Wow. I wasn't expecting to write this, at all, but I just got a text from my friend – she told me the LGBT Center of St. Louis was asking:
What was it like when you came out to your friends or family? Did you choose the time and place, or was it spontaneous? Was it better or worse than you expected? Did they already know?
It's kind of a sore subject for me, to be honest. I was raised in church – I was even a Sunday School teacher for a few years as a teenager. I was very involved in church, and was always told that homosexuals (fags, dykes, whatever word they chose to use at the moment – but on the pulpit it was “homosexuals”) burn in hell. Even though I knew there was something different about me, I never suspected that it was… that.
Over the years, I tried to have boyfriends. I explained to my mom that I didn't really enjoy being with them… I wasn't really attracted to them… she kept saying “You just need to find the right one”. I thought she was right. She was raised catholic, so she felt the same way about homosexuals as my Pentecostal church did.
I remember one time, I was a teenager but I don't remember how old I was, I was staring at a rather butch lady. I didn't know why I was staring, I was intrigued by her. My mom didn't notice, and said “Oh, look at that dyke”. I didn't even know what a dyke was, but my mom was laughing at her because of how she looked. She would always say “ewwww” if we saw lesbians, but never said anything about gay men.
I knew how “wrong” it was to be gay (says the church), so I never explored any feelings I had. I was never really attracted to women, but definitely intrigued by a certain look some of them had about them.
Enough about that…
In 2008, I met Rachel. Ohhhh Rachel. :) When I walked in and saw her, it seriously.. I swear to you.. was love at first sight. I had never been so attracted to anyone in my life. It wasn't a lustful, sexual attraction. It was just, hard to explain. She was beautiful.
I was still in church at the time, but didn't think about that. I didn't care. She was an amazing person, inside and out, and we connected right away – on a level I didn't even know was possible. It felt so natural, so perfect. I'm not going to lie, it was weird at first but only because of the looks people would give me when I told them about her. People thought I had gone off the deep end. The church tried to pray some demons out of me (I stopped going shortly after), and my mom refused to talk to me about it.
Yeah, back to my Mom… she wasn't really keen on lesbians and shit, so I knew it was going to be rough. I didn't even tell her about it until I knew for sure that Rachel and I were going to be together. When I told her, she thought I was lying. Then she thought I was doing it to piss her off. Oh, and then she thought it was “a phase”. She refused to meet or acknowledge Rachel. Shortly after, Rachel and I moved in together and I think Mom finally realized I was serious. She backed off a little, and over the past 3 years or so she has finally gotten used to the fact and doesn't say mean things anymore. My mom's best friend's daughter came out around the same time I did, which is hilarious because both she and my mom felt the same way about it. At least they had each other to lean on, right? ;)
The kids loved Rachel from the beginning. They were young, so they weren't confused – they were used to me being a single mom and never had a Dad in the picture, so it wasn't as complex as some situations are. I'm thankful for that, because it was hard enough to leave the church and change my entire life – what I had always thought was what I was going against at this point… so it was rough.
Most of my friends stopped talking to me (they were from the church). Some friends I went to school with in elementary and middle school connected with me on Facebook – and a few of them said they “knew” back then. I was like WHAT?! I didn't even know then! It's interesting to see people that knew about it before I did, though.
I have had my fair share of rants here at Slap Dash Mom about homophobia. These two are my favorites:
Open Letter to the Anti-Gay Home Depot Employee
Anyway, I'm rambling now… I just wanted to share some photos of my love – ironically enough today is our anniversary. Well, not our actual anniversary.. but we do celebrate every month we've been together on the 11th. Our 4 year anniversary is January 11th. We are just like any other couple. We've had good times, and even a few bad times, but overall our relationship is amazing and I wouldn't change it for the world. I love her, and I love that there is a COMING OUT DAY… I didn't even realize that until people started PMing me this morning. :)