In honor of National Coming Out Day (which was technically yesterday now but due to my car dying and me having to call AAA, this post is late) here in the U.S., I thought I’d just share my own coming out experience. As many of you in the community know, coming out is a lifelong process. We have that moment that we first tell someone about our queerness and from that moment unlocks the Pandora’s box of coming out… this is my story so far.
Anyone will tell you that the first person they came out to was themselves… so this first part is how I discovered I was queer…
Once upon a time back in 2003, in the not-so-far-away town of Montville, a baby gay (that’s me) was emerging. I sat in my RCIA class, getting ready for confirmation in the Catholic Church, when I found my eyes wandering across the table and landing on a really nice rack…no, not a clothing rack.
I then proceeded to have an internal conversation with myself. It went a little something like this:
The Gay: “BOOBS.”
Brain: “Wtf, why are you staring at boobs?”
The Gay: “BOOBS.”
Brain: “You’re no help…SHIT what if I like boobs? AM I GAY?! No, I don’t think so. I like dudes…i think. I must be bi… I guess that’s it. Okay, I’m Bi. Hmmm….I should probably stop being a homophobic asshole.”
The Gay: “BOOBS.”
Brain: “OKAY I GET IT I LIKE BOOBS. JESUS.”
And just like that I was bisexual and relatively okay with my identity. I told my first friend pretty soon after that, but it wasn’t until I had some more experience that I realized I really did not like boys… like at all. So by the time I entered junior year of high school I was a full-fledged homo…. with a serious crush on a good friend, WHO, coincidentally, ended up being the second person I told I was gay to and became my first girlfriend. This relationshipping led me to come out to basically everyone else… which brings me to my second coming out story…
My first relationship ended up becoming complicated fairly quickly. After my girlfriend told her parents we were dating, they basically banned her from seeing me and made it very difficult to continue the relationship, which ended up being the reason we called it quits. On a particularly emotional day, when we were still dating, my mother asked me what was wrong because she could tell that I was…well…off.
*Keep in mind that my mother is driving at this point.”
She asked if I wanted to talk about it and I said yes, but it took me a while to actually form words so she knew something big was about to happen. Finally, I gathered up all the air in my chest and spat it out:
“[NAME]’s parents don’t like me because we are together.”
And the car fell silent. For like 3 minutes. DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG 3 MINUTES FEELS LIKE WHEN YOU’RE SITTING IN SILENCE?!
I finally broke the silence and said, “WELL?!”
She replied, “What do you mean… together?”
YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT AFTER THREE MINUTES OF SITTING IN SILENCE THIS IS WHAT COMES TO YOUR MIND? I told her I didn’t need to spell it out for her and that’s when the waterworks and slew of anticipated heteronormative questioning commenced:
“Was it something I did?” No, it’s not about you.
“Are you sure this is not a phase?” Yes. I had a very clarifying conversation with myself at RCIA.
“How do you know for sure if you haven’t tried anything else?” How do you know you’re straight?
…all the meantime just thinking, “Shit, this is it…this is how I die. In a car crash caused by coming out.”
But we made it safely home, and that’s where the real fun began. My mom seemed to get over the typical questions pretty quickly and moved on:
“So, you mean, like when she was here, you two were… together?!” Yes 😅 “😡” 🤷🏼♂️
“How do you… ya know, have sex?” WOW MOM GOOGLE IT IF YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW🤦🏼♂️
After a pretty long driveway conversation, we got to a place of love and acceptance… and then like the next day she went to the library and checked out every book imaginable on having a gay child 😂 gotta love her for trying to understand.
I didn’t tell my dad until a couple years later, but it was pretty uneventful.
As I became more educated about various sexualities and gender identities, I came to realize that I’m one complicated fuck. Once I learned that there isn’t just male or female, I knew that I was in that gray space in between and things pretty much settled there until last year, when I came out as transgender. PLOT TWIST.
I had to start this coming out process all over again.
This time, the first two people I told were two of my very best friends, Suz and Ang. I don’t think either of them were necessarily stunned or shocked, so that was nice to see that it wasn’t such an unfathomable progression.
I don’t have any anecdotes about coming out this time around, and I can definitely say that this was 100x harder than coming out the first time and I have lost people because of it. If I could compare coming out as transgender to another situation, I would say it is akin to a dissertation defense. You’ve done your research and it’s something YOU know is important, but now it’s time to try and make OTHERS understand, while also dealing with their criticism and skepticism.
As I’ve matured, I’ve grown to understand that sexualities and identities are constantly changing because WE are constantly changing, as is the world around us. I live my life authentically every day, and that is all anyone can hope to do.
I hope everyone had a great coming out day and was able to celebrate as your true, authentic selves.