coming out

Pride and Fear

Photo by Pond 5 Stock Photos

I’ve tried to write this piece on Pride about a dozen times. When I first started to write it, I thought it would be easy to just describe the road to the Pride I feel and how I have become more comfortable with expressing who I am, openly and honestly.

But as I started writing, I came to a startling realization: I still struggle with the idea of Pride and that it is so much more complex than just proclaiming who I am and living as that person. Pride isn’t just a feeling, it is an action and a process that I have to work at every single day. I am confronted daily with the choice to stand up proud or to shrivel into the background, passing as a straight woman when I am neither.

A Hometown Never Stops Being Home: Growing Up Trans In A Rural Area

I thought my hometown would have my back when I came out as trans…but when you offer up your own truth, you are often met with the harsh truths of the world around you.

Trigger warning: brief mentions of sexual assault, anti-trans violence, LGBTQ hate speech

I grew up in a myriad of little towns scattered across the Hudson Valley. I was 40 minutes from the infamous Woodstock, about two hours from New York City, and surrounded by the exact type of people you’d suspect would exist between those two extremes. It was a liberal area, even if it felt like I was constantly boxed in by the Catskills that raised high above me always, on all sides. Every town I moved to – and I moved a lot – had a different flavor of rebellion and grunge.  In upstate New York, I grew up thinking I could be anybody. 

I knew the Hudson Valley like the back of my hand. I knew what towns I could leave my car doors unlocked in. I knew where all the swimming holes were. I knew what Kingston, my hometown, looked like before gentrification started to plant its roots in the historic streets, sprouting new bars and antique shops and putting up fences so the weeds of the displaced, impoverished many wouldn’t taint the fertile soil. I knew the safest streets to walk on at two AM. My hometown was full of friends and enemies and my past and future and I could read it like you could read the oldest, most worn book on your shelf. 

I felt safe. 

Coming Out For Someone Else

Don’t

That’s the short answer. Of course, it isn’t as simple as that. Being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and living a thrilling, freeing gay life every day, you start to pick up some skills. One of those is picking out your fellow brothers and sisters before you’ve even met them. What I’m talking about is a “gaydar.” It’s a popular phrase, coined somewhere in the 1990s, but some say it was first heard in the show “Futurama.” I tried to do some research, but it was all very limited. So if you find out where it comes from, let me know. But back to this article! A gaydar is a tool one possesses in sensing someone else’s sexuality. I’m sure if you’re reading this blog, you know exactly what I’m talking about. But if you don’t – it might be time to get out of the house more often – but I’ll do you a favor this time and help you out a little bit.

A Fighter

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You emerged from your mother

Into a cold & strange world.

You were born on an early morning

Like the dawn of a new day,

Lighting up the sky with your restlessness.

A fighter, they called you.

 

Panic & fatigue

Covered the room like frost

Until you met your mother’s chest,

For the first time;

And the room melted like a spring morning.

Undoing Misogyny

Internalized misogyny is everywhere – even in my coming out as bisexual. 

Guest Written By Maddy Del Caño

When I was 16 years old, I came out as bisexual to a few of my friends.  For years prior, I called myself “heteroflexible,” or “straight, but I’d make out with a girl.”  How I knew this, I wasn’t sure. A late bloomer, I barely wanted to hold my boyfriend’s hand, let alone kiss a girl.  When the word left my mouth, “bisexual,” I felt a pit in my stomach. Something about it didn’t fit, like a skirt that hung too high and clung too tight, leaving me feeling exposed, sexualized.  I felt like I was lying, because while I had crushes on Max, Sean and Brian, I couldn’t bring myself to think about dating the girls around my school.

Cut to four years later, and I am openly queer, have gone on dates with women, and proudly advertise myself as bisexual, but there’s still sometimes hesitation as I take a step back and notice myself preferring masculine-presenting people more so than feminine-presenting.  Of course, bisexuality is a spectrum, and some people may feel more attracted to the opposite side of that spectrum than they are to their own gender. However, I notice myself often comparing myself to other women rather than allowing myself to be attracted to them.  So what happened between 16 and 20? And why am I still wincing at my own behavior?

The Moment My Life Changed Forever – A Coming Out Story

The moment my life changed forever happened in a college common room on a late Friday evening. 

I was with my ex-girlfriend (then current) after a pleasant dinner at Red Robin. Our three-year anniversary was coming up in the next few days. However, despite the long-run our relationship had things were getting rocky. The night before we had a long phone conversation about us and why things were going downhill. In the recent months building up to this, we would talk on the phone for maybe two minutes and run out of things to talk about. There would be awkward silences when we would FaceTime. We would not text as often. Little things were happening that were telling us our relationship was failing and that made us nervous. By the time the conversation ended it was around 3am and we decided that we should really finish the conversation in person. I planned to come up that Sunday, also the day before our anniversary.

As I went to bed that night I had countless thoughts about what was going to occur in the next few days. Would we talk like normal, or not speak until we met in person? Is this going to be the end of us and possibly our friendship? Am I going to lose my best friend? As these thoughts reeled through my head, I thought about what she was going through and if she was having the same thoughts. It was torture for myself, but to think that the person I’m supposed to love the most is hurting right now was unbearable. I couldn’t wait until Sunday and I had a feeling she didn’t want to either. So I texted her and told her I was coming up that day. I skipped my classes, got in my 2011 Navy Blue Honda Civic named Brad and drove up to her school.

An Open Letter to Coming Out

Coming out. Come out of what, and where? You too? Do you feel alone? I do.

Coming, coming out. Out from where? Reality? Concealed? Why concealed? “In the closet.” Why conceal me the darkness?

Knock, knock, tick toc, come out, come out.

Get out or come out – which is it? And who for exactly? Why was it hidden to begin with? Made me feel wrong to begin with.

Come on, come out.

Coming out is overcoming; it’s over, and coming in the dark, to see the light, from the closet, in the closet, why the closet, who put me there?

Who put me there to have to make this cross. I have to make this cross.

I’m coming out, I’m coming out, I’m coming, coming, coming. . . I want that pleasure. That pleasure, of coming out.