Since it’s National Coming Out Day, I decided to take some time out of finishing up Between the Lines to tell my coming out story. Ahem, so here goes.
About twenty or so years ago…
My view of my sexuality was shaky when I went to college the first time back in 1991. I had a boyfriend then. Yup, big ol’ butch me had a boyfriend at one time. Hell I’ve had a few actually, but it just never felt right. Was it him? Was it me? Did I not have feelings? It took me years…years to figure out despite little clues including the way my eyes would wander toward and over the fairer sex.
Then, late one night I was working at the library at Indiana State University (my second stint at college and my third degree). I browsed the Internet, looking for the TV schedule for Xena. I had just discovered that too. What I found was fanfic.
Epiphany hit me in the head and man, I bled out all over the place. Talk about your ah ha moments. I was voracious, reading anything I could get my hands on. My understanding of myself grew, and I started seeing someone. That was over twenty years ago. We’re not together now. I’m with the woman I’m meant for. But, at the time, it never occurred to me to hide what I was feeling or hide who I was.
I told my friends at college first. Most of them rolled their eyes and snorted. “Like we didn’t know.” Was a phrase I heard many times over. Some didn’t like it so much but I said fuck’em either get over it or get gone. When I was home on spring break, I told my sister. She revealed that she’d suspected.
I wish somebody had told me!
The only person left was my mom. Some of my gay friends had told me horror stories about their parents and to support me they were on standby in case they had to come get me. I had no idea how it was going to go. While I was home, my girlfriend and I talked on the phone daily. Sometimes for hours.
This didn’t go unnoticed. My mother came to me before I could get to her. She’s a religious woman. She cried. I cried. She told me she didn’t want this for me. She told me she didn’t want my life to be that hard. Being black, a woman, and a lesbian?
She told me what the Bible said.
Things between us was strained for a long time, but somehow, we made it through. She accepts me, defends me against the people in my family who have still shown they have issues with me. Most of all, when she met the woman I’ve now been with for over ten years, she opened her arms and hugged her.
Hell, I’ve even gotten relationship advice from her because I can be an ass. I freely admit it.
Things worked out. It doesn’t for everybody. I know that for sure.
It did for me.