Tag Archives: Coming Out

Discover Your Truth & Claim It

15 Feb

The greatest thing you could ever do for yourself is discover your truth and claim it.  As I was winding down my relaxing, snow-infested, wine-infused evening on Valentine’s Day with a best friend, I decided to check Twitter.  The first tweet and essentially every one thereafter rattled off congratulations among other things to talented actress and all around articulate individual Ellen Page for coming out at the HRC Time to Thrive Conference.  Needless to say my little lesbian heart stopped and began to fill with love and happiness for her.  I don’t think I could have asked for a more appropriate and warm ending to Valentine’s Day (unless maybe… if I had like an actual girlfriend).

Standing tall and proud at 5′ 1″ with a fiery passion in her voice, Ellen Page’s presence engulfed the room and touched my soul through my laptop.  While she was visibly nervous (appropriately so), the mission and purpose of her speech rose above it.  She so eloquently narrated the struggle that countless people are experiencing day in and day out.  She took a community of people and hoisted them upon her shoulders while simultaneously standing beside them.  Not only did Page reassure the LGBTQ community that she hears them and has too crawled through the dark spaces in the closet, but she reminded the entire world of how simply being less horrible to one another could make a significant difference; a seemingly easy task that so many people cannot master or even practice.  Prefacing her coming out with 5’30” of poetic prose describing poisonous Hollywood standards and stereotypes, the importance of finding community, and the significance of everyone’s story demonstrates that she is honorably taking on the behemoth monster that is equality.  She said it herself:

“Maybe I can make a difference.  To help others have an easier and more hopeful time.  Regardless for me, I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility.  I also do it selfishly because I’m tired of hiding and I’m tired of lying by omission.”

Oftentimes when spotlight figures come out, those who have no grounds to make comment tend to do so in the most careless ways.  High atop pedestals, there are some heterosexuals who feel as though what they have to say is valuable and warranted when it fact the opposite is true.  Comments such as “it’s about time she came out” or “this is news because…” or “I knew she was gay” or my favorite from heterosexual men: “what a shame, she’s good looking.”  I say this to them: until you’ve carried the burden of being closeted, the fear, the hopelessness… there is nothing you can say to that individual that can take away their truth and journey.  Commenting on someone else’s truth and experience is meaningless especially when you’ve never experienced anything resembling it.  Hell, even if in your mind you think you’ve experienced something resembling their experience, I can assure you it is not the same.

Ellen Page coming out is important for endless reasons because there are still an endless number of human beings struggling in silence, on the receiving end of abuse, and a plethora of other byproducts leftover from living your truth when it does not fit into societal standards.  When I was younger and still in the closet the only examples of gay women near my age were fictional characters.  While I found support from those fictional characters, I’m confident that the impact would have been far greater if I had had a significant, real life example.  I can guarantee that hundreds if not thousands of young teens and beyond gained some courage and confidence last night after hearing Page’s speech (the same can be said when Michael Sam came out).  So yes those questioning, every time an important figurehead discloses their sexuality to the public, it is important and it does make a difference. In addition, Page is showing her immense bravery as a member of Hollywood, an industry where image and reputation is the most important factor (mind you she is in the upcoming X-Men film).

“Love, the beauty of it, the joy of it, and yes, even the pain of it is the most incredible gift to give and to receive as a human being and we deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame and without compromise.  There are too many kids out there suffering from bullying, rejection, or simply being mistreated for who they are.  Too many drops outs, too much abuse, too many homeless, too many suicides.  You can change that and you are changing that; but you didn’t need me to tell you that…”

The closing statements of Ellen Page’s speech that left me teary eyed said it all.  Coming out matters because love is one of the most incredible experiences we can have as human beings.  It matters because you help pave the path to equality a little bit further.  It matters because one day we won’t have to come out anymore.

You Got Your Orientation Wrong

11 Nov

glauxnest.blogspot

Exhalation of relief…  You’re feeling weightless and naked.  After all of these months, years, you’ve finally come to terms with yourself that you are indeed sexually and/or romantically attracted to people of the same gender.  With such bravery and confidence you bare your soul and come out to the people in your life who mean the most.  They accept and support you more than you could have ever asked.  The road before you is paved and ready to discover life as you’ve always imagined it could  be.  Bright, colorful, vibrant, exciting. Exhalation.

A couple of years have passed since your revelation and you’ve bloomed ever so beautifully into your being.  Girls have come and gone, which is fine because you’re exploring what you like and don’t like.  You mostly frequent heterosexual establishments (because there are no gay bars around) and have no trouble catching the attention of male admirers (No offense to the male population, but all a woman has to do is exist and you swarm.  This is also my discontent with women not approaching me with such ease, manifesting).  With all of this male attention your mind starts to wander back over to the land of heterosexual, one that you’ve actually never visited.  A sort of panic rushes over you.

These thoughts of being with men start to intrigue you and your curiosity grows.  You become confused because you can’t figure out if your curiosity for men stems from your lack of attention and relationships with women or if you’re genuinely curious.  In reality, experimenting with a man for the first time after many women is not that big of a deal.  But in your head and your heart it goes against everything you’ve been piecing together about yourself since childhood.  What does it all mean?  After all, you are a red blooded woman and your biological urges still exist despite your declared sexuality.  I’m talking about sex.  You get urges and maybe you start to realize that for you, it doesn’t matter what gender the person satisfying you in that arena is.  Does this mean you’re not gay then?

This brings up the whole complex web/umbrella/scale of sexuality of which I claim to be no expert about at all.  Sometimes you can be sexually attracted to both genders and only romantically attracted to one or the other.  How do you deal with that?  Mention having a fling with a man and your friends will respond  “Told you!  We knew you were straight.”  Or maybe your parents will clasp their hands together thankful that your “phase” is finally over.  Obviously both responses are irrational because sexuality is not  black and white, but most people find it difficult to grasp that concept.  How does that affect you emotionally?  I imagine  the emotions are similar to coming out as something other than heterosexual.  It must be even more difficult especially if you’re a “Goldstar Lesbian” because it’s like My Whole Life has Been a Lie: Part II.  All of this could be avoided if our culture wasn’t sustained on a three choice orientation system.

You’re either gay, straight, or bisexual (but they get a lot of shit).  If orientation was taught, discussed, and accepted more widely on the scale system like it really is, we wouldn’t have such a need to declare a sexuality.  We  would also be less fearful to admit to ourselves and others when our desires and attractions change. We are human beings.  We are meant to grow, evolve, and discover ourselves.  Discovering who you are is both frightening and rewarding I know.  It takes practice, but eventually you’ll make all the decisions that correlate to your happiness.  I’m still working on that too.  We’re all getting there.  We’ll get there someday.  You didn’t get your orientation wrong, you just found something else that also floats your boat.

My Coming Out Story.

18 Oct

At 23 posts I suppose it’s about that time I share my “coming out” story with my readers.  My apologies for my lack of posting (if anyone cares).  I’ve been a tad busy trying to be a real adult, which is rather challenging…  And my apologies for how wordy and unnecessary the following stories will seem:

I consider myself quite fortunate to be one of those lesbians who subconsciously knew she was different at about age 10.  I recall chasing girls around the playground and wanting to hold their hands much more than the boys; and that didn’t seem strange or abnormal to me at all.  I just knew that it was girls who made my stomach do backflips, and it felt good, and I wanted more.  To this day I still remember the girl that stole my heart at the jungle gym.  She’s married now (holy shit I must be old.  23 isn’t old), but even still when people ask me when did I know I was gay, I always mention her and my heart flickers a bit because she’s the one that started it all.

In 8th grade when girls started to experiment with boys and talk about them all the time I remember participating in conversations but I felt disconnected.  But like every year of my life it seems, there was a girl I had a crush on and we had this (what I thought) was an unspoken attraction.  I didn’t know what we had and I was probably misinterpreting everything per usual, but there was a reason I cried the day she moved and I never saw her again.  Such a sap I am.  In between her was another crush on someone who used to be my best friend (I know we were 2 way crushin’ on the first girl) and we played softball together.  GO FIGURE.  All the attractive and cool guys wanted her and she eventually picked one of them to be her long term boyfriend.  I was devastated especially because I thought we had some weird unspoken attraction as well.  I’m hardly wrong about those unspoken attractions.  Fast forward a few years and what do you know she’s dating a woman and they’re still together to this day!  All the while with these crushes, my ultimate crush was on this “gothic” beauty Amy Lee from Evanescence.

If you took a peep at all of my notebooks and binders from 7th grade though High School there was a 96% chance that Evanescence symbol would be scribbled somewhere.  This woman was the first significant female celebrity crush I had.  I owned every poster, magazine cover and article, CD, saw her in concert, and even had some autographed concert tickets and a belt buckle she apparently wore during one of her concerts.  Needless to say I was completely obsessed.  Fast forward to the latter days of High School and I was ready to come out to my friends.

The great thing about my High School friends (who are still my good friends) is that they were and still are the forward thinkers, the intellectuals, and the “hippies” so to speak.  I couldn’t ask for better friends.  I told different groups of friends at different times and they all had the same reaction: Explosive laughter and a bunch of “we’ve always knowns.”  What a relief. I  knew they would react that way but your first time coming out to meaningful people is difficult.  Fast forward to my freshman year of University and I was ready to come out to my parents.  *cue foreboding music*

Ah yes, the dreaded coming out to your parents.  What a stressful and anxiety ridden period.  Before I came out I bought Chaz Bono’s (then Chastity) book Family Outing: A GUIDE TO THE COMING-OUT PROCESS FOR GAYS, LESBIANS AND THEIR FAMILIES and studied the pages as if I had finals that week.  Once I felt confident enough in myself with the backing up friends and my roommates, I plotted my plan (I’m so grateful for the friends I made at University because they really helped me through a lot and I truly could not ask for better confidants).  I decided the best way to communicate with my parents would be to write two heartfelt letters because I wanted to make sure I was as thorough and clear as possible.  My parents are divorced so I had to do this twice.  I strategically gave my dad his letter a couple hours before he left for a week long vacation.  Mind you it took me at least an hour to build up the courage and hand it to him before I ran away and buried my head under pillows.  He read it, cried, hugged me, and apologized for making gay jokes in the past and proceeded to explain to me the kind of environment he grew up in and their opinions on gay people.  I eventually gave him the Chaz Bono book and he still has it in his desk drawer.  I’m unsure if he ever read it or not.  Overall I think it was a pretty successful coming out.  Although I was told a year or so down the road that he thought I was going through a phase.  That was about five years ago and surprise I’m still falling in love with ladies.  Giving my mom the letter was much easier.  I stopped by her house when she wasn’t there and left the letter in one of her drawers.  I called her and asked if she got it and of course she didn’t because I put it in the one drawer she never looks in.  After she read it she called  and laughed at me saying she’s known since I was in 6th grade.  Who knew?!  She then called the local PFLAG organization and had a conversation for whatever reason.  Coming out to my mom was a success as well.  I’m sure there were some feelings of sadness because I am her only daughter and you guys know how moms are.

At 23 years old I have the joy of saying I’ve never been rejected by any family members or friends.  At least not explicitly rejected.  My parents and I have never talked about my sexual orientation since I gave them the letters, which is understandable.  My family doesn’t really talk about dating or people we’re interested in because we’re all very much our own  private entities.  Whenever I do have the pleasure of finding a girlfriend I will not hesitate to introduce her to my family.

One thing I didn’t talk about in my story was the  depression and void I felt before coming out.  I think I touched based on it in my previous post, but if you can imagine it was horrendous.  I didn’t even feel like a real person.  It was more as if I was watching someone else on a little television with bad reception in a dark room.  The closet is truly suffocating and you’ll never be able to start your life until you acknowledge those feelings.  It’s one of those clichés that are overwhelmingly truthful.  So for anyone that has yet to come out, I highly encourage you to.  Seek the right people out if you need help whether it’s a friend or a stranger online.  Seek me out.  Life is much better on the outside, I promise.

So… How Do You Know If You’re Attracted To Ladies?

11 Feb
Image

From the short film “Empty Sky”

Most things generally make sense in hindsight.

When I was in 4th grade there was one specific girl that captured my attention.  To this day I can still tell you every single thing that kept my attention.  From her freckled face smile to her boyish haircut just long enough to blow in the wind, there wasn’t a thing I didn’t like about her.  I wanted to chase her around the playground and I wanted to hold her hand until the bell rang.  The day she moved away I remember feeling an emptiness I had never felt before because I thought I’d never see her again.  I never did see her again.

From 4th grade on I noticed the only human beings who moved me were girls.  However, I do remember leaving a special valentines in a boys locker during the 6th grade.  I don’t think I liked him but he liked me so I thought I was being nice?  He did have unusually large muscles for an 11 year old so maybe I was attracted to his physique.  Who knows…

It was in the 7th grade when a lightbulb finally licked for me and I realized ‘holy shit I am completely different from everyone else around me, what the hell am I supposed to do?!’  I hardly spent any period of time denying my feelings for girls because they were just too strong to pretend like they didn’t exist.  Although I have been told by my lovely friends that I identified as bisexual at one point, which is probably true because committing yourself to one side of the spectrum is scary especially when it’s just expected that as a girl you’re supposed to love the D.

But I loved the V.

Attraction is universal for all sexualities.  You know when you like someone because they make you feel insane and you live on the fringes outside of your mind and body.  They’re the only person who can make you feel nervous, crazy, happy, depressed, and every other emotion AT THE EXACT SAME TIME.  Basically a mixture for an atomic meltdown.  You have to force yourself to think about something else other than them for just one minute of relief.  It’s pretty simple… If they make your entire being vibrate, you might be attracted in that romantic way.  A man has never even come close to making me feel anything like that.  I’m laughing while typing this because it’s just so hysterical how not attracted I am to men.  Sure I find some physically attractive at times, but that’s about it.   I don’t want to write poems about you or spend ridiculous amounts of time hanging out doing nothing with wandering hands.  But for a beautiful woman sign me up!  You don’t move me fellas and that’s perfectly fine.

Attraction can be scary especially if you find yourself falling for someone who maybe doesn’t fit into your list of past mates.  That’s when you have to make grown up choices and address the situation because everyone knows avoiding feelings does nothing more than slowly kill you from the inside out.  Unbelievable amounts of bravery will be needed.