Come Out!

It is National Coming Out Day. As in coming out of the closet and saying to the world, “I’m a homosexual and damn proud of it!” But I ask, when is the heterosexual coming out day? I feel sorry for those folks. There’s no Het Pride Parade, either.

I can look back now and see where I knew I was ‘different’. I was quite young. Not even a teen. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Sigh. And Wonder Woman. Bigger sigh ’cause she’s got bigger lungs. During the entire show, when she was in that costume, it was not her face I was watching. Sears and Roebuck catalogs. Didn’t all of us go to the underwear section? But I looked at the women section more than I did the men. Trivia fact: most men underwear models are stuffed. As in padded to hide everything, not make it look bigger.

I was in 7th grade when we were shooting the sh..breeze in class. Someone said that if another girl said she liked her, that she would freak out. I said “But it’s a compliment. It’s like someone with the same bike as you admiring your bike. They know what you have, what you got, and what it’s like.” Silence. Absolute silence. I didn’t consider that maybe I was a lesbian.

In high school, it came up a few times but, really, I had better things to do than sit around and consider stuff like that. I lived on a farm. We were too busy to wonder about such stuff. Although, the funny thing is, my grandmother lived just up the road from us. And a lot of times, I’d walk home from her house down to our place in the dark. She’d say “Be careful. One of those homosexuals might drive by and pick you up.” She also whispered when she said homosexual. And she meant MEN homos, not women. I kept telling her that homosexual men wouldn’t want me. To this day, I still don’t think she understood what a homosexual was. Add in the fact we were in the middle of absofreakinglutely nowhere, and it was even funnier.

It was in college that I figured it out. I kissed my first girl. Immediately I thought “Oh. Well. That was different.” I’d kissed guys before that. Four I think. Three? Anyway, that kiss was so very, very different. I could not describe to you the difference. I just figured all the guys I had dated were really bad kissers. Nope. College for me was a very emotional time. I got off the farm and discovered there was a world out there. Not always a good world, either. My relationship with J did not end well and after college, I moved up Nawth where Mom and both brothers were.

It was in NJ that I finally realized who and what I was. And, typical me, I reached that conclusion in a very weird way. It was the early 90s and HIV/AIDS was considered God’s way of cleansing the planet. Being gay was not a good thing at all. It was frightening to think about. But I worked for a non-profit agency and had a cool co-worker. She mentioned her girlfriend and I asked her about what being gay was like. She was cool about it and answered questions and little pieces started fitting together. So I talked to her one day, after much thinking, and said I was going to live like a lesbian for 6 weeks. Think, act, live, be a lesbian for 6 weeks then decide if that was what I was to be. Seriously. Well, girlfriend, when I came out of that close? It was like…it was like I had come out of the cocoon and was a butterfly. I haven’t looked back sense.

Telling my family wasn’t as pretty. Mom was NOT happy. Older sibling just laughed and said I’d get over it. Younger brother was cool. I don’t remember his reaction much. About a year later, I found Lorna and that’s where and who I have been since. Mother has gotten over it I guess. My younger brother’s kids call Lorna “Aunt”. 22 yrs and it seems we keep going backwards, not forwards.

I saw a bumper sticker in a catalog that said “If you want to defend marriage, why not ban divorce?”. And: “If the fetus you save is gay, would you still fight for its rights?”.

So, how did you know you were gay? How did you know you weren’t? When did it first occur to you that you might be gay or not?