Ask a Lesbian: Coming Out with Pride

Dear Lesberita,
I've known I'm gay since I was 12. I'm 16 now and I havn't come out to anyone except for my best friend (we made out once and relized we were better off as just friends). She's at a different school now and I never see her. Basically I have no one to talk to about my sexuality. I made an attempt to tell my mom, and she told me I had to 'try out both before you decide for good', and I'm not sure I really want to do that I know Im gay. It kind of felt like she blew me off. I feel like Dana in season 1, without all of the awesome gay friends. All my friends at school (I go to a small private school) I'm pretty sure are all straight, and it makes me uncomfortable to be around them sometimes because they're always using the word gay like it's an insult. In history class the other day we were discussig Heath Ledger's death. One of my friends kept saying, 'It's so nasty how he played a gay cowboy. Cowboys can't be gay.' I wanted to kick him in the nuts. Is there a better or worse time to come out? I've been dropping subtle hints here and there for my parents, but I don't think they are getting through to them. Your help on this matter would be much appreciated.

Thanks a bunch,

from, Unsure Lesbian

Dear Unsure Lesbian,

First of all, thanks for writing in!

Coming out can be simultaneously scary and exciting experience for anyone. It is certainly a momentous occasion, usually involving feelings of confusion and uncertainty. Knowing that you have come to terms with the fact that you are gay is a huge step in the right direction, as they say, knowing is half the battle.

It certainly helps to have someone to talk to about your sexuality and I understand that you are feeling like you are alone in the world. I, too, get frustrated when I hear people making homophobic remarks, like "that's so gay" etc etc. It really makes it hard to know who you can trust when you talk to about your sexuality and who you can't. But it's ok to express your feelings of discomfort in regards to your classmates and their homophobic remarks without fully outing yourself.

Here are a few other things I can recommend that might make your coming out process a little easier.

If you know of a counselor at your school that you feel comfortable talking to, you might want to consider going to him or her, maybe they can offer up some advice on how to deal with the situation.

Write down your thoughts. Turn your frustrations into a creative venture - paint, write poetry, write a song! Do whatever you can to express yourself, whether it's through words or some other way, but just don't keep it bottled up inside, this will help you through your coming out journey.

Since you said you have already mentioned that you made an attempt to tell your Mom, you might want to consider really coming out to her as well. If you find it difficult saying it in person, try writing her a letter. Sometimes it's a lot easier for someone to understand something if it is written out. This allows YOU to get ALL of your feelings down on paper and it allows your Mom the ability to read, think about and process what you have just written. Tell her that you really need her to be supportive right now because you are going through a difficult time and that you know she loves you no matter what.

Another thing I can suggest is reaching out to other lesbians via the internet.

I think it is great that you contacted us, and just so you know, there are so many other girls that are in your exact same situation, so sometime it helps to know you aren't alone in the world, even if you feel like you are.

Myspace is a great place to connect with other gay women your age. There are also forums, chat rooms, message boards, etc where you can post your questions and usually get a lot of really helpful responses. Since your one friend that you came out too isn't around that much, you might want to try talking to your other friends. A lot of times, they will be a lot more understand and accepting than you might have initially expected. The most important thing of all is that you will know, in your heart, when you are ready to come out. Don't be afraid to talk about it with the people that you know care about you.

I have also included some links to some great resources that that I think you should check out too:

Coming Out Stories
Coming Out, Step by Step
Coming Out: An Act of Love (a book)

We are lucky in this day and age because homosexuality is a becoming accepted more and more and is a lot less taboo than it was in the past. Just be strong, listen to your heart and know that you are an amazing girl. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with being gay. Embrace it!

Good luck and best wishes!

Lesberita and the Lesbiatopia team

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BodyGeek said...

I think Lesberita gave you some good advice. I want to add this: Remember that you can identify as lesbian without being sexually active. You're still young and you have a whole life ahead of you to try out all the flavors in the rainbow. I've never subscribed to the theory that you have to "try out both" to know. *You* know where your desire is and you didn't find that through trial and error. Your sexuality is one thing you own completely, don't give away parts of it to prove something to other people!