Today for the first time I experienced the joyful feeling of presenting myself as gay to a sympathetic straight person.
It was different from coming out to my friends who have known me my whole life as straight, because I didn’t have to “come out.”
It was different from meeting my coworkers because my orientation has not been discussed with them.
It happened while I was having lunch with a potential roommate. (The other roommate I have mentioned fell through, but I am hoping for continued friendship with her, and things seem promising in that department.)
“How soon do you want to move out?” Nicole asked.
“Well, I was hoping for beginning of August, but that’s unlikely… September would work, I guess. As soon as possible,” I said. “I feel like I can’t be myself at home.”
“What do you mean?”
I’d been allowing my thoughts free reign of my speech again.
“Oh, well, my parents are very conservative,” I explained.
Her face lit up. “Oh, that’s right, and you’re gay!”
Good job, I thought. She actually read my profile!
“Yes,” I affirmed, smiling like an idiot. It felt so good. I didn’t have to explain my past, I didn’t have to go into a history or explain the existence of an ex-boyfriend. To this person, I had always like girls. I was one of the homos. It felt like ticking off an item on the list of qualifications to removing the #notareallesbian tag.
“And your parents don’t support you?” Nicole said, almost in disbelief.
“Well…they don’t know yet.”
Her eyes widened. “Oh,” she said. “That must be so difficult.”
And suddenly I was telling her about my experience: not about how I realized my inner rainbow last year and made the giant leap from straight to not straight, but about what life was like at home, about my parents and the things people had said. For once it was nice not to be the gay convert. It was a clean slate like coming into the world from the first time as a new person. It was liberating.