Katie is another relatively new friend of mine from Real Life who tore up some animal hospital night shifts with me for the past several months. She has an affinity for Queen, energy drinks, Indian food, and Jimmy John’s employees, and she is another one of the strongest people I know.
She has had a very unique situation in coming out as gay to her family and friends in that she actually had to come out twice. Check out her post below for more details!
For many people coming out as gay to friends, family and general people you interact with in your life can be one of the most nerve racking processes.
Is it the right time?
Will they still see me or just see my new label?
Will they love me?
Will I still have a job?
Will they be uncomfortable around me?
All of these thoughts ran through my head when I came out in 2008. I started with my closest friend and then moved on to tell my family. Living many states away from my family- meant I had to do it over the phone. I was met with mixed reactions, but none of them were bad- I will say I truly have an amazing set of family and friends. I am very blessed and I am grateful for this.
Shortly after I came out I became involved with my first “official” girlfriend (I had others in the past but they were always kept on the down-low). We dated for a total of 4 years. About 9 months into our relationship, my partner came out a transman. So my girlfriend became my boyfriend. At this point while some friends had met my partner pre-transistion, my family had not. When they did a month after his transition, they met him with his new name and new gender so to them they only knew him, not her.
Many questioned why I stayed if I was a lesbian. While this was really no ones issue to understand but my own, the truth is I love the person at this point. Not the gender. I tried to explain it to people when they questioned this but unless you have been in a spot like this it is hard to understand fully. His gender did not affect how I felt about him. I love the person. I started to realize people started to remove the “gay” Label from me. This was part of who I was and I had no control if people saw it or not. I was proud to be a lesbian. I had fought so long to keep it hidden away, I didn’t want to lose it now. But for the sake of my partner I just let it all happen. I even felt like I had to fight for a sense of community in the LGBT community. No matter how much I stated I was a lesbian- I was more often then not seen as straight. I was the straight girl dating the transman.
Now fast forward to our breakup. I was a good choice for both of us (trust me). Part of me was overjoyed at the end of it. I get to be a lesbian again. This was a deep part of who I am. To me it’s the same as I am a girl with brown hair, or a girl who wears glasses, to me being a lesbian is just a natural part of who I am. I had put that aside and I was so excited to get it back.
So the crazy life of dating began, then I started to notice the reactions when people realized I was going on a date with a girl:
– ” You are still gay”
– ” humm I thought you were going to date men now”
– ” you are still stuck in that phase”
These were some of the statements I heard. Part of me wonders if I was seen as straight only because to deal with my partner being transgender, people just put into their minds I was dating a guy. I’ve seen this happen. It’s a hard subject to get your mind around. I get it trust me. A lot of times it’s easier to put things in black and white. While it is a good thing that you see the transgender person as the gender they chose, I often wonder if it just more comfortable to think that someone was always said gender and not to think of what they had to go through. This same thing seemed to happen to me. People didn’t want to think / process a lesbian dating a transperson, instead they just saw me as a girl dating a boy, much easier to accept. I wish more people had more understanding of the “T” part in the LGBT world. This was a very different situation then most people have to deal with. But this blog is not about that, it is about the after part.
At first I was angry and hurt. I wanted to scream “hello, I’ve always been gay” That never will go away. I felt put into a corner. I started to fight back with sarcasm or bold annoyances. Then a few months into it I realized. While the first time I came out I was scared and unsure, this time I was more sure of myself.
I KNOW who I am when it comes to this part. When I speak about being gay, there are no nerves or jitters. That is who I am and it is not going to change, if people love me or not, accept me or not, bash me or not, it will not change that choice. I can answer questions with confidence and also have the guts to tell people when they ask a question that crosses the line. I guess I’ve been learning these qualities over the years and didn’t even know it. I realized coming out, came in phases for me:
– When I realized myself (many years before I came out)
– When I finally made peace with it myself
– When I finally came out
– When I finally made peace with myself about how other people react.
I found the strength to come out for that final time.