Come out, come out. Wherever you are…
I guess I have always known that I was gay, or at least knew there was something different about me. As a child, I couldn’t have came up to you and said “Oh yeah, I like girls, not boys”. As a child born in the 80s and growing up in the 90s, there wasn’t too much exposure to the homosexual lifestyle, well, not like there is today anyway.
As a child I think I was oblivious the meanings of the words. Gay. Lesbian. Bisexual. In my recollection, I don’t think I had heard those words spoken by anyone in my family or anyone I knew. I was so innocent in the way I thought, that at the age of maybe 12, I named my pet mouse Dike. My reasoning for this was because at the time all our previous animals were named so they followed the letters on the alphabet (Alice, Biscuit, Cookie). We were up to the letter D and I originally wanted to call him Mike, but in keeping tradition with the alphabetical animals, I called him Dike. At that age I never saw anything wrong with it.
It wasn’t until high school that I began to feel different to everyone else. Having finishing primary school and only had one “boyfriend”, I still felt like something was amiss. The realization happened when I reached 8th grade and become friends with a good friend of my recently ex best friend. We began talking and getting close as friends and, without getting into too much detail, become closer than friends. It was my first real love, and my first heartache. Obviously our relationship didn’t stand the test of time, and although she reverted back to men for a brief period, she is now happily together with another woman and they have just celebrated the birth of their first child.
From the moment of that first encounter, its like a click went off in my head and everything started to make sense. I started to realise that the interests I had as a child were more than a friendship with my friends. I realised that I indeed had those feelings for girls at a young age, from what I can remember, as young as when I was in first grade. I remember always thinking about my best friend at the time and wanted to be around her. I remember all the stages young girls go through, where they have crushes on boys in class or celebrities they think are cute. I went through those too, but not in the same way. I didn’t want to be with those celebrities, but rather I wanted to BE them. Not in a sense that I wanted to be a boy, but I wanted to be them, because they always got the girl. And even with the primary school boyfriend. I think they don’t really mean anything, at least when I was young they seemed innocent enough. I just saw it as a thing that was a sort of rite of passage sort of moment in life. There was no real feelings, or excitement to do with the “relationship” it just kind of happened that way. He asked me out in front of a group of our friends and I said yes. It lasted a few months, before we went of to high school. He gave me a KCi & JoJo cd single, and we exchanged a few innocent kisses, but nothing more. Maybe I thought it was no big deal at the time, but now that I look back I can see why is was no big deal. It just wasn’t right. These things didn’t seem to click until I after I kissed a girl. There was something that became so clear after that moment. I am gay.
I know a lot of people have some epic coming out stories, but mine really isn’t like that. I didn’t decide to declare my love for her in front of all my friends and there was no celebration or defining moments. what happened was this. Her mother found out, she threatened to tell by parents. By “telling them”, she actually told my sister, who I begged to answer the call and say she was mum. I heard later on that my sister cried the night she found out. As quickly as the relationship started, it was torn apart. My friends at the time found out by circumstance. Some happen to be at the mall when they saw an altercation between the girl and her parents and immediately wanted to know what was wrong and why was she crying. Not being able to hide it, I broke and told them, They found it necesssary to tell most of our friends once we returned back at school.
When my parents found out, it wasn’t a sit down, and discussion on how I was gay and they needed to accept it. My father found out when a girl I had been seeing stayed with us at our home for a while and there had been a disagreement that happened which resulted in me telling them that “they don’t understand what I’m going through”. My father told me later on that that was the moment he knew I was gay, but it took him several years and both of us being drunk for him to tell me. My mother found out when I told her I was moving out with a girl and I had to explain that we only needed the one bed, and when we were settled into the new home I gave her a tour of our house and “our” bedroom. I never really uttered the words to my mother, but I know she knows. It’s kind of an unspoken thing that we have. And as for the rest of my family, I guess some know and some don’t although, I’m not quite sure on who does or doesn’t and quite frankly it’s not really any of their business. I’m not close with a lot of them anyway and the ones I am close to know….I think.
So I guess I never really “came out of the closet” as most people do. Instead of coming out when I was ready and letting everyone know at once, by opening that closet door opened wide and jumping out, slamming the door behind me, I kind of just stood in the closet with the door open and let passers-by know as they came by me in life. Except for the time when my friends told everyone, in which case, they flung the door open from when I was hiding and push me out in front of everyone and left me to deal with the effect of their actions.
I guess not everyone’s coming out stories are the same. And not everyone has positive or negative stories. In a sense we are always coming out, because we are always meeting new people. But I stand firm in the belief that we are not who we sleep with. I am never going to be that person that introduces them self “Hi, my name’s Blah Blah and I’m gay”. Sounds stupid I know, but I have met people like that. Not that there is anything wrong with that, that’s just not who I am. I want people to know me as the person that I am and not the person that I love. And I would do the same for others.