Coming OutSex & SexualitySunday School

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.

If you would like to submit a question to Sunday School, please use our contact form. We won’t publish your real name (unless you want us to), and creative pseudonyms get bonus points!

Featured image of animal cell model cake by deviantart user arrinsoup.

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Rachel is a queer lady from Texas who currently resides in southeastern Wisconsin. She studied history at Texas A&M University and has spent more time than she cares to admit arguing social justice with junior Republicans. She volunteers with Planned Parenthood and enjoys knitting, media criticism, and comic book slash fiction.


  1. January 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm —

    But is the sass metabolized aerobically or anaerobically?

  2. January 22, 2012 at 5:23 pm —

    “bisexuality was a great way to get attention from boys when I was in high school.”


    This is hardly on topic, but can I just say how much I absolutely loathe this? It’s the reason I call myself pansexual instead of bisexual- because of the people who think that it’s fun mimic someone else’s sexuality to get attention. While I dealt with the pain of being a closeted bisexual, there were straight girls who flirted with women because they thought it made them hotter or something while completely trivializing the pain felt by me and many other women.

    On top of that, due to the idea that women are only involved in sex to look good for men, my sexuality was the “two women for the price of one” fetishization that lesbianism gets, with the added possibility of THREESOMES!!11


    Sorry, I digressed quite a bit there…


    • January 22, 2012 at 6:40 pm —

      Well, I don’t know that it’s COMPLETELY off-topic. Part of growing up is realizing that a lot of the stuff you believed when you were younger was massively problematic and stupid.

      But at the same time, given my upbringing, I think that being used to representing myself as bisexual, even if it was only in the most self-serving and hypothetical sense, helped me to arrive where I am now. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know that lesbians existed (hoooooly shit had the biggest crush on a girl I went to high school with, and her hot butch girlfriend), but I think that it helped me get used to the idea. So to speak.


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