The actual event of my coming out was spread out over a period of three years. I started to acknowledge my interest in the same sex towards the end of my senior year in high school. I dated guys in the past, but it was really only because that was all I knew of and/or was “acceptable”.
I never really felt strong connections with the guys I dated and the relationships, to me, only felt like glorified best-friendships. The first girl I had ever pursued changed everything I thought I knew about my sexuality.
She actually approached me first and hearing flirty compliments from a girl made something in my head click. I eventually found out I spoke to women with more ease, I felt more attraction to them, and soon the interest of being with a guy for the rest of my life dwindled down from 0.01% to some negative value. The first kiss I had with that first girl was the moment I knew that I was gay. It delivered a cocktail of feel good emotions and thoughts that I had never experienced. I could definitely declare it as natural and right to me.
All my life, I had always attributed my abnormal tendencies to being a hardcore tomboy, but as I was on my way to my first years of college, I could tell it was something more. I was lucky to discover and reinvent myself mostly out of the reach of my parents’ home, where I knew I’d be hindered from expressing myself and be battered with constant judgement.
But even with the diverse, commonly accepting world of college, I still battled with depression and rejection from family during my first years, especially since college and home were in the same city. Coming from a household that’s half African and half, Black and Southern Baptist, it was a constant battle to prove myself in a strict, culturally fasted environment.
So for awhile, I identified myself as bisexual and dressed feminine sometimes so my being gay wouldn’t seem “as bad”. My family only saw the true expression of my sexuality as being blatant disrespect and shame. I wasn’t mistreated or abused by them and I learned the word in church, so you may be wondering, was it even that bad?
Well, to them and many others, I was setting myself up for failure. Because I wasn’t being viewed as I woman with goals but as a young, black, masculine identifying lesbian woman in the Deep South who will never get her dream medical job, because she has a wife.
Whether I was at home or school, for at least two years, I’d get hammered by biblical fueled arguments or threats of being cut off financially and emotionally. So, I began drifting away from my family and working jobs so that I could support myself, in case they indefinitely decided to cut me off. I started to maintain amazing friendships, new and old, that accepted me and my changes without reservations.
Over time, I became more independent. I realized I was the one who controlled my happiness and could no longer let my families’ opinions put me in a dark, unhappy hideaway. Those labels that had been put on me, just like many others, are hindrances to our development as a person and, not until I realized that fact, did I feel like I truly came out. I had disregard labels and become a person.
Now in my senior year of college, I’ve come to terms with my sexuality and personality. My coming out was also aided by meeting the love of my life. My fiancee worked and opened my heart enough until the point I no longer cared what my family, or anyone else, had to say or how I looked to every one else. I wanted the world to know that I was in love and wanted to be with a woman, this woman, forever.
And that’s exactly what I did. I don’t hide from my family anymore, and if they no longer associate themselves with me, it’s their decision. I don’t make it for them, because I love and accept everyone, no matter what. I proudly wear my choice of clothing style everywhere I go. I no longer am ashamed to walk in public holding hands or go out on dates. I can look at myself and believe I’m just as great of a person as anyone else with the capabilities to accomplish all my goals, being a young, black lesbian and all. It took three long years, but I now know who I am and I am excited about who I’m becoming.
A Tribe Called News is collecting coming out experiences for “A Long Time Coming” series. To submit yours, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org