My Coming Out Story

October 12, 2016

Photo by Alyssa

October 11th is National Coming Out day, so naturally, it made me reflect on "my story." I was scrolling through Twitter like I do every morning and saw so much love and acceptance floating around, it made me incredibly happy.

Yes, it's 2016 and yes there are more people coming out every day, but it doesn't make it any less terrifying.

I was 26 when I came out to my close friends and family (I actually still haven't come out to my grandma, though I think she knows). I dated a guy I went to high school with on-and-off for about six years. He was in the military so for most of our relationship he was overseas. I was "his rock," so he would tell me. Once he was home for a bit and settled in, I brought up the fact that I may be bisexual. I always had an attraction toward women, but I couldn't be gay because I was seeing a man. I told myself I loved him, I told him I loved him, there was no way I was a lesbian. His response to that was "Ok, no biggie." And that was that.

I had a handful of gay and lesbian friends and they suggested I join their kickball team. It was the best way to spend Summer nights, we had a blast. I made new friends on the team and began to feel more comfortable about my attraction to women. Even though I never cared whether a person was gay, straight, bi, transgender, or otherwise, I had judgements within myself and didn't even realize it. I was not OK with myself being gay. I was not ready to admit I was a lesbian to myself or anyone, and so I pushed my feelings, everything, down. You know, to that deep dark place where we think they will stay forever. 

But, that isn't the case. They always come up for air.

One night my teammates invited to go out to a gay bar (my first one) and after that night I knew I was a lesbian. The details of that evening will stay close to me always, but from that night, I knew if I was ever going to be truly happy and live authentically, I had to end my relationship and come out. 

I was terrified, and it took me two months to finally to do it, but I did it. I apologized to him countless times and said 'I'm gay and I can't be in this with you anymore.' He was emotional, of course, and told me I was ruining his life. To him I was being a selfish b-word, but to me I was being true and accepting. I will never forget that moment.

When I told my family they were shocked and said things like "Your little brother has been out since he was 15, why did you wait so long?" They were thrown a curve ball because I was dating and living with a guy for several years, they figured he is who I would marry. That's the thing though, people think because it's 2016 (or because your younger brother paved the way for you) that it should be easy to just say "I'm gay!" 

It's easier for some than others, but we are all on different journeys and come out in our own way, when we are ready. That cannot and should not be forced on anyone.

I know there are LGBTQ and support groups out there, and I would love to be more involved in our community here in Seattle. There is no shame in seeking help whether you are out already or not. My support group was my kickball team and my younger brother. I don't know what I would have done without them. To this day I thank them for being there for me. For listening and for answering all of the questions I had.

There is love in this city. If you are in any groups or want to share resources, please feel free to reach out to me anytime on Twitter. 

Happy National Coming Out day <3