Photo credit: cutemosaic crakelure - (via Flickr)
Advice

A Coming Out Story

By Jackie Edge

I’ll be honest, putting my coming out story to paper is more daunting than I thought it would be, especially when I’m still coming out. You see a lot of my family still do not know I am a lesbian and I haven’t told them for a variety of reasons; it goes against their religion, culture and tradition. In all honesty I don’t see a future where they would ever accept it and I suppose I am not ready to let go of them yet, which is exactly what I feel I’ll have to do when I do come out to them.

The fact is that being a lesbian is a part of who I am, I cannot help it or change it and in all honesty accepting it myself was a challenge because of my upbringing. Coming out to my friends was a long drawn out process but only because I overcomplicated it. My friends were a very accepting group as many of them were LGBT themselves so I knew they would accept me. The issues I had were more to do with accepting myself. I came out as bisexual to my friends at the age of fifteen and as I had assumed, it was not a big deal to them. The problem was that it was a very big deal to me.

I had my first girlfriend at the age of sixteen. She didn’t go to my school or even live in my town and this meant it was incredibly easy for me to keep her (and with her my gay identity) away from the rest of my life. My family would never entertain any suspicions of me being gay, it just couldn’t be a possibility so I didn’t have to worry about lying about seeing her, they just thought we were very close friends.

By the time I was twenty years old I had long since broken up with my first girlfriend and dated a few boys. I decided to take a break from everything, such as my education, my family and even my friends, who had always been supportive. I went somewhere completely new and engrossed myself in a new live on-site job, not sure if I could ever return to University or anything to do with my ‘former’ life.

There was one very drunken night where I had ended up in a gathering in a colleague’s room who coincidentally was a lesbian. After much talking, I, in my drunken state, announced I was a lesbian and was only trying to convince myself I was bisexual because that meant there was a possibility I could end up with a man; I wouldn’t completely disappoint my family.

Well, the said colleague turned out to be a great friend and much needed support because she sought me out the next day when we were both sober to help me overcome my issues. She was older and understood my problems on a personal level because of her own story.

Now I know who I am, and I am done apologising for it, there’s nothing wrong with being LGBT. The most important advice I must offer anyone having conflict with their identity, LGBT or otherwise, is talk to someone, a friend, a colleague, a stranger, it doesn’t matter. Just don’t try to get through it alone, I can assure you, from experience, it won’t work.

(Image via cutemosaic crakelure – Flikr)

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