of the house over “dishes.” The “man” of the house told me point-blank that I was a woman and I needed to “learn my place.” He threatened to set my things on fire. I was terrified and left that night. I was homeless for weeks, sleeping on friends’ couches with my things packed away in my car, until I found a new home. It was a complete nightmare. And the worse part of it, was that was my introduction to coming out as a queer woman.
Luckily for me, I had mostly amazing people in my life at that time. Once I relocated, I started coming back out of my shell. I told the people I trusted the most: my brother, my aunt, a family friend, my god mother and her daughter. They gave me love and strength. They encouraged me to embrace who I was, and it filled me with confidence and pride. A couple people gave me contact numbers for good friends of theirs who happened to be gay. It was a way for me to establish a since of community since at that time I didn’t know any “out” gay people. I developed a wonderful relationship with an older lesbian. She was a life coach, and was absolutely the perfect person to guide me through this exhilarating and scary time in my life. She gave me books to read and documentaries to watch. I slowly began to educate myself on the LGBTQ culture and history. I gained a better understanding of who I was. I realized there was nothing wrong with me. In fact, I was special. I was two-spirited. I was beautiful.
Once I wrapped my mind around it all, I realized that I had never been truly happy until this time of acceptance and coming out. After all these years, I had finally learned to love myself for exactly who I was. It was so freeing. I cried happy tears. I shed pounds of self-doubt. I had found FREEDOM. It was then that I realized I wanted everyone to know. I told my mom. She was gripped with fear for me. But all in all, this time she handled it very gracefully. “You mean, you are more attracted to women than you are to men?” she asked. “Precisely,” I said. She said she just wanted me to be happy. And that was the general consensus among everyone I came out to. I heard over and over again, “I love you for you no matter who you love. I just want you to be happy.” And I was. I was finally happy.
I soon discovered Autostraddle (an awesome website designed for lesbians). I cut my hair into the faux-hawk I’ve always wanted. I bought books from the gay and lesbian section at the local used bookstore. And I planned a road trip to celebrate my sexual orientation and identity to all the top gay-friendly cities in the area. It was just the beginning, and the future looked bright…
This is Sappho Bambino, signing out, but before I go I think we should take a moment to celebrate amongst ourselves. Pop some bubbly and turn up the volume for QueenS by THEESatisfaction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGWFBt_IPOg
Until Next Time,