Love is love and it always wins. To celebrate National Coming Out Day, we asked some of our readers to share their coming out stories.
I’ve been out as a bisexual woman to my mom for three months. I’ve been out to my boyfriend as a bisexual woman for five months. They both had the same reaction: “Cool“. I’ve known for seven years. It was so hard for me to come out because of previous issues with family but the only opinion that matters about my sexuality is mine. Once I told them, I couldn’t have been happier. I only wish that everyone had the same reaction I did.
I first came out when I was 14 or 15. My best friend and I just looked at each other and awkwardly said “Are you..?” “Yeah me too,” and that was it. We didn’t discuss anything and it just hung in the air. Fast forward to now and I have told most of my friendship circle. I have had a wide range of reactions from “yeah, obviously” to “what’s that got to do with price of chips?” but all of them have been positive.
I am so grateful for the people around me. However, this doesn’t stop me from having a massive knot in my stomach every time I tell someone. Each time I slip it into conversation, my mouth goes dry and I wait for the negativity. The hardest conversation was with my Mum who just replied “I love you,” and at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about: love.
Coming out was never something I envisioned myself having to do until I fell into my first same-sex relationship. Looking back, it was obvious we were more than friends but in my head nobody suspected a thing. I planned to come out to my parents via text when they were on holiday so I wouldn’t have to deal with anything immediately, but things didn’t go to plan. I ended up telling them about the relationship whilst drunk in floods of tears. Nobody really said anything and when I woke up the next morning with a bad head my mum asked if I wanted to talk about it. I didn’t and felt like I shouldn’t have to and that was that. Like many, that relationship fizzled out and a few months later, I found myself in a heterosexual relationship. Many ignorant comments such as “make up your mind” and “so you’re straight now?” followed, which angered me to my core. “It doesn’t work like that,” I found myself saying over and over.
At this point, I hadn’t told the majority of my friends that I’d ever been in a same-sex relationship. The ones who did know didn’t really say much. When I found myself on the horizon for another girlfriend, I turned to them for advice. The general consensus was to tell the rest of my friends and get it out in the open. My heart and my stomach were competing in some sort of Olympic gymnastics competition when I told my friends I had something to tell them. “I’m bisexual…” I said, not knowing if that was the truth or not. And it was fine; they were still my friends and they still loved me. They made the occasional joke but it was nothing hurtful – not to me, anyway.
Being bisexual (which I think I am) is strange because you’re not on either end of the spectrum – when I have a girlfriend, people assume I’m gay and when I have a boyfriend, people assume I’m straight. But like I said, it just doesn’t work like that.
I suppose I am what you would call a “late bloomer.” The long story shortened is that I didn’t actually fall for another girl until I was 19 years old. And it hit me like a freight train. In retrospect, I’ve always had more of an interest in girls than in guys. My first few crushes were definitely on my close female friends, although I figured it was more of an admiration at the time.
On the rare occasion I did have a crush on a boy, whether it was in real life or celebrity, he was effeminate. I never swooned over the hunky film stars my friends lusted after and I never really had a boyfriend. I’m ashamed to admit that despite growing up in an extremely liberal family, I harboured a bit of homophobia when it came to lesbians. I had a plethora of gay male friends, but when it came to gay women I saw them as predatory and frightening. Perhaps this was due to the lack of lesbian representation in the media, but I could not equate these stereotypical butch women with myself. Still, I was enthralled by Tatu’s music video with schoolgirls kissing in the rain (although I pretended not to watch) and heat crept up my face whenever lesbians were mentioned.
One day in high school, I was waiting for a bus with two older kids I knew from drama society when they enquired about my relationship with a friend that I was becoming rather close with. I could not believe it. How could anyone think I was gay? But they did, which I assume mean others did as well. I swore it wasn’t true and I also quickly distanced myself from the friend they had asked me about.
Over the years, similar situations crept up on me and each time I denied it or changed the subject. I can remember the first time I was called a “dyke” rather maliciously and how hurt and embarrassed I was. It was not long after this that I fell properly in love for the first time. First loves very rarely last and this one was doomed from the start. With the girl long gone and my heart still broken, I remember lying in my bed at my parents’ house, age 21, not feeling anything at all. My mind was still blank when I found myself in my mother’s room blurting out the whole thing. We cried and at my request, she told my dad and brother. My parents said it didn’t matter and my brother said he knew all along. It was all very dramatic.
And then suddenly it wasn’t. As if by magic, things started to feel right. The weight was lifted and I didn’t feel like I was lying anymore— a decade long lie that I didn’t even know I was telling. Now I am trying to be what I never saw portrayed in the media when I was younger: proud to be girly and proud to be gay. Just proud to be myself, basically.
It was Christmas break, I was 25 and home for the holidays in West Tennessee. I spent about 30 minutes telling my mom that I was gay and living with my boyfriend at the time. I thought she took it pretty well. What was the problem?
Well about 6 months later, I got a strange text from my mom asking if I was gay. And then she called. You see she was on some pretty heavy medicine because she has MS and she actually didn’t remember our first conversation at all. So, I had to come out to my mom twice. TWICE!!! The second time was much easier though.
We still laugh about it now, but my heart has never beat so fast as I had been talking for 6 months about my boyfriend, thinking she understood and that it was going pretty well with her accepting it all. Guess that was my imagination! Ha!