Six years of breathing air out of the closet

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Six years ago as of April 15th (which landed on Easter at the time), I came out of the closet. It hadn’t happened the way I wanted to. I had been a member on the Empty Closets Forum, click here, and looked for support from an amazing online community of LGBTQ and LGBTQ friendly people around the world. I had already told a few of my closets friends from high school and at college and for the most part I felt the support-because it didn’t change how they saw me which I was grateful for. But I was gearing up to eventually tell my family.

I was at my parents house for Easter weekend. I was discussing my long distance relationship with a girlfriend to one of my friends and I thought my parents were out of ear shot but apparently not. Midway through a conversation, my mom comes into the room and angrily comments on what we were discussing. Not knowing how else to respond, I stated that yes I was likely going to marry a woman and I wanted to have elephants at my wedding. My mom stormed off and my friend politely excused herself to go home.

womenpride

(Photocredit: Candygurlz)

So at dinner that weekend, in front of both my parents and my younger sister, I stated that I was not heterosexual. I had written a letter (which I thankfully still have), stating that it was difficult for me to accept myself, let alone tell anyone that I was more different than the average person. I told them my struggles and dating different types of men wondering what the problem was, whilst knowing that deep down I was the issue, I was not heterosexual. I originally came out as being bisexual because I thought that my emotional connection with men, but not sexual connection with them would have been enough and that I was just more attracted to them. I shamefully also thought that being bisexual would have been easier to tell people than flat out stating that I liked tacos as opposed to tacos and hot dogs.

It didn’t go well. There were periods of silence, there were days of non stop bickering and yelling. My sister felt scared to tell her friends her sister was a homo for fear of losing friends in high school. I came home one day to find my mom on the phone with an old friend from high school telling her that I needed to talk to a priest and start Conversion Therapy which led me to arguing, promptly packing clothes into a back pack and driving off to live with friends for a few days.

It was rough and a very lonely period. My friends got me through it. Reading people’s stories and vlogs on the internet got me through darker days.

When I was suddenly brave enough to venture out and find “my people” (like minded people in the LGBTQ community), I drove 2 hours from home to find gay events in another city. I found like minded friends. I found people that were just like me, with stories of heartache and inspiration. I realized that it gets better. I realized that you could be yourself and live a fulfilling life and be accepted by good people if you surrounded yourself with positivity and people who were accepting of you.

As the years passed, the questions about “boyfriends” and “grandchildren” dwindled from my parents and were replaced by pronouns such as “girlfriends”. Parents became more willing to meet my girlfriends that I deemed serious relationships. I went through many girlfriends that I thought would be serious but ended up being short lived relationships which was hard on my parents who thought that I would never find happiness.

I have learned so much in the six years that I’ve been out of the stuffy closet I called home for many years. I learned that I don’t have to adhere to gender roles (no one should really but it seems more prevalent in heterosexual relationships). I learned to accept that people would hate or dislike even if you kept your mouth shut and they didn’t know you personally. I learned that my love was different but that didn’t make me less of a person. I learned that I can dress however I want to be portrayed by how I view myself. I learned that I love short hair (not every lesbian does, but I do). I learned how to smile at people who scowl at me when I hold my girlfriends hand in public. I learned how to stand up for myself to people who would say rude things about LGBTQ or people in small minority groups. I learned that I want to be an advocate for LGBTQ rights even though I live in a country that allows things like same-sex marriage and equal spousal support because many countries still struggle with these basic human rights. I learned to speak about my experiences to others who struggle with theirs in attempts to let them learn that they are not alone, and that “It does get better”. I learned to flirt with women-flirting with men was easy-it’s a whole different thing when you suddenly have to flirt with women and you are attracted to them. I learned to become comfortable in my own skin while having sex which was never really discussed while I was growing up. I learned and developed a positive body image (in high school and part of college I had eating disorder issues)-because when you’re happy with how your life is going- you feel more comfortable in your own skin. I began writing a memoir detailing my life in high school, my mental health and sexuality and I hope to publish it to help others deal with their own issues. I learned that if I want to change the world into something more positive, I have to be someone to stand up and do something – volunteer, share links on social media, and talk about things that need to change.

I have learned so much in six years about myself, my hobbies/passions, my career, my friendships and relationships. My confidence has grown and I am starting to shine as an individual. I don’t think that would have happened had I not accepted myself, taken a risk and come out of the closet. It’s a scary thing to admit to the world-let alone yourself.

Just remember, “It Gets Better”. Happy Easter/long weekend for whatever you believe in in this world.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi

EmptyClosets Forum
It Gets Better – Youth LGBTQ
Human Rights Campaign
The Trevor Project

First World Lesbian Problems

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1. Sharing a closet
I filled a closet before settling down with my fiancee. She filled a closet before I moved in. We were both forced to downsize. It’s still a full closet even with closet organizers. Trying to sort it out was painful.

2. Sharing bathrooms
We try to use separate bathrooms but with three kids, things get mixed up. Hair products and toothpastes go missing often. That’s just something we live with. Communication is key here. This is also why we buy toothpaste and toothbrushes from the dollar store.

3. I get mistaken for Cee’s daughter
This has happened more than once or twice. Sometimes when we go out, people ask if I am Cee’s daughter. This could be due to the fact that I am half a foot shorter than Cee or our age differences. Never the less I cannot seem to win on this one. Maybe when I’m older and more wrinkly this problem will solve itself. Hm.

4. You get asked, “Who’s the man?”
There is no man in the relationship, that’s the point… if I wanted a man, I’d be with a man. I think the point people try to get in this question is, “Who is top or bottom?”, which if asked to a heterosexual couple would likely be met with raised eyebrows or some swear words.

5. Trolling for books
You have to decide whether or not you will troll for Sarah Water’s books and be labelled a lesbian, or troll for books in the other sections and asked why you’re there.

6. PMS
It happens. Sometimes there is shark week in the house for two weeks, sometimes you sync up to your partner and it lands on the same day.

7. Discussing crushes
When your friends, who may happen to be heterosexual, discuss their manly crushes, you zone out and begin dreaming of Robert Downey Jr, Colin FarrellEllen Page. Emma Watson. Cute. But it can make you feel a little left out at times.

8. When your car breaks down
Agh. Your car’s light went on, so you go consult the manual, then you remember that despite the stereotype you are not the lesbian who knows how to fix a car. Facepalm.

9. Tactfully discussing your private life at work
This is something I go by with my gut. I am starting to share my life now, because anti bullying rules were recently put in place where I work to show how serious managers are about staff feeling safe and welcome. I could have used this new rule at my old places of work where I did not feel welcome by the snotty 40+ aged women who spoke as if they were fresh out of high school. But now that my new places of work are welcoming, I am finding it easier to speak about my life, even with a few of my older clients.

10. Straight men..
Who want to bang you. I am not a piece of meat. And I am gay. Please respect that just like you. It’s likely you don’t want to be shagged by a gay man.

11. Shopping
For some of us, the mall is a vortex of pain and shame. We don’t fully fit mens or androgynous clothes yet we try to wear them because that’s what we feel comfortable wearing. Then you sometimes get odd looks from the teenager who folds clothes at the store, but you have to look past them. Grab that shirt you love and get out of there. I always tell Cee, she’ll find me in the camera, tea, or book store.

Green with envy

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The lead performer and host for the local Disney drag show that I photographed last month was invited to dinner at our house last night. Cee made a delicious manicotti, baked chicken, salad and appies.

We had never met Dee in person as a male. We’d only ever met Dee as a performer when he was dressed in drag as Aly so we weren’t quite sure what to expect upon meeting him. He had just finished work as a makeup artist and he came right over after his shift. Last night, his coworkers all did makeup according to the seven deadly sins. Dee’s deadly sin was envy, he was quite literally ‘green with envy’ in his appearance. Dee sprayed his hair green, covered his face with green makeup and designed spider webbing up his neck.

Upon entering our house, I welcomed Dee with a hug and was given a big hug. Cee’s youngest daughter was scared at first and retreated to her tablet. The other two oldest kids easily introduced themselves and familiarized themselves with Dee. Cee’s youngest soon warmed up to Dee. We had a lovely dinner with wine. We had bought a bottle of champagne to celebrate Cee’s son’s football teams undefeated game streak. It was a lovely evening filled with love, laughter and acceptance.

Family_Portrait_(Photocredit: Teaching Kids News)

Dee made a comment on his Facebook page about feeling so welcome in our house which made Cee so proud. Dee mentioned that he had completely forgotten he was different in our house which was so accepting of him, makeup and all and that everyone treated him with respect and kindness. Cee felt slightly sad that she hadn’t recognized it in the moment that her kids carried on easily with Dee without hesitation despite his differences as a person. Cee mentioned that we’d had many different types of people through our door as guests but to have such a wonderfully unique individual in our house and have her kids have such good rapport made her quite proud as a mother. From my perspective, I’ve been the odd individual who has always been quite aware of my differences my entire life (for a variety of reasons) and I see it as always being the outcast until proven otherwise. I also felt quite proud of Cee, her parenting skills and our kids because this just proves that the kids will be quite the allies in the LGBT community, able to accept everyone not despite their differences, but because of their differences without question. Acceptance of others no matter how different they may be should be something any parent should be proud to have taught their children and I hope that one day this will become the norm.

The happiest Lesbian couple

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A few weeks ago, Cee and I attended a drag show in our community. The drag show theme showcased Disney characters. All the drag queens and kings did Disney characters. It was incredibly popular and the performances were amazing. Some of the performances showcased 101 Dalmations (Cruella Deville), Marry Poppins, Frozen (Elsa), Snow White and the 7 Dwarves (Snow White), Alice in Wonderland (Alice). Katy Perry was also featured a couple times which wasn’t Disney themed, but she still made an appearance.

The show was 19+ so it was an adults show only. I had inquired a week ahead of time to the lead drag queen if I could photograph the show. She got back to me and said that yes that would be great and that I would be paid. My first photography gig was to be a drag show! I took my external flash and camera to the show and had a great time. Cee and I were allowed into the show free of charge because I was photographing the show.

During the night I was asked if I was Cee’s partner which I responded, “Yes”. People who often meet us remember Cee the most because she is the most outgoing of both of us. However, I am known for my quiet manner and my passion for photography. I am a shutterbug. Apparently Cee was asked if she was my partner throughout the night as well. It seemed that people knew us even though we had no idea who they were.

Some of the gay men attending asked if we were still together and doing well. I said that yes, we were going to get married. Cee had some gay men and women approach us and tell us that we were the “It couple”. The “It couple” apparently meant that we were quite happy in our relationship and that we were “something” in the local LGBT community. That made me feel happy not because I wanted to be somebody in the eyes of others, but because others could see how truly happy we were. It also made me think, why were we an “It couple”? Although it made me happy to hear we were called an “It couple”, solid together, it made me kind of sad and wonder why we were an anomaly in a solid community. Was it because we were mysterious and hardly spent time in the local LGBT community and therefore were exempt from the local drama, or was it because people were truly happy for us? Or was there another reason that other people couldn’t find the happiness that we seemed to have found? Why couldn’t other people have found the happiness that we have found? Why are we as a couple such an anomaly in a community that strives for acceptance and personal happiness but can’t seem to find it? Happiness in a partnership shouldn’t be so hard to find, but apparently it is in the 21st century. Hell, I thought I wouldn’t never be in such a great partnership, never mind half of an “It couple” label, but apparently that’s the case now.

I’m just happy that we’re happy, and one of the happiest couples around, (LGBT label or not required). Some of the only things that we require of one another is: open communication about anything, trust, love, appreciation of the other, time spent together and empathy. Those are the secrets to a loving relationship and I’m so glad I have that with Cee.

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(Photocredit: Hoopla)

LGBT parenting

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I am the step mother to three beautiful children. They are my partner’s biological children, but over the last year, I have come to see them as my children as well. In the beginning of our journey, the children and I tip toed around one another. We had to learn our boundaries and where we fit in the lives of one another. This is something I’ve never experienced before. With the help of my partner, I learned which boundaries to uphold, which lines to cross, which ones to not. Over these hurdles and through learning experiences I still feel like I’m learning every day. I believe that part of parenting is that you have to just be there, simply show up, and do your best. You don’t always get it right, all the time or every day, but as long as one continues to try and grow, you’re doing something right.

samesex_parentss(Photocredit: Media files)

Last weekend my partner, (whom I’m nicknaming Cee), had to go to work so I had to juggle and get the kids to some events and appointments. The youngest had to go to two birthday parties, one right after the other. I made the mistake in letting the youngest choose what she wanted to wear that day. Normally I would put my foot down and take away her tablet until she listened if she didn’t listen the first few times I told her to do something. That day I was tired, distracted by other things and didn’t put my foot down. So she went to the birthday party in a mismatched outfit (something I at times struggle with myself), and I went home.

Something that I’ve learned about parenting is that other parents will judge  you on your appearance and the appearance of your step child. I should have had the forethought to this before, but I didn’t. About a year ago, before I got to Cee, she still lived in a heterosexual relationship, therefore she didn’t feel that she was being judged as harshly by the other parents except for the usual judgement that comes with being a parent from other parents. Once we became a couple, she felt that she had suddenly became judged 10x more harshly because she had a same sex partner and as a result, the youngest wasn’t invited to as many events or birthdays. The homophobia and judgement that comes with being in a same sex partnership isn’t every easy and it gets better once you find your niche in the community; However, with kids, homophobia is never fair as it affects them, whether they know it or not. As a result, some friends may not be able to come over, or the kids might not be invited to certain events or birthdays because the ideals the parents hold are ignorant or they lack open mindedness.

So when I came to pick up the youngest from the birthday party, I felt like I had all the eyes of all the children’s parents on me. My mind flew in a flurry as I tried to ignore the eyes and tried to be polite to the other parents and children. My hope was that if they saw a gay woman being polite and kind then ideals might change and the youngest wouldn’t have to face and repercussions for having two moms. Of course I could have slightly fubbed that up because part of being a good parent is that you set boundaries and tell the children what to do-that day, of all days-I had let that slide. Her hair was wild and curly and her outfit didn’t match. It wasn’t fair, but all I could do was realize my mistake and make a promise to do better the next time. That’s all that you can do when you’re a parent: learn, grow and try to do better next time, even if there is added judgement involved.

Going to my second prom

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Many of us get to go to prom in high school. Some of us get to go to two, Maybe even three for a select few people (at least some in my high school who were invited one or two years in addition to their graduation year.) But not many people get to re-live their prom when they are older, wiser and maybe more out of the closet about who they are. Although, I admit I could be wrong about that, because now it seems more people are coming to the realization about their sexual orientation at earlier ages. As a result of being more open at younger ages, they are more open about being true to themselves and are therefore on their way to a more positive and healthy life before the generations before them.

I fit into the generation that came after the generation that is now open to who they are, and where they fit on the gender and sexual orientation spectrums from early ages. So when I see the LGBTQ youth being completely honest and open, it makes tears of happiness form.

I’ve been volunteering biweekly with LGBTQ youth the past few months. I was recently invited to the LGBTQ youth prom for teens aged 15-18. I couldn’t help but smile at the thought of these teens having a safe place to be free to be themselves, free from discrimination and bigotry. I remember knowing of a couple gay teens in high school but sexual orientation was something that was never openly talked about or discussed in high school as a whole. Therefore, it was never really necessary that a diverse and LGBT friendly prom was required or thought of.

ss prom(PhotoCredit: Cdnet; Note, not my girlfriend and I, but these two look pretty happy.)

I was asked to photograph and chaperon the event. I have loved photography since I first held a camera when I was 11 years old. That hobby developed into something more serious over the years which has transitioned to thoughts of pursuing a career on the side of my day job as a photographer and designer. When friends or events are going on, I do my best to capture them.  When I was asked to photograph the prom, I jumped on the idea. More photographs to use in my portfolio and more images to use to practice my techniques and editing are always welcome in my eyes.

I thought my first prom was going to be my only prom. This prom happened eight years ago. I remember having no one to go with as a prom date. All of my friends had their boyfriends, girlfriends or some beautiful friend that wanted to go with them. I didn’t. I had made a bit of a friendship with the Czech Republic exchange student so I ended up asking him. I wasn’t interested in him sexually, but I knew that I didn’t want to be the only one in my friend group without a date. Not that my friends would have cared if I had shown up single or taken. Later on in the night he had tried to get in my pants but I politely but firmly shut him down. Never did I think that I would get a second chance to take someone I really wanted to, to a prom.

This prom was almost a decade after my first. I watched the teens dance with their dates, and friends and smiled. They had shy smiles, while they held hands swaying during the slow dances, and wide eyed magic glittering their eyes during the fast dances. They had their first prom be the magical dream that everyone probably hopes a prom will be.

Even though I was an adult chaperone and was not fully one of the attendees dancing with their date, I still felt that it was like I had a second chance at a prom, in a way. It was perfect. I dressed as I wanted to-not in an overpriced dress I had intentions of wearing more than once-but a suit and tie. I was taking the love of my life. I had a smile plastered on my face the whole night. Sometimes life is funny, in that it brings you back to memory lane, just in time to help you form new, more positive ones.

Family woes

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In the last few weeks I’ve been attempting to catch up on bills that I have wracked up in my absence of the trip to Mexico with my girlfriend. I apologize for my lack of attention to this blog. I have also been facing some family woes. I’m not sure if this is because my family still feels ashamed of me for being gay, and they’re trying to be ok with it or they’re just very flawed and not able to open up to how others feel.

Image(PhotoCredit: Everyday feminism)

 

As soon as we touched down from Mexico, my mom decided to publicly out my girlfriend on Facebook. My girlfriend was out to her close friends and a few family members, but by my mother publicly stating, “Hope you had fun in Mexico with YOUR girlfriend” (yes the ‘your’ was capitalized in the post), it was blatantly stated that my girlfriend had a girlfriend she was dating. My girlfriend had wanted to save the news for conversations in person where it was her news to tell, not for someone to tell it for her on a public platform like Facebook.

Outing is the way that some people feel it is their news to tell if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer etc. Of course it does not only apply to sexual orientations, it can apply to any number of things such as announcing big news, or conflicts with others. For this topic I will refer to Outing as the Outing of one’s sexual orientation or having a same sex partner. If you’ve ever been outed you will likely know how horrible it feels when you aren’t ready for the present people or person being told to hear the news. Being outed is a violation of trust, it’s a violation of boundaries, and it hurts. Now some people may say that they didn’t out someone they had cruel intentions; some people don’t have cruel intentions and it comes out in conversation. Those cases are when you approach the person relaying the news, tell them how you feel and ask that they respect your wish to remain silent about their news.

Then there are cases where the person attempting to out someone means to cruelly get to someone by relaying the news that the person discussed was not ready to discuss. That was the case for my mother publicly outing my girlfriend. And it hurt a lot. I knew right away that that was her intention. My girlfriend didn’t see it that way at first and so she wasn’t sure what had happened until one of her family members left her a voice mail who appeared hurt at having not been told in person. Having lived with my manipulative mother most of my life, I have known that’s what she intended to do-cause a ruckus and somehow hurt my girlfriend and I.

My girlfriend has done nothing wrong. In fact she has brought a gift for my parents each time she has visited. My mom snubs her, and tries to talk over her in an attempt to speak with me. When I call her on her rude behaviour (via Facebook), because I just cannot handle her childish behaviour in my face. I always get a sob story from her, told that I am ungrateful, or told that my girlfriend is going to ruin my life. I have tried explaining and sharing all the wonderful things that have happened in my life since being with my girlfriend but my mother eisn’t having any of it. And who knows what my mom tells my dad about us because he’s always on her side even when I am simply trying to stick up for myself and my girlfriend.

My parents have not liked my girlfriend from the start. I don’t know if it’s because she has kids, or if it’s because I’m so serious about this relationship that I moved in with her and the kids. I shouldn’t pretend to know the reasoning. Some of it might be because I hardly visit her and dad anymore-but to be honest my visits with my parents were getting fewer and farther between visits. My girlfriend is cut off in conversation in front of others. My mother is incredibly rude to her face. And I can’t deal with having my self esteem hacked at with a blunt machete that leaves rusted wounds that only time away from them will scar and heal slightly before the next visit and then do it all over again. My life has been like this even before I met my girlfriend. It’s only now that I realize what I have to do.

I have been working myself up in an attempt to write a letter about my feelings, how violated, and hurt I’ve felt. The letter will include how I hope to be treated from now on. It will also include how I hope we can learn how to communicate without abuse, go to counseling together etc. And it will give an ultimatum. Thoughts about writing an ultimatum has left me a mess the past few weeks. I go from feeling fine, to crying and leaving the room, wanting to be alone and sometimes lashing out at my girlfriend for something she doesn’t deserve. I don’t know how else to do this but try to salvage some sort of a healthy relationship, healthier boundaries and if they aren’t up for it, sever the ties. It hurts. I know what I have to do. But doing it is the hardest part. I love my parents, but I need to love myself and those in my life more in order to be toxic free. I need to love myself and my girlfriend more in order to be happy and more at peace.

My 5 Year anniversary

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… of being out of the closet has rolled around.  I remember it well. How could I forget a significant period of upheaval,  emotion and life changes?

I remember speaking with one of my friends whom at the time was very close with me. My mom overheard our conversation,  tempers flared and the news was out. Rather than blatantly tell everyone I let my mom tell my sister and dad. I wasn’t able to face other horrible reactions.  But they came nonetheless. My mom and sister who used to hug me while saying goodnight suddenly stopped hugging me. Because of ignorance,  they worried I was suddenly attracted to them. I fought daily. Mean insults were hurled. Our relationships became more toxic. I took up smoking cigarettes regularly at work.

Fast forward to now. My family knows and I believe accepts me for being gay. At times I wonder what life would have been like if I had waited to tell my family till I was out of the house for good. When I came out years ago, I did so on Easter. I had been attending college and I went to live with my family every summer in between each school year.

The first year was definitely the hardest. I chopped my beautiful wavy hair off a few weeks after I broke the news to a shaggy pixie cut. I loved it. I felt so liberated.

I started dressing more comfortably.  This involved experimenting with different clothing styles. I tried out dressing like a butch and found it wasn’t quite my thing. But I realized that I enjoy cross dressing and rocking a tie some days.

I loved my short hair. I played with my hair and started doing more funky styles. When my hair was longer I kept it in a ponytail most of the time because I didn’t want to bother with styling it. With short hair I felt free, fun and spunky and I enjoyed styling it.

I stopped trying to be uber feminine and fit the circular mould that I as a square would never fit in. This caused conflict with my parents but I was an adult now and as time progressed, they realized I was my own person and they couldn’t make me do anything.

I learned that what I looked like on the outside by not conforming to the standard of feminine beauty most women do makes one an outcast. People look at you differently when you have short hair,  don’t wear much makeup (or any) and you wear comfortable/slightly masculine clothing.

It was a wakeup call. I don’t think I’d been terrible to people before coming out, but I definitely began becoming more empathic to others afterwards. I now knew what it was like to be an obvious minority. I knew what it was like to be judged for something many knew nothing about or didn’t understand. I knew what it was like to feel hurt and have friends and strangers alike be disgusted with me because I made a choice to follow my heart.

As the years passed, my family has come around. I have made new friends. Many of my old ones have stuck by me, and funnily enough they ended up being gay too! A couple friends who appeared to temporarily leave have also returned and apologized.

I have had a few jobs since.  I have settled into a long term career that may last awhile till I can think of something I may wish to pursue after furthering my education.

I have had several same sex relationships in the five years I’ve been out. I have had long and short ones. I learned how to be a better partner. I continue to learn how to communicate more effectively instead of shutting down or running away as those are my default settings it seems. My girlfriend seems to be an expert at communication even though she assures me it’s taken her a long time to get where she is now. I believe she is my soulmate and I want to marry her some day.

I’ve become involved in the gay community. I attend local events, and Pride every year. I feel so great every pride being able to live freely from discrimination or the thought of it for a day/week/weekend.

Life has definitely changed in 5 years. Some of it was an uphill battle. But I didn’t stop working at it.  I’m grateful to those people who stuck by me through the years. But now I can say it does get better. It did get better.  Life is better now.

Things that made me realize I was not straight

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I have been working on a memoir and even though I’m not sure if I wish to publish it one day, it has been triggering memories in sweet succession. Some of my memoir revolves around discovering myself, my sexual identity, my sexual orientation and learning lessons by overcoming obstacles.

1. Watched two friends kiss
It was a day I would never forget. I saw two of my (female) friends kiss one night after work. I was awestruck and amazed. I felt sexual urges towards them thay I hadn’t felt towards any of my high school boyfriends. At the time wondered,  “Is this how attraction is supposed to feel?”

 

2. I was nervous around other women

So maybe this one isn’t obvious for others, but for me it was obvious. I could talk to guys and males easily in a friendly manner. When it came to women (especially ones I was attracted to), I clammed up and found it difficult to speak to them easily before I learned how to flirt with them. No wonder. I was attracted to them!

 

3. I wasn’t able to understand my female friends

My female friends would go gaga over their boyfriends in high school saying things like “Oh my gosh I love him so much. Our chemistry is amazing.  When you have sex it will be amazing.” I was still a virgin till university. As a high school virgin, I still didn’t understand the chemical attraction they had to their boyfriends until I first crushed (big time) for a woman in university.

 

4. I wasn’t fully connected to then men I dated

I was often detached from the men I dated. I was friends with them but I still felt like I couldn’t give all of myself to them.  No wonder because I kept having female crushes on my female friends and other women I met.

 

5. Denied I was attracted to same sex

I denied my sexual orientation for a long time to the point where I struggled with alcohol abuse, binge drinking, anxiety and depression. I put myself in some dangerous situations.  As time passed, my heart, body, and soul knew what it wanted in order to be happy. So I finally had to stop denying that part of me and come clean to my loved ones and the world.

Life is too short to live unhappily or not living a life true to yourself.

Are you two friends? Roommates?

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The other day, I crossed the Canada/US border with my girlfriend. Something I’ve noticed is that the US border agents are pretty serious. I mean they have a serious job of making sure terrorists, traffickers, drug runners and other criminals don’t enter their country. And that makes sense… but I am not trafficking or a terrorist.

When we were speaking with the US border agent, we were asked the usual questions. “Where are you coming from? Where do you live? Where are you headed?  Why are you headed there? How long will you be?” And… “Are you two sisters? How do you two know each other? Just what is your relationship? ” Wait. What??

Is it because I seem close with my girlfriend?  I mean when you’re dating someone of course you seem close to them. You’re best friends. You laugh, cry, love and support one another. How would you not be close?

But these questions and the manner of questioning were said in a malicious and probing manner. I looked to my girlfriend and the border guard.  “We’re friends.” If there’s something I’ve learned upon coming out and being true to yourself is that sometimes you have to lie and sacrifice the truth in order to remain safe. Is it ideal?  No. Does it hurt? Yes. Is it upsetting? Of course. Who wouldn’t want to live a life of just being able to be honest (not just when asked) and tell everyone you meet that the love of your life is the person you’re with no matter what biological sex they are? But it seems to be a problem even in the 21st century even when world countries and states (in the US) slowly pass Same sex marriage laws.

Silent vieled bigotry in the form of questions such as “How are you two related?” Are things we face. Had we answered honestly who knows what the border agent would have done of said.  Would we have been turned around and told to stay in our country and denied entry to the US? It’s possible. As a border agent who has powers of deciding who enters her country, who knows what she could have said to deny us the power of entry simply because she didn’t like the look of us.

Anti-hate laws aren’t exactly formed into the US constitution or laws like they are in Canada. And even if they were, from my experience, I’ve found homophobic or ignorant people find other excuses to use in order to spread ignorance and homophobia. Is it fair? No. It reminds me of the closet door I have come through and tried to keep open. It reminds me that sometimes it’s safer to lie because I am different than the majority. It reminds me that some people will never approve of who I love and I try not to let it reflect on me because I know in my heart that I’m not a bad person. But this is why we continue to fight for human rights and stamp out bigotry and ignorance. We do so one person at a time, educating them about ourselves to show that the only difference is that we love someone of the same sex. Our love is otherwise the same. We still want the same things that other couples want: health, happiness, love, support. Maybe one day ignorance will die off or at least be a distant,  faded memory. I hope I get to see such a day.