My Coming Out Story

I’m not entirely sure why this is the right moment to write this; National Coming Out Day was over a week ago, yet for whatever reason I woke up this morning feeling compelled to tell my own story.

I don’t believe human sexuality is binary. I think there are far more of us who fall in-between than who are strictly “straight” or “gay,” yet social and legal conventions impose that sort of restriction on people. As for me? I prefer to identify as “queer,” as it’s less restrictive and avoids that binarism. But whatever. The fact of the matter is that there have been women in my life that I’ve loved deeply — emotionally and physically — but I prefer men. So there’s that. Emotionally (and physically) I prefer men.

It’s been a hard road arriving to that point. I grew up (and am still ha) the child of very conservative evangelical Christians for whom any mention of homosexuality is a complete nonstarter. I’m out to my parents, but it’s not the kind of thing we ever talk about. Most of my friends know I’m queer, certainly all of Twitter does by this point, my sister does. For so long, my sexuality has been the proverbial elephant in the room, the sort of thing I’d only acknowledge when I’d get wasted enough at college to find some boy to hook up with. It’s funny, as my first sexual experience was with my best friend growing up, listening to early Backstreet Boys (spare me the jokes please) at age thirteen on a sleepover that neither of us expected to become a sleep-together, yet did. I should have known then.

For whatever reason, be it my upbringing or my own reticence to discuss my internal goings-on (I’ve moved past this slowly and painfully), it’s taken me so long to acknowledge the facts and details of my own sexuality. I’m 27; guess that makes me a late bloomer ha. I’ve always been a fierce advocate of LGBT equality in words, and words are practically all I have. Yet I never went to a single GSA meeting at a supportive college. I set up a meeting with the LGBT/Diversity advisor at my college and didn’t show up. I was literally terrified to be myself.

I dated a girl for a long time. I’ll spare you the details, as we’re no longer in touch, but a truly amazing woman to whom I was actually engaged for a while. I wish her the best. But — as these things work out — “sleeping together” meant more and more just sleeping. I still miss her warm little body next to mine, but never desired her to the extent she deserved. I’m not proud to admit it, but more than once I cheated on her because a boy caught my eye. It was fair neither to her nor the guy, as I’d always slink back pretending nothing had happened. I can’t imagine she didn’t know, but when the time came eventually to tell her, it was still one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. I miss her to this day, but imagine that’s the sort of emotional trainwreck that’s impossible to reconcile. It’s a guilt and a shame I’ll carry to my grave.

The hardest part is coming out to yourself. Fully accepting that you are who you are, you’re born this way, it’s not going to change, it shouldn’t change, and that you’re perfectly okay being you. I said the words “I’m gay” before I really accepted deep down that it’s okay to be me, that there are people willing to be my friends who don’t give a shit about whom I love or sleep with (in the non “just sleeping” sense haha), who can look me in the eye and genuinely say “I like you for who you are.” That sounds basic, I know, but it’s been sort of a revelation for me personally. A perpetual outsider, a suicide survivor, a hopeless romantic, insatiably curious about literally everything… to finally be at home with ME has been the greatest gift these past few trying years could have possibly given.

To sum up: It’s been a long and hard road. Yet I’m still here and I’m proud to be queer and I don’t care who knows it.

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~ by Benji on 19 October 2012.

4 Responses to “My Coming Out Story”

  1. […] —I’m fully embraced my sexuality. I’ve been out for several years now, but until very lately haven’t been entirely comfortable with being gay (even though, come on, it’s not like it’s a secret haha). I’m fully at home with that part of myself now (I’ve told this particular story elsewhere.) […]

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  2. I don’t know how or why I missed this. You are so honest and open and I deeply, deeply admire your courage in writing this. It’s funny how there are all sorts of indirect ways in which you came round to the realization that you are “queer” – and it must have been especially hard to become happy with yourself, as you are. Especially with the girlfriend whom you were fond of, but not in THAT way… I think self-realization and acceptance is difficult for every gender and every variation in between, to some extent. But you are only 27 (not old or late!) and I am sure now things will get easier. Stay as sweet as you are, and you WILL be fine.

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    • That’s so sweet of you, and thank you. I’m learning every day, but friends like you — even in a different country — have meant so much to me. I may be a late bloomer, but I’m blooming. ❤

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  3. […] — just as equally) — is that stigma it carries. I’ve come out twice — as gay (I’ve written about that on this site) and also as bulimic; the second was much more difficult. Even worse, eating disorders and […]

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