Everybody loves coming out stories. I’ll correct that, almost everybody loves coming out stories. People who see sexual orientations other than heterosexuality in a negative way probably don’t like coming out stories, unless it’s about how somebody was sent to conversion therapy or kicked out of the house.
I know that I was obsessed with reading and listening to other people’s coming out stories, when I decided to come out. So here’s mine, for everybody who’s curious, for everybody who’s had their coming, but in my opinion most importantly, for those who are about to come out.
I am now 21 years old, I came out one and a half years ago, at the age of 19. Before each and every coming out, there’s the realization. For some people that happens immediately as they notice a crush on a person of the same gender, for some people it takes a longer time. I had crushes on girls and women for a long time before I realized that I’m not heterosexual. In some way I’ve seen it as the most normal thing in the world that I was attracted to men and women, however, I also realized that no matter how normal it felt to me, it wasn’t normal to others. I slowly realized that, at first I was confused why the boys in my class told me I can’t join their conversation about gorgeous actresses. And I didn’t quite understood for a moment and thought “Why not?”. Until it dawned on me that I’m not supposed to be sexually attracted to other women. Throughout high school, that was the only problem I faced though, not being able to join conversations about attractive women or crushes on women. I was a very late bloomer and had my first kiss after high school, at age 19, and have never had a relationship, so I never identified as bisexual or felt the need to come out as bi, because there were no actions that needed to be explained or other people involved. It only existed in my thoughts and was my secret for many years.
I was growing up in a rather small town, with no LGBT groups. So the closest I got to the LGBT community was watching a show called “The L Word”, in secret of course, and always rather nervously, hoping that my parents or my sister would never find out about that secret. And they didn’t.
I moved to Vienna after high school. After a year of living there, I decided to go to a Lesbian club night. I was standing at the bar, extremely shy, my hands clenched to the bottle of water I had just bought. Only a few minutes later a woman came up to me and asked me if I wanted to sit with her and a friend of hers at their table. Of course I said yes, glad that I was getting out of that awkward situation of standing at the bar all by myself. After some small talk, we kissed. We also danced a bit together (Thankfully, she was almost as horrible at dancing as I am), and later went outside and took a stroll. We lost the friend of hers at some point, she was probably fed up with the two of us kissing constantly. The woman I met, told me about her coming out, and I could talk to her about my doubts, and about my feelings. I met her two more times after that, and she was the first person I talked about my feelings in person. I could talk about my feelings to a wonderful friend of mine before that, but she lives so far away, unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to speak to her in person yet. My newly-made acquaintance was a beautiful woman, self-confident, intelligent and very attractive, and kissing her, only confirmed what I feared on the one hand, and yet also hoped for on the other hand – that yes, I was attracted to women.
Just a couple of weeks after that I joined an LGBT youth group, where I’ve met many incredibly kind women, and I’ve actually met most of my closest friends there. About three months after that visit to the night club and my first kiss with a woman (my first kiss with a man by the way, was just a week before that), I decided to come out to my mum. So, on March 27th 2011 I told my mum “Mum, I need to talk to you… In private.”, we went into one of the smaller rooms of my parents’ house that had a couch in it, that I nervously sat down in with my mum, after I closed the door behind us. I wanted to tell her, but couldn’t, I couldn’t say the words I wanted to scream. So I said “I’m sorry I can’t. I’ll need to tell you some other time.” She said she needs to know, and started guessing. At first she came up with suggestions such as “Are you taking drugs?”, but soon after that, her face saddened and she said “I think I know… I guess I knew for a long time. Do you…. like girls?”, I said “Yes” and cried, then added “Girls… And boys.”. At first she was sad, devastated. However, she tried to be understanding. Growing up, I heard a lot of homophobic ideas coming out of her mouth, so I wasn’t sure about how she’d react. And yet, she’s the kind of mum that says “Whatever makes you happy” and also feels that way, so I was hoping for a reaction, not nearly as bad as her homophobic remarks in the past might have suggested. She told my sister and my dad the same day, although I asked her not to, but in a way I was also glad that she did it for me and I didn’t have to tell them myself. My sister didn’t care, as I expected because she had some gay friends at university, my father on the other hand suggested to my mum that I should go to a hormone specialist, because I probably just need to take hormones, so that it’ll go away. To this day, I’ve never spoken to my father about it, and don’t wish to. Although I knew that he’s rather conservative, I didn’t expect him to suggest taking hormones.
I was in a fortunate situation when I came out, because I didn’t live at home any more. So I was just visiting my parents, knowing that I’d leave them again in a few hours, no matter how bad the outcome may be. However, I wish I could have told them earlier. My teenage-years weren’t happy ones, and I believe that it’s partly because of this. I suppressed so many feelings, in particular those connected to romance or sex. I had my first kiss at age 19, and have never even held hands before that. I had sexual thoughts and desires, but I never allowed myself to let these feelings become anything more than that, and wanted them to go away. Probably because I knew what was about to come, having to accept the fact that I’m not only interested in guys.
Looking back, I’d say that my coming out was a rather positive one. There were some tears, that hideous remark my father made about hormones, but nobody was screaming at me, told me I’m not their daughter any more etc etc. So it could have been a lot worse.
Coming out wasn’t a freeing experience for me immediately. I remember thinking that day “Was it really worth it? Maybe I could have waited a little longer.”. However, it was very freeing. I am now feeling like I can be myself and don’t have to hide. I know, it feels like “sexual orientation… hmm.. it’s not that big of a deal, why should I have to tell my parents about it?”, but actually, it feels like a big part of who I am. It’s not only about attraction and who I kiss, sleep with or am in a relationship with. It also affects the way I see the world, the way I experience life.
So to everybody who reads this blog and is about to come out, or to those who just had their coming out and doubt if it’s been worth it, my answer is: Yes, for me it definitely was worth it, and I hope that you’ll feel the same way about it soon!
If you are about to come out, my word of advice is: Join a youth-group! Knowing that there are people who you can relate to, people who you can talk to in case your coming out turns out to be a disaster, just knowing that offered me a great amount of relief. And for me it’s a group of people that I could relate to, after many years in high school where I always felt like I didn’t quite belong there, I finally was among a group of people that made me feel like “Wow, I can relate to them! I can be myself around them!”. Although most of them are lesbians, I still felt and feel that I can relate to them much more as a bisexual (or actually pansexual) person, than I can to most straight people.
I didn’t have many friends at that time, so basically by coming out to my parents it was all done, and that was my coming out. I made many friends in that youth group, and I’ve made friends outside that group in the next few months. I was always open to close friends about my sexual orientation, and I’m very happy, that each and every one of my friends reacted positively.