The wonderful Mxnillin of mxnillin.com created an event called One Rainbow Apart, to give us queer and trans souls who cannot be at a physical Pride this month because of Covid-19 an event we could celebrate. I decided to go with my coming out story for this event.
The first time I thought about my sexuality I was a young child. I was 8 or 9 and kissed a boy in the bushes and thought it was the grossest experience of my young life. I was into my friend Christine. It was around then that it began to dawn on me I was not straight. I remember being worried about it, actually. My father, mother and step mother were very homophobic, and I already knew that being gay in my family was not going to be a Good Thing.
Some of my first sexual experiences were with female friends of mine. It was all rather innocent stuff, experimentation if you will. I did eventually start to develop feelings for boys too, and I’d never heard the word “bisexual.” I thought you were gay or straight, period. Because I was also attracted to boys, I found it was easier to bury my gay feelings than deal with them.
So in high school, and in most of the relationships I had in my teens, I chose male partners. But always, always in the back of my mind was my nagging feeling that really, really I’d prefer to be with a woman. It ate at me. I repeatedly fell in love with my straight female friends. Most of whom had some major homophobia to unpack.
One night, in sophomore year, I was having a sleepover with my friend Alicia. She had beautiful naturally platinum blonde hair, long and flowing. She was annoyed with her boyfriend and suggested we “dyke out.” I was all for this idea! She got nervous, I’m not sure why, and backed out. We went to sleep. The next Monday at school, our entire circle of friends knew I was into women because Alicia outed me and told everyone. They screamed slurs at me, and I was crushed.
I think my step mom had a pretty good idea that I was not straight, and she told me bisexuals (by this point I’d learned the term) were just confused and really liked having female friends. I knew that wasn’t right, but my step mom was (still is) a Republican Conservative, and I knew better than to speak up.
When I turned 18 I met a girl named Aubree. We dated casually but she was really ableist and my mental illness worried her. She said she didn’t want to support me. So, I married a man I had started dating two years later, at age 20. I didn’t yet know what polyamory was, and I had the misfortune of choosing a moderately conservative monogamous ex Catholic guy. He was 11 years my senior and well, it was some hard times. We had three kids, time went on. I wasn’t out to anyone but my closest internet friends. I had a fling with a woman around this time, and I regret cheating a lot. I was still in the closet, to my family, to his family. My being into women was kind of like an elephant in the room that we never talked about.
Both my ex husband and I converted to Mormonism in 2006. I’d just had my second child in as many years. I was suffering from very intense post partum depression. Some moms on LiveJournal (yes I’m old) lovebombed me…and against my better judgment I converted. It fucked me up. Especially when 2008 brought proposition 8 in California, a law that said marriage can only be between a man and a woman. I was told I’d lose my temple reccomend if I voted no.
I was deep into the cult, at that point. I started thinking about leaving. Thankfully, my midwives that delivered my third child at home were a lesbian couple, and one of them was ex-Mormon. Seeing them together gave me the strength to leave the church in 2009.
Finally after 12 tumultuous years together, I mustered up the courage to get a divorce. I thought, ok, now I can finally come out. But I didn’t, not yet. I had a six month relationship with a woman named Adela, but I still wasn’t totally out to my family. I think I made a post on Facebook on National Coming Out Day, which my father ignored completely. I still wasn’t out out. I was on the internet, maybe, but in my daily life? No, not really.
Then one day on FetLife, I met a transmasc genderqueer person, and they took me to the Pride parade in Fresno, CA. We went to a drag show at a queer bar the night before, where we got outrageously drunk, and then the next day melted in the 100 degree heat as we watched the parade go by. It was the first time I felt like it was ok, like I could be as queer as I wanted. I was beginning to accept the fact that I no longer wanted to be with cis men. It was 2016, I was 34. Finally, I felt Out. I came out to my kids, I stopped letting people assume I was straight. It was an enormous relief.
A year later I met a wonderful girlfriend named Katrina and we were together for a number of years until she got sick with cancer. She chose to move back home to the south where she was from, to be with family. Months later she died. It has been eight months since and I still miss her, all the time. But I am grateful for the time we had together, grateful my life was blessed with her presence, grateful that I was finally willing to let go of my internalized homophobia and be the pan lesbian I’d always been.
Now, I go to Pride every single year. Katrina and I went several times together, and I remember feeling so proud to be visibly out lesbians. By this point it’d been years since I spoke to my homophobic family, and I’d already made a queer family for myself via the internet. They remain my greatest support to this day.