Sunday School: On Coming Out
When did you know you were queer? Do queer people experiment like straight people? –D.
Dear Sunday School: Do queer people produce ATP in their mitochondria, like most straight eukaryotes? Or do they have their own organelle called the fabulousum that metabolizes pure sass?
And now, a real question…
What was your coming out experience like? –L.
It was about 21:00 on a weeknight, my mother was watching The O’Reilly Factor, and I yelled, “How can you watch that asshole’s show when he thinks I should be a second-class citizen because I fuck women?” and then Mom yelled, “Get out of my house!” and I walked out and slammed the door behind me.
I drove to the diner I liked to frequent, smoked half a pack, and then went out and got “VOX” tattooed on my wrist in black and purple at a shop I’d never been to before (and I way overpaid). I went home at about 3:00 in the morning, and my mom and I spent most of the next day hugging it out. She was honestly more upset that I was calling her politics monstrous than anything else; it wasn’t news to her that I liked girls. But that was the first time, I think, that I fully accepted “lesbian” as an identity and definitely the first time that I expressed it so emphatically.
I was super Catholic as an adolescent. Like, I wished that the church would simultaneously relax their prohbitions on the ordination of women and marriage for priests so that I could become one. Seriously. My upbringing wasn’t particularly strict, but Christian paradigms figured very prominently in my self-concept. I literally could not imagine a future in which I wasn’t married (to a dude) and raising children in the faith. And even though I began to drift away from the church, those sensibilities were really hard to shake; the boyfriend I somehow managed to acquire when I was not quite 18 and I were talking about marriage after less than a year (although we were going to wait until we were both through college).
At the time, I knew that I liked the idea of being attracted to ladies, because ladies are pretty and bisexuality was a great way to get attention from boys when I was in high school. But by my sophomore year in college, I was beginning to have some pretty serious doubts about being straight enough to marry monogamously, and my boyfriend freaked out when I told him. We broke up the week before Valentine’s Day, not quite two months past our second anniversary.
Things were pretty rough after that. I wasn’t happy dating dudes, but I had no idea how even to begin a relationship with a woman. Literally nothing in my life had prepared me for that, and it’s not like there’s a manual. I lived in a mid-size town that was home to an extremely conservative public university, which as recently as last year proposed a cancellation of funding for the GLBT programs office unless a similar office for “traditional family values” was established. I was lonely and unhappy and every guy I dated made me lonelier and unhappier.
I finally called it quits with dudes altogether when I had the clarion realization, mid-coitus with a guy who almost certainly deserved better, of Man, I would be so much happier if he were a girl.
That, lovelies, is what we call a game-changer. The aforementioned fight with my mom happened maybe a week later.
If you’re really good, maybe someday I’ll tell you about the time I came out as a submissive.
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Featured image of animal cell model cake by deviantart user arrinsoup.