Whenever people find out I’m gay, they almost always want to know how I “came out.” It’s one of those inevitable questions that you know you’re going to get and, at this point, the answer is pretty well rehearsed.
I first knew I was gay when I saw Bend it Like Beckham in the movie theater. I saw Keira Knightley on screen and finally realized what it meant to be attracted to someone. The instantaneous reaction of your body was probably a reaction familiar to everyone I knew but evidently I’m late bloomer. I never had crushes on my friends. I never lusted after anyone other than JTT and the Backstreet Boys because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. It wasn’t until that moment when I knew I was experiencing real attraction.
For that, I will always be grateful to the beautiful Miss Knightley.
I didn’t actually tell anyone until years later. I had my epiphany moment but really didn’t know what it meant and definitely didn’t want to share it with anyone. I was ashamed and confused but luckily not attracted to very many girls, so it wasn’t something I actively had to worry about.
Then, junior year of college, I had a crush on a girl named Anna. She was a new friend and went to a nearby college (and actually, surprisingly, is one of my best friend’s now). My friend Julie and I were driving to visit our friends at this nearby college and I was a little drunk (clearly I wasn’t driving). The previous night was one of the times my boobs got abused so I had done some morning drinking before our departure time… I needed it.
I just threw into the conversation, “Hey, Julie, will you make sure I don’t hit on Anna tonight?” She just took it in stride. She didn’t ask any questions, she just assured me that she would help and I quickly changed the subject.
A little after that, I decided to come out as “bisexual” to a couple of my friends. I remember the day when I knew I wasn’t bi. A girl in my sorority had evidently just broken up with her girlfriend from back at home but, curveball, no one had known she was gay. I enter a party, am told the gossip, and loudly declare that I’m on the case! I walked up stairs and within 5 minutes was making out with her. The thing is, I wasn’t very attracted to this girl. But that didn’t matter. I was more physically attracted to this girl I was making out with than any guy I had kissed or seen previously. I knew then that I am super gay.
Coming out to my parents was much harder. I was on the phone with my mom almost a year after I first came out to my friends and just decided to say it. Her first response was, “Don’t tell your father.”
This was both shocking and hurtful. My dad is Republican and we had gotten into an argument about gay marriage years earlier. He was probably the scariest part of coming out for me.
I kept my composure and asked why, even though I was sure I knew the answer. I didn’t. At least not really.
She told me that my dad was worried about my impending graduation and that I might not be able to find a job and that he’d have to support me.
Well that’s just hurtful in a whole different way.
She told me she thought it would be better to wait until I was on my own feet so he wouldn’t be supporting me. Okay, that is more like it. She was worried he wouldn’t support me financially if I was gay. Yep, that hurt.
A couple weeks later, my mom told my dad. I don’t know why. They are divorced and I always just refer to it as “divorce politics” to make it simpler. I knew she told him and so when he would call, I wouldn’t answer. I was too scared. Maybe a week of me
ignoring him passed before he finally sent me an e-mail. I still know it by heart:
Mom tells me you might think you are gay. I want you to know that I love you and support you no matter what. I’m proud of you. Call me.
It’s still probably the sweetest e-mail I’ve ever received. I’m lucky because both my parents are supportive. They just want me to be happy. I know I’m very lucky to have them both because there are plenty of people who don’t get this type of support from their families.
But I’m gay and they love me just the same. Coming out may have taken years and years but I’d say it went pretty well for me. Now I’m extremely comfortable telling the people that I meet that I’m very, very gay.