Coming out of the closet and into this world as an openly gay person is the biggest, most important and most difficult thing a LGTBQ individual will ever do.
At the same time, it’s the most freeing and most empowering.
In honour of Pride Week here in my home city of Edmonton, I would like to open up and share my coming out experience with all of you.
I was 23 years old. I had just recently been engaged to a man for four years and now I’m gay? How could that be? I asked and asked myself this until I just knew the answer: It just is…you are finally you. I realized later I was just born this way, but figuring that out and accepting it is a whole other ball game.
After all, I was your typical little girl. I loved frilly things, tea parties and the colour pink. (Ok, some things just don’t change! 😉 )
And most of all, I loved anything and everything to do with Barbie. I had HER, all her friends, and of course, the wardrobe closet, sports car and motorhome.
[Fast forward, and my (now) wife and I were talking and I asked her, “Did your parents have any indication that you were a lesbian?” She came back with, “I don’t know.” Then I asked her if she played with Barbies when she was little. “Yep,” she said. And just as my mind compared our situations and put us in yet another “beautifully compatible” category, she adds, “My G.I. Joe would kidnap the bitch, duct tape her to the motorhome and steal her sports car!”]
Back to my story, I was a little bit of a “late bloomer” and although this self-discovery was a little down the road for me age wise, it felt amazing to finally know who I was – and moreover – to live the life I was meant to live.
But at this stage of the game, I was a newbie and needed to quickly learn the lesbian lingo, the right way to dress and where to go.
Lucky for me I had what every Rainbow Rookie needs. I had a token gay boy to show me all the ropes! He took me shopping, told me who the players were and in the end, became my best friend.
The year after coming out was one of the best of my life (so far). [Click to Tweet!]
I met tons of people, danced my butt off (literally), and went from a dull, mousy brown to a vibrant blonde! Yay for gay boy hairdressers! I also met my first “girl love” ever and although it ended three years later, she has remained in my life today as my sister and one of my best friends. Yep…18 years later!
The cloud still hung as time went on. My friends knew. My co-workers knew. Facebook didn’t exist back then, so no worries there. But, my mom and Dad and family didn’t know. Mom knew I had a “roommate” though…in my one bedroom apartment. This is the thing – I’ve never lied to her. I had always promised that if she ever asked me, I would tell her the truth. One day she did and I told her.
Mom took it well, or so I thought. Because next thing I knew, the parents I had been so close with chose to cut all ties.
They did not understand my lifestyle and why I was spending my time and life with a woman. I was crushed. I had no idea what to do. I decided to give them some time, as that’s exactly what I needed before dealing with it myself.
I let a little time go by and… nothing.
I ended up writing them a 12-page letter, explaining to them – in the most loving way possible – that I would not choose this path if it wasn’t who I was. That love is still love no matter what gender and that I loved the woman I was with. That I was being treated with respect – not just from my girlfriend, but also from others. And most of all, that I was proud to be their daughter, loved them for who they were, and want them to love me no matter what.
A year and a half went by and a life tragedy brought us back together when I lost my vision. It was a blessing in disguise.
That was over 16 years ago and I have since talked to my Mom about it. When we finally had a heart to heart, it turns out she was really hurt by the fact I kept this extremely personal aspect of my life from her. That I did not trust or respect her enough to share it with her and my Dad.
That is how she felt. They were hurt, not angry.
My heart broke. The love, respect and trust for my parents runs deep, but my fear at that time that they would not love and accept me for who I was took over. And I lost them anyways.
The good news is, a year and a half later, we reunited, rebuilt our relationships and I can confidently say my Mom and Dad are me and my wife’s biggest cheerleaders. (Love you Mom and Dad! 🙂 )
So, anyone reading this post that’s thinking about coming out but is scared because maybe they’ve been in the closet their whole life, ask yourself what you are afraid of?
Is your fear of losing someone greater than not being who you are meant to be FOREVER? And, who are you living your life for? Because I promise you, once you decide to love and accept yourself for who you are, so will everyone else.
This is your time to be free and feel empowered. You can be you and be true to the person you know you are meant to be. You are not alone and you will never be!
Come out and stand out. It’s your right and it’s your time! [Click to Tweet!]
So what’s your story? I would love to hear it. Comment below?
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