10 comments on “The First Time I Saw Your Face, I Knew (Coming Out, Part 1)

  1. In contrast to your seemingly straight life though the years and growing up, I knew I liked girls as far back as I can remember! I remember being in first grade and noticing how pretty this one girl was in my class. While a little boy would bring me gifts and tell me I was pretty, I would glance back and smile at her. The one thing about your story that is common to mine is the fear and sort of desperation that I felt about society’s expectations of me. How would people react to me when I came out? Especially my mom…how would she react? This paralyzing fear kept my sexuality hidden for years. Thankfully, now I am free!

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    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, and for following my blog! It is sad that this fear of what people will think is such a universal experience in our community – but I am glad you are now living free of that fear. I too am most afraid of my mom’s reaction. What did your mom say when she found out?

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      • She told me that I don’t have a mother anymore and she kicked me out. It was a tough time in my life. I lost most of my family, and the rest but two tried to exorcise the gay out of me at church. This was many years ago. I was seventeen and my grandmother let me live with her. She and my brother were the only ones that never turned their backs on me. After a month of living with my grandma, I found an apartment and lived on my own after that. Now my mom has learned that love is love and that I am happy. Things are better. But it was rough for a long time. The only thing that consoled me was that living in secret made me lie to my mom a lot and telling her the truth made me feel free and not have to lie to her all the time.

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  2. Wow! That had to be a really awful time. But you are absolutely right that it is much better not to have to live in secret…it’s really dark and stuffy living in the closet!

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  3. Hey – perhaps “I have a boyfriend but I think your’re hot”, is just the thing to say – maybe 😃 ? I always find directness, without crudeness, I think I mean openness, helps more than anything else. When I was growing up many years ago I just felt I wasn’t either gay, straight, bisexual, or asexual, (the only options then), exactly, because I was only ever aroused by people when I felt a lot of pity and sympathy for them, and that occurred regardless of their female or male appearance personality traits, so I thought, how can I think I’m bisexual when it’s not about their sex, and when I only want to kiss them, at most, as regards physical contact? I was aware I was romantically, aesthetically, and sensuously attracted to women, and wanted a romantic relationship with one, but I didn’t think I wanted intimacy with women, and wondered if I could be a lesbian on those factors alone – I wondered that more and more as time went on into my 20s – I was ill, and through that dependent on my family for support, and they were extremely homophobic – I tried to find the answers n secret from my family, but never could. Searching, I had a lot of different experiences through my 30s, and tried on mostly no labels, sometimes lesbian or bisexual – not only did neither of those exactly fit, still, but I never could tell what others understood me to mean by those labels. Finally, in the last few years, I have found others have these nuances of mixed orientations, and I’m not alone. I wish you luck and joy and fun with your discoveries. I hope your mother doesn’t turn against you as mine did when I as outed.

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    • Hey! Thank you so much for sharing your experience…it sounds like you bravely navigated a very confusing time. I personally think labels just make things more confusing for us, and having your family around to hinder the whole discovery process is certainly difficult. It would be nice if we had a more inclusive word to use for women who like women, whether that attraction is mostly romantic, like yours, and whether or not that woman also likes men. “Lesbian” tends to be divisive and exclusionary – if someone calls herself a lesbian and then has a relationship that isn’t sexual and with a woman, she is a traitor to her identity. And yet it’s bold and gets the point across better than any other word. You are definitely not alone in your nuanced orientation! Is your mom more supportive now? I am certainly dreading the moment I have to come out to my family. It will probably be later this year, but I feel like it’s a matter of calculating my own estrangement from them.

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  4. Hey you’re very welcome. I kind of have mixed feelings about labels – I used to think they were very unhelpful, and especially the lesbian one, for the rasons you say, but galso generally because lots of lesbians in the circles I moved in used it to mean “strictly most typical lesbians only, i.e., non-femmes, physically attracted to women, down-to-earth, etc – as all others are confused straights/fakes/unacceptable straight whatever” – with, a lot of inaccurate, unfair, and un-compassionate views on women who were drawn to women but, weren’t like the typical lesbian and I would say, also, more mainstream idea of a lesbian. However, now there are so very many labels which can be used, I think it kind of gets the point across that many important nuances exist in peoples’ love n social natures, and so no label we use to describe us need to be taken/used as written in stone as meaning – whatever the rejectors of difference thought or said it meant. I hope that makes some sense. My mother is still exactly the same in views, but I have been back in the closet for years as far as she’s concerned and most people are concerned – which I have no regrets about – as I’ve had to accept we’re not close. We don’t see eye to eye on anything as she has taken the dogma of her religion very much to heart, and I don’t share her religion, haven’t since I was 14, and I am and have been involved in so much stuff that bans, just while following my own conscience and ideas of happiness. As someone into my forties, I became resigned to that, accepted it, a long time ago, though I’ve always felt it’s sad we’re not close – I think it’s far from ideal, but sadly life is often far from ideal isn’t it. Which is not to say I don’t wish you the very best with your mom – I really do.

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    • It is truly sad when someone ceases to interact with the people she loves and allows her religion to step in and do it for her. Your mother (who sounds very much like my mother, I’m afraid) seems to be like this. Dogma is sitting in the pilot seat and running the whole ship. It speaks through them to the point where all their opinions and beliefs and worldviews are defined by it. I don’t know if this is helpful to you, but when my mom says harsh things to me or treats me badly because of some difference of opinion or “lifestyle choice” (so far, my having lived with my boyfriend and my social drinking are sending me to hell) I try to see that it’s not really her treating me like that, it’s the religion. But yes, it is a part of them, and that is who they are. My mom recently questioned why I have lost my faith and no longer go to church. I told her I wasn’t comfortable talking about it, but that it had absolutely nothing to do with her. That helped a little. She takes everything personally, including my beliefs and lifestyle. It’s hard to get them to see it’s not about them!

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  5. Yes, thanks, your mom does sound very similar to my mam, and I can totally relate to what you say, ‘re it is the religion not her. I don’t know if this applies to your mom but with my parents their reliance on religion is as I see it is tied to deep psychological wounds they have. They grew up being bullied for their religion and hearing how most of their ancestors were persecuted for it, so for them it is a matter of a tribal loyalty thing which they cannot extract from their sense of identity, and apart from that, they’ve had very difficult lives and became reliant on it as a coping mechanism years ago, so they cannot give it up. If I had been bullied for it as a child too, been exposed to the idea that it was a huge issue what religion you and your family was, maybe I would have turned out the same way, but I grew up in a mileau relaxed about all of that, with no-one ever referring to my religion that I can remember, even though it wasn’t the same as our neighbours and friends. I know what you mean about taking it personally ‘re your mom, as my dad used to be like that until very recently, when we were able to talk about the very controversial to us topic of religion after many years. My mother has never taken it personally that I left their church, but she just is a very very very unchanging person as regards her views about everything and totally close-minded, with any attempt to discuss evoking distress, so I just have to accept that’s the way she is.

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    • You know, your parents’ relying on religion as a sense of identity totally resonates with me. Until I was about 22, “Catholic” was pretty much my whole identity, and having been brought up in a Protestant home, that faith was judged and put to the test every day. Your parents no doubt suffered great hardships to maintain their faith, and that is something to be respected. It is difficult though when they don’t give you the same freedom to make your choices the way they want for themselves. It is my hope that your acceptance of your mom the way she is will lead her to accept you the way you are.

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