Queer Writes Project: personal stories, nonfiction, fiction, poetry, prose.
We are collecting short personal stories about the coming out struggles, courage and hope of people in the LGBT* Community and pictures; to affirm that the struggles faced by the queer community are universal and to affirm that -It does truely get better.
Through stories and pictures we want to connect people to others who are facing the same struggles.
Queer = Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans*, Demisexual, Asexual, -romantic, ect.
Our goal is to collect 365 stories - representing many facets of the queer community. 75/365
Where I come from, it’s assumed that the average family is a heterosexual mom, a heterosexual dad, and a heterosexual daughter and son. My family was just that, plus one more heterosexual daughter came along. The happy family of five went about their daily life until they had a hopelessly gay daughter (me). I realized an attraction to girls from a young age, where I would undress my female dolls and chop off all their hair, or try to figure out a word for it. Even when I was little, I had thoughts of “Oh she is so pretty.” “She is wonderful.” Everything, but I didn’t know lesbian was the word for it. I just came out this year to family and friends, but I’ve known for quite some time. it wasn’t easy, it took quite courage. I still haven’t met her yet, and not all remarks have stopped, but I’ve started interacting with other lgbt people in my school and we’ve banded together. Sure, remarks hurt, but not as much if you have people to stand by you and help. So yes, it does get better. Just keep your head held high.
It took me a while till I figured out that I am a lesbian. But everyone had already started rumors about it anyways so it wasn’t like coming out at school would make it any different than it already was. My problem was coming out to my family. I already had my oldest brother who is 20 come out and say that he is gay. My parents were okay with it but I was worried it would be different with me. My mom had always hated my bestfriend (secret girlfriend). So my mom told me I was never allowed to see her again. Right then is when I broke down and had to tell her. I struggled to get it out through my tears because I knew I wasn’t ready to tell her. But that was the only way I would be able to see my girlfriend again. My mom was pissed. She was convinced I only said that so I could hang out with my bestfriend. So for the next few weeks she shoved pamplets and books in my face about how to know for sure if you are gay. Eventually she gave up and ended up telling my father. He was okay with it but I could tell he was disappointed. All of this happened around this time last year. I am 14 almost 15. I still get disapproving and disappointed looks from my parents. I like to wear boys clothes cause that’s who I am. But I cannot even think about dressing that way. I cannot even be myself entirely when I am at home. Home is supposed to be a safe place but for me it’s not. I don’t feel safe anywhere except for tumblr. I get bullied at school. I get hated texts and calls and emails from people I don’t even know. Life is hard but I keep hoping it will get better over time.
I was 11 when I realized I wasn’t like the other boys in my small conservative hometown. I didn’t/don’t really like sports, I wasn’t interested in girls, and I idolized Britney Spears. I wasn’t sure what any of this meant at the time so I just let it stew for a few years until it hit me, the kids who called me gay where right. I was heavy into theatre and never had a desire to date girls so I got a lot of questions about my sexuality and my relationships with my girlfriends. It made me sick when I thought about coming out. My family is very large and diverse because my parents separated before I was even born. That is a lot of conflicting personalities and opinions to grow up with. My mom remarried when I was 8. We inherited four kids to me and my younger brother and within a year my baby brother was born. So that’s a whopping 7 kids and two parents with no money and not a whole lot of room. Fuck. The isolation from that and then coming to terms with being gay made me feel like an outcast. Fighting for attention and acceptance without being able to come out and truly be myself drove me crazy. I went from being bubbly, nice, and trusting, to bitter, and distant in just a few years. The climax of this transformation came when I met a boy my freshman year of high school who made me think we’d have a relationship different from any I had been apart of before. But as soon as we got to a point where I was head over heels in love he started to isolate me from the few friends I had and cared about and made me think my family would never love me if I was myself, if I was to come out as gay. It wasn’t until a year and a half into this relationship I ended it. But what was I left with? A public meltdown and friends who I lashed out at because I was so hurt and confused about myself. I put off my coming out until I was just about to graduate high school. When I did a weight was lifted. All that angst and all that resentment seemed to lessen. Most of the people I told gave me nothing but love and support. The things I was told I would never receive. Then I moved 10 hours away to college. The couple of months leading up to my moving out was sp strange. My family, friends and I grew closer. All of this could’ve been my life but I let other people get it into my head that being a gay man would be the death of me. I let other people hurt every relationship I held dear, kept me from building strong lasting relationships other than my mother and my best friend (who I came out to first and has been my confidante and protector since we met my freshman year of high school) and now that I am in college every time I liked a guy I would sabotage it and not commit because I couldn’t understand how anyone could honestly care about me. I spent my first year of college creating a party boy image and sleeping around without any regard for other people’s feelings. Cue stereotypical freshman meltdown. I let my drinking get out of hand and I pushed away every nice guy that wanted something more than sex. I was still letting people from my past manipulate me and make me feel unworthy of other people’s love and acceptance. Not anymore. I am now working on my insecurities and learning to just be myself. No personas, no second thoughts, no letting anyone else dictate my life. I am learning to let myself be happy and to enjoy my life. It’s a one day at a time process. It took me a long time to get here and it will take me some time to get through all this bullshit but it will be worth it. I am making friends I can trust and making an effort with my family even from so far away because I want my life to be just that, mine. I am allowed to be happy without fear, I am allowed to love without fear, and I am allowed to be loved without fear. My name is Shea and I am very glad people finally get to meet me.
The gay in Catholic School who is off to become a Marine
So I grew up in a very sunday catholic family (we were the types who were religious but it wasn’t the center of our life, as in we went to church on sunday more so out of tradition then desire). We eventually stopped going when I was younger do to our family taking traveling to Virgina every weekend. But I was always exposed to religion, my moms family is very baptist and I can remember being around twelve and my 2nd cousins girlfriend called gays “flesh eaters” it was consistently shoved in my face by my extended family that being gay was not a good thing (note this is pre-coming out).
In 6th grade my parents enrolled me in a private Catholic school, this is where hell began for me. I was a total out cast, which caused me to become super suicidal, and a binge eater so I put on a lot of late which only made people make fun of me more. Time went on like this till around 11th grade. At the start of 11th grade in September I eventually started to tel- well lets say I was shouting “I’m gay from the mountain tops” It was the greatest felling in the world. Coming out to people always followed this pattern I’d get really nausea, my legs would shake and fell weak, then I blurt out “I’m gay”, then the person resounded positively and all the nervousness disappeared and I felt amazing.
I had a few instances though out the two years of being “out and about” such as my school telling me I couldn’t bring a date to homecoming (This blew up in their face, a petition was made and over 2-3 of the school signed it), my religious teacher was a bigot to me (I dealt with this by being a horrible asshole to her, much to everyone’s’ amusement). I finally graduated that hell whole as of half a month ago, and this queer is never looking back. I have never been more happy, and I can’t even believe I would ever even think to take my life. (IT DOES GET BETTER!)
Last winter I signed a contract with the United States Marine Corps, and will be leaving for boot camp on 6/9/12 my recruiter knows I’m gay and is totally cool with it, we crack jokes at my expense, but this is usually provoked by me cracking on him for being old (hes only 28). He has given me a lot of advice and is super AWESOME! He is also one of the most supportative people I have had in my life about it.
In short this is my story so far, and it is far from over.
every since i was in like 7th grade my dad has know there was something “up” with me, so like every month id be minding my own business and my dad would come out of nowhere and say stuff like “i know, youre not fooling anybody” and “i love you, no matter what” and “as long as youre happy” and id always be like “what are you talking about?” denying it… then in 8th grade he started saying stuff like “i cant wait to see you when you grow up with your boyfriend, girlfriend, boyfriend, girl, girlfriend?” and still i acted like i didnt know what he was talking about. he was SO consistent lol…. in 9th grade i lived with my mom so there wasnt really anything he could say to me… in 10th grade i moved back with him, then like in october or september, he was in the livingroom and this is exactly how it went
me: hey dad
me: im gay
there wasnt really any huge change in anything, actually the only change there was after i came out to him is that now he likes to make gay jokes, my dad thinks hes funny lol :)
Being gay is unique, it’s a journey which not many people get to experience. As old fashioned traditional values (1 mother 1 father, marriage before kids) start to die there is a lot more acceptance of gay and lesbian rights such as marriage and adoption. People are finally starting to understand that it’s not a choice and it’s not something which should be judged but merely something that makes someone more unique. It’s no different to eye colour, gender, race, build. It’s because of these reasons that I found the strength to come out.
When I first realised that I liked girls I was 12 years old. I had a huge crush on a friend. At first I thought it was admiration, that all girls went through it, that it was just me finding someone who I really clicked with. Months passed by and as our friendship got stronger, my feelings started getting stronger. I had no idea what was happening to me all I knew is that It wasn’t normal any more and that I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. Our friendship was almost like a relationship, doing everything that a relationship would do apart from we labelled it ‘best friends’ which was a load of rubbish. We started arguing very regularly and I was constantly distraught and found myself crying and neglecting my school work. I was a real mess and the problem was that I couldn’t talk to anyone about it so nobody could understand why I was so upset. When I reached age 15 I had been through 3 years of pain and simply couldn’t go through it anymore. I called off the friendship and just in time somehow managed to get myself a decent set of GCSE’s even during heartbreak.
I still refused to believe that I was gay. She’s the exception I said. I still like boys I said. 2 years went by where I saw quite a few boys and it just felt like I was going through the stages. I felt no emotion, no connection, no passion…nothing. I loved the boys but simply as friends. It was when I was 16 and sat in my IT class at college where I was doing a mock exam paper but I was distracted and felt my eyes glide across the room. My eyes fixated on a poster in front of me. It was from the college LGBT group. On the poster it said things such as “Accepting your sexuality” and “Confronting the denial” and “You’re not alone” It was that moment where I leant back on my chair, put my head in my hands and said to myself “Oh fuck…I’m gay”
After that moment, things started becoming a lot clearer for me. Feelings were more justified, but I still hadn’t told anyone. There was such a strong stereotype about butch lesbians that I felt like I didn’t have my place. I started researching on the internet and it gave me answer to my questions and fears. Where I’m an only child I’ve always been worried about what people think of me, I’m not used to confrontation or difference in opinion so I thought that everyone would judge me and treat me differently. I thought I’d never be able to come out. It took me another year to build up the courage to tell my best friend Faye. We were sat in the park having a picnic when I told her I was ‘Bisexual’ which I knew was a lie but I felt like like it was easier to cross the ‘bisexual bridge’ than to come out straight away as a lesbian. She was surprised but incredibly supportive and it gave me an ounce of hope for the next few months. I was 18 now and I wanted to progress more. I joined Tumblr and started speaking to people all over the world who had been through what I had been through and who were better off at the end. I talked to feminine lesbians which helped me personally kill the lesbian stereotypes of all lesbians being butch. I felt like what I was feeling wasn’t wrong and that it was justified and I was allowed to feel this way.
Still nobody knew I was a lesbian. In October 2011 I told my other best friend Abbie that I was in fact a lesbian. She was relieved more than anything as she thought I’d been tense, anxious and upset for more serious reasons. She said that she’d help me through it all and this is around the period of time where I told Faye I wasn’t bisexual but a lesbian. They both were the support I needed to get through the rest of the coming out process. Christmas was quiet and I was busy with coursework so I didn’t have time to tackle my sexuality further. I remained in contact with other lesbians and bisexual girls on Tumblr to help me not feel so alone. I saw all of my friends get in relationships with boys and I started to yearn for the same but with a girl. When we went out I’d often get upset about still being in the closet and Faye would always have to give me pep talks to help me feel not so alone and one day Abbie and I were sitting outside of a club and we were playing a card game. She said “Carine, you’re going to come out this year” I quickly hushed her in case anybody heard and said “haha I wish” 1 month later in February 2012 I had a dream where I had a girlfriend and woke up to the reality that this could never happen if I was in the closet. All of a sudden something clicked. I’m going to university at the end of this year and I can’t go on getting upset whenever I’m drunk because I’m not out of the closet. University is a time to have a fresh start and I wanted to be ready for that. For me I believed the first stop was to tell my parents. Now as I’m an only child my Mum always wanted me to get married and have lots of kids. As she’s half French she had this dream of me marrying a French politician so she could have debates with and the fact that I had to break this to her was something I was not looking forward to. I had planned to write a long letter to my parents explaining everything and asking for them to accept me. I had planned it to be this way so that I didn’t have to confront them face to face but 1 week later, bottling it up after 5 years became too much and I broke down to my Dad telling him everything. He was shocked, but supportive and he said that he still loved me and was proud of me. He then went on to tell my two days later. She was surprisingly supportive and wanted me to experiment to see if my feelings were justified. But she mentioned again and again and again and again her need for grandchildren haha (no pressure). That night was the night before Valentines Day and my friends and I went out for a night out. After having a few too many drinks and knowing that my parents now knew the truth I was more confident than usual. One of my friends who was a guy had a crush on me and he had already gotten in a fight for me that night keeping another guy away from trying it on with me. When it struck valentines day he declared his feelings for me and as I’d had too many drinks I told him straight up that I was gay, we had a huge argument which involved me screaming ”I’m gay” multiple times As I turned round all of my friends were stood around in shock.
Word soon got out at my recent outburst and rumours started flying around friendship groups. People were immature, they though that me being gay somehow affected them in their lives. They thought it was okay to spread around something so personal about me. I found out it had got to a group of girls who I didn’t even know that well and that it was spreading further. Since when has being gay been such a huge gossip I said to myself. I found the whole period extremely difficult knowing that everyone was talking about me. Throughout this difficult period I could feel myself gathering more and more strength. I was gay, there was nothing I could do about it and these people are very sad for making it the headline of their current month. I started confronting everyone one by one. “Yes, I’m gay” the rumours died down and everyone started accepting it. Some people found out from my Tumblr blog because I’m very open on there. What I don’t understand is why people would lurk on my blog and then spread around what they saw. Why were they on my private blog in the first place? What gave them the right to tell everyone? It’s then where I realised that I was hanging around the wrong people. Later I told my other group of friends who were completely different. This group was made up of a couple of friends from school and some lads who I’d been friends with for a few years. They were so mature and so accepting and supportive and wee had banter about it straight away. None of them treated it as a taboo nor did they treat me any differently. This was the group of friends who truly accepted me. The months went on and I told more and more people including those from work and I got to a state of happiness. No I wasn’t in a relationship, nor were people closing their mouths about me but I didn’t care. Everyone I wanted to know knew. The ones I cared about were so supportive. Being very feminine myself I had helped kill stereotypes of lesbians to people who had heard. I started telling people at work of who had mature responses. Lots of drama surrounded me coming out but through the hardest period of my life which was coming out I am so much happier after it. It’s hard but it’s been character building. I’ve felt myself get stronger, maturer and I’ve become open minded to anything. I no longer care what people say about me because the ones I love, love and accept me back and Faye and Abbie have helped steer me through all of it. I’m no longer in the closet and I’m no longer bottling things up. I’m now ready to go off to University saying “Hi I’m Carine, I’m 19, I’m studying Business, I like dresses, make up, XBOX, Foo Fighters and I’m a Lesbian.” (not that any of that should change peoples perceptions of me ;))
Hello! I’m 23 and from Scotland. Some may say (including myself) that I’m too old for this tumblr malarky, but it offers yet another further distraction from uni which is more than welcome. Although I do feel that I’m a wee bit older than the majority of people on here, I am able to help with younger posters about their problems they are facing with their sexuality, so if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask :)
ANYWAY, on to my “fun” little story. I struggled alot with the whole coming out thing. For the best part, my friends accepted it, and were great about the whole thing. Yeah there were a few that were a bit funny, and they came round eventually after they realised it wasn’t a big deal. However some, well, some just didn’t want to know me after that. But I didn’t get too cut up on them, why would I be worried about people who thought like that? I was more grateful for the friends that accepted it.
But my biggest problem, which I’m sure alot of people face, is their parents. In my case, it was my mum. I can still remember the day I “came out”. I was sitting upstairs in my room, minding my own business, on the computer (some things never change), when my mum came in and started pestering me.
“What’s wrong?” “What? Nothing” “No, I can tell something’s wrong” “Honestly mum, I’m fine” “Are you being bullied?” “No, I’m not being bullied, nothing’s wrong I’m fine” “Is it boy problems?” (ha) “Mum, no” “It’s a boy isn’t it?” “No” “Are you pregnant?” (HA) “Wtf? No!” (Obviously a bit startled) “OH MY GOD YOU’RE PREGNANT I HAVE TO TELL YOUR DAD” “MUM. I’m not pregnant. The girl I was seeing was cheating on me right!?” *laughs* “Lynn.. you said girl..” “Yup..” “but..” *laughs again* “you meant boy right? You’re not a lesbian” “I am mum”
Disclaimer: These may or may not be the exact words. But you get the drift right?
Then cue mother dearest running down the stairs crying, telling the everyone in the house, phoning round the family. Oh yeah, it was big news. However, I was not “allowed” to tell anyone, and she wouldn’t tell anyone outside the family. It “brought shame” to the family and “what would people think of us?!” Y’know, how everyone just assumes that she is a terrible mother cos her daughter’s gay right? Yeah, totally irrational I know. So a year or two passed and she still wasn’t okay with it. Eventually I pissed off down to England and lived just outside London for a while. I just had to get away from it all. It was only then I think she realised that there are other things in life to worry about. I was genuinely shocked to see her so upset when I left, it was like a different person. So I lived down south for a while, in a relationship I pretty much hated, cos I didn’t want to go back Scotland and prove my parents right (I was young and stubborn..)
Eventually! I moved home and things started to look up. My mum seemed happy to have her daughter back, and although she was still a bit unsure or uncomfortable with the whole sexuality thing, I could see she was trying. And honestly, that meant alot. To have her go from being so against it, to actively forcing herself to engage in conversation with me about it, when I knew she was uncomfortable, actually made me really happy. Time has passed since then and it’s only now I think she’s actually okay with it. Over the past year or so I feel like I’ve seen a different side to her.
Like I said, I’m 23 now. I must have been about… 15 when I initially told her. That’s what…7/8 years? But she is ready to accept it. And that’s what my main message here is: I told my mum when, to be honest, neither of us were ready. I wasn’t ready to tell her, and she wasn’t ready to hear. It was forced out of me and she was forced to hear it. From what I’ve learnt, you should never tell anyone unless you are absolutely 100% ready for them to know. I found this out the hard way. Don’t let anyone push you into it. I resented my mum for a long time (and part of me still does) for the way she reacted. But then I just realised, neither of us were ready. I genuinely feel if I told her when I was a bit older, when I was more comfortable with the idea myself, her reaction would have been different. Another thing I’ve learnt, even if a parent, or someone close to you does react badly, let them. I had 15 years to comes to terms with it before I told her. My mum had just a few moments. I know, that’s not an excuse. But hear me out. It may just come as a shock, it may be as simple as they don’t know enough about it, they’re a completely different generation after all. But give them time to digest it, honestly. Granted, 7 years for my mum is an awful lot of time, I admit. But what my main message is: WAIT until you are ready, that way both you and whoever you want to tell will be more comfortable with the situation. And don’t get too disheartened if they initially take it badly. I know, it is upsetting, trust me I know. It’s hard. But honestly, if my mum can eventually accept it, then I hope whoever you are worried or upset out can as well. People eventually realise it’s not important. They eventually realise you are still the exact same person.
I grew up always knowing I liked women, but I tried to deny it.
I grew up always knowing I liked women, but I tried to deny it. Children aren’t very accepting; I have an anxiety disorder which means owning up to being gay gave me the attention I really didn’t want. Denying it to myself made things easier. However, when I reached 16 I met a girl who I started speaking to on facebook. I fell in love with her from the moment I set my eyes on her. She was beautiful in every way. I knew then, that I was gay, and it didn’t matter anymore because I had found someone who made me happy. Someone who completed me.
I told people, and that was not easy! Parents wasn’t really a problem. But, in a Catholic school, surrounded by friends who were very much hetrosexual and not very accepting, I always felt like the odd one out. Jokes… yes they are just jokes, but they really did affect me. Name calling whenever we walked through town? Being bullied by a girl who has bullied me for years again and again.
But none of it mattered, because I had her. And I knew that she was the one I wanted. She made me feel like a real person. And my advice is… although my time has no where near been the worst, it is hard for everyone. Just know that you can do it. Be WHO YOU ARE, no matter what that is. Be inspiring, admirable. Be you, no matter what. And find the person that allows you to be you. It helps a lot.
Since reaching the age of five, and being able to dress myself, I have never presented in a feminine matter. I wouldn’t touch dresses or anything pink, preferring baggy shorts and t shirts. Up until I hit puberty, I passed easily for a guy. When I first started to develop boobs, I hated them. I thought they were impractical and I hated the way they made my chest look. It was around this time that I begun to be interested in girls, although I didn’t recognize it as sexual- I just thought I wanted to be friends with them.
However, even if I hadn’t picked up on any ‘abnormal’ behaviour, my peers certainly had.
Australia, as a whole, is typically quite right of centre. The area where I grew up was an extreme. All but three people in the entire school went to church every Sunday, and they were all über-conservative. So as soon as I started to intrude on their comfort zones, they lashed out.
I don’t really want to go into detail, but primary school was in no way a pleasant experience for me. I was verbally and physically abused, and the teachers forbade me from wearing masculine clothing, even on grad day. Once I had to get stitches in my eyebrow because someone threw me against a wall, but still the school did nothing.
By about that time, it had occurred to me that I might possibly be attracted to girls. To me, this was terrifying. I had no idea that there was a middle ground- you were either gay or straight, and god help you if it was the former.
Towards the end of my final year, I began to get more comfortable with my sexuality, and a year later I came out to my parents, who were very supportive.
But lo and behold, as soon as I had sorted that out BAM! Dysphoria. The hatred I felt towards my chest was extended to my genitals and curves. It got to the point where I couldn’t expose more than a few inches of skin without being plagued with anxiety.
Fortunately, with the help of friends and informative sites, I have found a community within Australia that is accepting and supportive. I identify as pansexual/genderqueer and now have my dysphoria under control.
It probably wasn’t until my first year in high school that I accepted the fact that I was bisexual. In my middle school years, I wasn’t sure how to handle it, forcing myself to say I liked boys and only boys because that’s who I was supposed to like, and to be honest I wasn’t happy with that. I hadn’t really gotten any attention from any guy at that point My bestfriend Paige, who had come out as bisexual, ended up going to a different high school, so I thought I was to brave it on my own. I knew Paige wouldn’t have a problem; she was pretty, she’d have plenty of boyfriends, and I was her best friend who was pretty much invisible to guys in our age group. It took me a while, but I started to make my own friends, beginning to get comfortable around them, but I still couldn’t tell them that I was bi. I started to go to a church down the street from me, getting involved in the youth group. I was accepted and loved there, and it felt good, but I still felt like I couldn’t tell anyone. Throughout high school I had one boyfriend, and after dating for some time I found out he didn’t actually like me, awesome. After going through the healing process I told some of my closest friends that I was bisexual, and they supported me. When a friend of mine introduced me to Tumblr, I was borderline ecstatic. I could meet other bisexuals and lesbians all around the world, and maybe find someone in my area to date! I was really shy and I thought since I didn’t mind talking to people on the internet, and I was so shy in person, meeting a potential girlfriend on the internet would be easier. But then it hit me, I still hadn’t come out to my parents. I wasn’t worried about telling my siblings, it was my parents I was worried about. There I was, 20 years old and scared to death to tell her parents that I was bisexual. Another year passed and I didn’t think much of it, I was talking to people and I was beginning to get comfortable outside of my comfort zone, and I began to realize that I was pansexual, gender didn’t really matter when it came to people that I was attracted to. That’s when the coming out panic returned, I wanted to tell them but I didn’t know how. My friends supported me, they said they were there for me when I was going to tell them, which made me feel better
And then there was this girl…
I met Eve over Tumblr, and we started to talk to each other on Facebook, and she actually lived in the same area as me, woot! We met up one night at the movies, and afterwards she kissed me, and thats when I knew I had to tell them. That one kiss changed me, I was assured and confident in my sexuality, and I was ready to tell them. Did I tell them right away? Hell no! I took my time, planning how I was going to bring it up…Is there a pamphlet for that? I wished there was. 2 weeks into me and Eve dating, I wanted my family to know that we were dating. I wanted to be with her and not have to hide it. My sister knew, she accepted me and she told me it would be easy to tell my mom, but wasn’t so sure about my dad. One day I went up to my mom and said ‘Hey mom, I’m gay and me and Eve are dating’ just like that. No beating around the bush. And she replied with ‘Okay, you’re bisexual just because you hadn’t gotten any attention from a boy, thats okay’ I guess she’s still trying to hold out that I’m going to marry a guy and have her grandkids, at that point I didn’t want to argue, I was just happy I told her. I didn’t outright come out to my dad, I just assume he knows.
Don’t be afraid to say anything. I found out I wasn’t alone, no one is alone going through this. My name is Kristen, I’m 22 years old from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I’m pansexual and I have the most wonderful girlfriend in the world, and I’m so happy.
Dear thirteen year old me, you were never the only one.
Reading through all these posts has made me realise something I wish I’d had whist I was coming out.I am not alone. I’ve known this for some time now, but it’s easy to forget in the grand scheme of things. Especially when you’re surrounded with societies heteronormative ideals on a daily basis.
I’ve known for as long as I can remember that I liked girls. What I didn’t know was that there was a name for it - Gay. At that time I didn’t know what being gay was. Heck, I didn’t know what gay was. I had no idea that anyone else like me existed. All I knew was that I believed I wasn’t ‘normal’. I would lie there at night staring up at the ceiling feeling upset and alone. Wondering what I’d done wrong. Why wasn’t I like everyone else? I guess that’s what you want when you’re twelve or thirteen? You look to those around you - your peers - to help confirm who you yourself are as a person. I wasn’t mirrored in those around me. I looked and looked and looked, but I never saw.
I remember the first time I did see. I was fourteen. I remember feeling on top of the world. I’d met this girl and she was like me. It took a short while but gradually I began to feel happier. My self-confidence was back, and it felt great. There was just one problem. Even though I felt happy I knew deep down that I couldn’t tell my parents. I don’t even know why. They’re not religious, they’re lovely and they’d never made any comments about anything ‘gay’ related. Come to think of it, knowing they’d never said anything that I could relate to in this way is probably what scared me off mentioning anything. That and the fact I’d never mentioned ‘boyfriends’ I’d had. So what was the difference? According to me there was none. However, according to my friends there was everything.
And that’s where it all began. My coming out story wasn’t even mine. My friends had decided they’d better tell their parents about me and J. To this day I still don’t know exactly why. I’ve heard that they were ‘worried about me’. But little did they know what they’d started - a pretty crappy chain of events. I felt like my recently found security blanket had been pulled from under me. I denied everything to my parents for a month but it seemed luck just wasn’t on my side. My Dads friend – a cabby – saw me kissing J goodbye in a bus stop one night and immediately pulled over and informed my now mortified parents.
My Mum would frantically check my phone at night before deciding I wasn’t allowed to keep it in my room. I would have to lie and say I was going to see friends if I wanted to see my girlfriend. I felt like I was being forced to become something I wasn’t, and I wasn’t about to let it happen.
The one thing my parents had always told me was that I should always be myself and I should never let anyone stand in the way of my happiness. It just now seemed that there were rules to this advice. Heterosexual rules. Why wasn’t I allowed to be with this girl if she made me happy?
Eventually our parents met and we were given a set of strict rules. No public displays of affection. No mentioning of our relationship anywhere on the Internet. No mentioning of our relationship anywhere at all. We would grow out of this and nobody would be any the wiser.
Seven years later and everyone’s the wiser. I never backed down and I never let anyone else control my happiness. Having had conversations with my parents about everything it seems they’re sticking by a ‘we were trying to protect you’ story. My Mum still has issues with the word lesbian, but my parents have become a lot more supportive. My always-supportive fifteen year old brother now shouts down anyone who uses the word ‘gay’ in a derogatory way and so do a lot of his friends.
I wish my parents had understood that instead of protecting me they were in fact isolating me. I didn’t need saving. And at a time when I needed them most, they weren’t there. However, pushing all of this aside – I am happy. And most importantly in my happiness I now know that I am not alone.