It's National Coming Out Day, dear readers! I had dozens of mini-coming out stories submitted to my little contest, and wanted to share my top 10 favorites with you:
I was 18 in Idaho in 1980 when I fell in love with a girl. I came out, got fired from my job, kicked out of an apartment, driven off the road, threatened with a shotgun and blacklisted in the town I lived in. I moved to Los Angeles.
Told my parents I was bisexual. They asked, "Are you sure you're not a lesbian?" Oh, good job.
Told my mom. She cried. Then I got a girlfriend, told everyone at my Catholic school I liked girls, and buzzed my head. She got over it.
Me: (on ladder in Mom’s apartment, hanging paintings)
Mom: Honey, why do you dress like a man?
Me: (gets off ladder. deep breath) Because I’m gay, Mom. Actually, I’m bisexual, but gay will do.
Mom: (shocked pause) Does your husband know?
Mom: (thoughtful) Oh. My goodness. Okay then.
37. Dyke teacher. Dream. She actually had a two flat. One and a half hours of "ummm"..."ah"...and silence. Her patience. My revelation. Coming Out group. Me to therapist "I just realized I'm a lesbian and I'm happy. Is that normal?" Validation. A femme is born.
Was on the phone with a friend, joking that telling my parents I had a girlfriend wouldn't be a big deal, but since they had always said I was the son they never had but this might be taking it too far. Mom walked in, said "your dad owes me money. I won the bet."
I won this huge ass button that said, I like boys, at a carnival when I was 11. The next day in the girls bathroom at school, I asked a friend if she wanted the button. She asked me why I didn't want it and I said " I like girls."
Coming out to my grandfather. Everybody in the family thought that this would kill him. Me: "Pop, we have a huge thing in common..." He: "...?..." "Well, we both fall in love only with women - this is still great, isn't it?" He: "...*pondering*...*penny has dropped*...*beaming*..."
I was 24 and engaged to a guy. Decided to go camping overnight with a couple of old high school friends who were lesbians. Played truth or dare and stated that I really wanted to kiss one of them. It happened. Next day I dumped my fiance and moved out.
I was 22 and married when I started to get those "uh oh" moments. I didn't know who I could tell, and for some reason I went to my 17-year-old sister, terrified. Now, we share that day as our coming out day to each other!
My daughter came out to me one day when we went out to lunch and that gave me the strength to come out, 2 weeks later! That was about 15 years ago!
I picked that last one as the winner. Something about the idea of someone from the younger generation giving someone from the older generation the inspiration to come out just really moved me. Thanks to everyone who shared their coming out stories. I know how hard this can be, even if you always seemed like a lesbian . (Longtime readers will remember that I shared mine in five parts back in 2011. See Butch Wonders, Coming Out Married, Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.) Happy coming out day to everyone who is out, as well as everyone who is thinking about coming out. We're rooting for you!
Thanks to longtime BW reader Cat Fortier (of Unleashed Studio) for sending in this excellent illustration of a bow-tie-munching goat after reading my September 2 post about goat-milking. I love this! Wouldn't it be cool on a T-shirt or a coffee mug?
As you all know, the Supreme Court decided a little under a week ago that all states must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. I was really moved by the decision, which was more inclusive than I expected it to be, and it's been so interesting watching people's responses to it. I learned about it when my partner woke me and said, "Hey! We can get married anywhere now. The Supreme Court legalized gay marriage." I'm butch enough to admit that this brought tears to my eyes.
Though there's plenty to say about the decision itself, what it does and doesn't do, and what this means for the future of LGBTQ people in America and beyond, today I just wanted to share a collection of responses I've gathered from LGBTQ Americans in response to the decision. Some are from social media, some from face-to-face conversations. But I thought the breadth of them might interest my beloved BW readers.
It was a joy, indescribable... To see years of activism, its fruition, and then to see many who have been dreaming, hoping, and thinking the day would never arrive within their lifetime, folks in their 60's, even 70's. That made those countless marching in the suffocating heat, sleepless nights planning , organizing... Someday, when I meet the right one, my soulmate, I can get on my knee, with the certainty that wherever I am, we can plan our wedding, our marriage... not just a bunch of legalities and notarized paperwork...
I'm happy about the decision, but now my mom and stepdad will be on me more than ever to get married and have kids like my siblings, and that is not the life I necessarily want! I love my partner and maybe will marry her eventually, but I am just a different kind of person and don't want the same life. The marriage decision doesn't prevent me from feeling less valid in their eyes.
This means everything to me, as my wife and I are expecting our first baby in December. We are in California (married 2 years ago yesterday). Her entire family is in Texas, so whenever we've visited Texas since we've been married, I've reminded myself "we're not actually married when we're here." Because of the Supreme Court decision, we can travel to Texas with our child and be recognized as a family just as we are in California, and our child will never live in a world where their moms' marriage only exists in some states.
I'm still getting all teary-eyed thinking about all this... I mean, I know we have a LONG way to go before we have achieved true equality across-the-board... but still, this is so much farther than I ever dreamed we would get when 30 yrs ago this-here spikey-haired dykey 19-yr-old gave a ring to my then-girlfriend, and wished like hell that such a thing as marrying her was even possible.
So there you have it, dear readers--a sampling of the breadth of the LGBTQ response to the ruling. Thanks to everyone who wrote to me with their thoughts. I hope that regardless of your take on it, you're getting a chance to bask in this victory a little, in whatever way is meaningful to you.