I never realized I had to come out as gay. Personally, I have known I was gay since 5th grade. I’ve always been very small, but athletic, not overly feminine, but just enough that I considered the fact I was gay. I never dated girls but had tons of them as friends. I sang in ward and school choir. I was a high school cheerleader, at this point, me being gay was like really somewhat obvious. haha!
My coming out story is a little different than many, but I hope I can share and help someone else out.
I started dating men and found my first boyfriend when I was 17. We kept our relationship secret. He was my cousins ex boyfriend. Like me, he was in the closet so we kept it very quiet, only seeing one another occasionally, never going to each other’s houses. We dated for almost 3 years until he decided he was straight (or needed to become straight). Yeah, that was rough.
After our breakup, I decided it was time for me to venture off into the big world, so I went to college, and I tried to be open about my sexuality. I started my career in public relations, then at 25 I got laid off :/ Bummer (thanks Obama economy).
So within a month of being laid off I moved back home with my parents….bad idea, we live in a very rural, Republican, Mormon community. A few weeks after moving home I met a guy. He lived about an hour north of my little town, we kept things quiet for a little while then I decided enough was enough and we started to be seen in public. I feared that people would notice. I knew how much Mormons love to gossip. My worst fears were realized and people did notice.
Obviously, the good church folks couldn’t wait to call my mother. They felt duty bound to gossip and make assumptions. These were people that were once my friends and once the leaders that I looked up to from my youth. I think the hardest part was knowing that instead of talking to me, they made assumptions and took their rumor directly to my parents.
The tsunami was coming. I approached the hardest month of my life that year. I had spent Valentines weekend in a hotel with my boyfriend, and came back home to my parents house in the early evening. That night I had gone to bed early, my mother was really coy. Something inside of me told me that something was not right. I feared that I knew she knew.
I woke up around 2 am, sat up in my bed and noticed a dim light glowing from the living room sofa table. My heart sunk as I listened to the sobbing pleas of my mother who was in the living room crying. I opened my bedroom door slightly and saw her sitting on the couch, her eyes wet with tears and overcome with emotion.
I just knew it was out.
Unfortunately for me and her some “good Mormon women in the church” decided to call and tell her that I had been seen with a guy. Someone from the ward told her that “they were confident that I was gay”.
My poor mother couldn’t bring herself to ask me if it was true.
Judging by her reaction in the living room you would have thought I died. I didn’t walk into the living room to talk with her that night. I felt like she needed to process her own pain and maybe come to a conclusion that her love for me was greater than her fears of what my orientation were.
My mom spent days laying around the house crying in sadness before she could finally speak to me. She was so sad. After four days she asked me to sit down and have a discussion with her. She told me what “a few members of the ward were saying” and asked if it was true. I told her I was gay and had been in a relationship. She sobbed again and went silent for a few minutes. Eventually she stood up and hugged me. She told me that her sadness wasn’t about me but she was mourning the life she had planned for me.
How to process having a gay son isn’t exactly something that is taught in Sunday school, but I’m happy to say she has come around to be wonderful. Since my coming out she has been a great cheerleader to me and to many of us in the LGBTQ community. I’d sometimes even call her a warrior! She’s even resigned her membership in the church because of the Church’s treatment of LBGT people (especially trans people!!)
Now my father, well…we have never got along, he decided to threaten me into not being gay….yea that didn’t work, he grabbed me by my arm one night and told me I was only doing this to embarrass him, and I was just being gay to make him look stupid. We don’t speak much aside from a few pleasantries. I often think he views my sexuality as something too much to hurdle and that if he doesn’t acknowledge it, it might go away.
Today my life is wonderful!! My parents know I’m gay, which I thought they always should have….My boyfriend and I have a lovely home, and most people in my life have stood beside me.
Keep your heads up and be exactly who you are.
We want to hear your story–here’s how to share it with us!
Each Sunday we feature a new Coming Out Story on the Latter Gay Stories blog. Coming Out is an important process that is different for everyone; some experiences are difficult to hear while others are heart-warming and inspiring. Still, coming out is never easy and more often than not we draw inspiration from others through their stories. We rely on weekly submissions to keep the Coming Out Stories alive. We invite you to share yours now.