Last month, I came out to a few people close to me as a lesbian. For so long I’ve identified as pansexual but that label hasn’t felt right for quite some time. I’ve known for a while that I prefer and only want to be involved with women; however, there was a part of me that wasn’t ready to live in my truth. I’m finally embracing who I am.
I was a little scared to tell people how I now identify because I wasn’t sure what they’d say. Especially since I’ve been with men in the past. I’ve been reading various articles about women who date men for many years before realizing they’re a lesbian. I followed one music artist named Kehlani closely. She came out as a lesbian a few months ago after identifying as bisexual. She even has a child with a man. Knowing that these women came out later in life has been comforting.
There’s something so beautiful and exciting about finally embracing who you truly are.
My Coming Out Story
The first time I came out, I was in middle school. I’ve always been attracted to girls. My earliest memory of knowing I liked girls is 2nd grade. Some people believe being gay is a choice, and for some, it may be but for me, it isn’t. I recall being introduced to porn around this time and wondering why I felt certain sensations when I saw women naked. I would use the family computer to look up naked women and lesbian porn, something for which my older brother got blamed because no one thought a young girl would be looking at things like that. It was at this time that my girl friends and I began experimenting with each other. We’d kiss each other often which reassured me that I definitely liked girls.
Over the years I began to feel like something was wrong with me because I never saw women loving women. Eventually, in middle school, I decided to tell my mom I was bisexual. I wrote her a letter and put it under her bedroom door. Once she received it, all hell broke loose. At the time, my mom was drinking heavily and her true feelings often came out when she had too much to drink. She kept saying she wasn’t mad but it was clear to me and everyone else that she was furious. We got into a huge argument and I was left feeling worthless and ashamed of who I was.
I also came out to my friends and my older sister. My friends were extremely supportive and some of them said they already knew. My sister was pretty much my only family member who accepted me because everyone else thought it was a phase. I knew it wasn’t.
It took some time, but my mom has learned to accept and love me for who I am. I’m able to talk to her about women I’m interested in and she has even met a few of my ex-girlfriends. When I cam out as lesbian last month she confessed that she had wondered if/when I’d make my announcement. Some people truly know things about you before you realize them.
As time went on, I learned about pansexuality and realized it sounded more like me so I kind of came out again. I know labels don’t matter to some people but I like to be identified correctly.
That brings me to where I currently am now; identifying as a lesbian. I’ve told several people over the years that I know my life partner is a woman. I began feeling like I wanted to spend my life with a woman while still in my last relationship. The feeling was so strong that at one point I convinced him to let us have an open relationship so that I could date women. I went on several dates with one woman but it was short-lived and we decided an open relationship wasn’t for us.
I stayed in my last relationship longer than I should have for several reasons. I think he was so familiar and I’ve always been afraid of change. In a way, I was comfortable with the life I had but there was a part of me that yearned for more.
There are numerous reasons why someone may choose to stay in the closet or not fully embrace their sexual identity. They may not be living in an environment where it’s safe to do so, they may still be questioning themselves or they may just not be ready to. And that’s ok.
No one should ever be forced or feel pressured to come out. Yes, most of us would feel happier to live as our true selves, but everyone has the right to open up when they’re ready.
Today is National Coming Out Day. A day to support LGBTQ+ individuals in coming out.
There is power in recognizing and accepting who you are and sharing it with the world when you’re ready. Being able to live freely as our authentic selves is something everyone deserves.
If you’re currently “in the closet”, know that it’s ok. You are a worthy and deserving being. It might not seem like it now but there are so many people in the world who are willing to support you. Remember you are loved.
Happy National Coming Out Day!