How I Didn’t Come Out on Coming Out Day

I told my mom that I was dating my girlfriend on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving last year. I cried through telling her, but she hugged me and told me she loved me and it didn’t matter. 

I came to terms pretty easily with being gay about a month after arriving at college. I’d spent eight years at an all-girls private school, where being gay probably wouldn’t have gone over well. Unmentionable experiences aside, I thought I was straight. So, when my first college relationship — one week with a boy who couldn’t kiss and told me he loved me three days in — didn’t go well, and my friends took me to the queer women’s group on campus, something clicked. It wasn’t the boy, although he was definitely part of it. It was me.

Coming out to my friends was easier than anticipated. Apparently, they all already “knew” I was gay. It bothered me for a long time that that was their response, but now I can’t really blame them for thinking (not knowing) I was gay. I was the only girl in our high school class with short, short, short hair. I wrote slash fanfiction (between two men, but still). I toed the line between “hipster” and “lesbian” fashion. They were mostly excited to meet my girlfriend, who I started dating about two weeks after this revelation.

I went home a year ago this weekend, for a family barbecue. I was gay for sure, and one awkward encounter with my technical director from high school almost led to my coming out, but I managed to keep it together. My mom’s cousin (also gay) was staying with us for the weekend with his toddler. Today, a year ago, was the barbecue. His parents were coming. We were in the kitchen, me and my sister and my mom and her cousin, and she goes, “Hey, it’s National Coming Out Day. Keep an eye on him, he might have to tell us something.” And her cousin, feigning fear, says, “Don’t tell my parents!”

And then Thanksgiving happened. My sister and my parents knew by the end of the week. My brothers didn’t. I could count on both hands the number of people from home I was out to. And then, at Christmas, I saw a lot of my high school friends. I came out to them, because I knew they probably thought I was gay anyway so I might as well confirm it. I didn’t tell my family, despite the fact that I got so many questions about boys at college.

When the Supreme Court handed down their decision on June 26, 2015, I thought maybe it was time to tell everyone. Maybe. I wasn’t sure. I would be seeing conservative relatives in a week for 4th of July, and did I really want to do that to myself?

My mom pulled me aside the day after the decision came down. She told me I didn’t have to come out, but it might shut up certain relatives from making comments if they knew. So, on June 27, 2015, I officially came out on Facebook, to overwhelming support and a few awkward phone calls that were still supportive, just slightly uncomfortable.

I skimmed over some stuff. I could’ve gone into my angsty high school years, or even to the time in middle school when someone called me a lesbian before I really understood what the word meant (when you’re twelve, it’s really bad). But really, the last year is what matters. I am infinitely happier than I was at my happiest in high school.

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