October 1997

Notes on Coming Out

I have been aware of the fact that I'm gay for a very long time -- since I was nine, in fact. It didn't particularly hit me until I was 12 and I fell in love with another girl. My road out of the closet is very complicated, and I don't really think that I started coming out until I was 14.

I told my best friend in April, just a little while before the famous Ellen show. (Yes, she did inspire me). He took it extremely well, in fact, he is "the straight writer" for Oasis. He's in college now, and a member of the Gay/Straight alliance. I'm so proud. He helped me through all of the emotional difficulties afterward, such as telling my other best friend, and supporting me as I slowly came out to other people close to me.

I have come out in pretty much every way possible -- face to face, on the phone, through email, and even by writing notes back and forth during class. Not a one of them is easy. I did figure out certain things that were necessary:

Always, always, have a lot of time to talk with the person that you're telling. In some cases, they will have an awful lot of questions. Of course, some will just say "gee, that explains a lot" and go on with life.

Try to come out to people who you know will react well first. Anyone who is very gay friendly can be an important ally.

Be ready for anything, including rejection. I am lucky in that none of my friends has done that. I have had a lot of people to lean on.

If you're telling a parent, be sure that you have a person whose place you can crash at for awhile. One of these days, I will rant about my mother and how she reacted to finding out that her daughter was a dyke. However, I don't want to now.

And, to paraphrase Ellen, don't let anyone tell you that you aren't a good person. I have been condemed to hell by people that I do not know. Can't say that it bothers me much.

Since April, my life has changed drastically, and for the better. Silence is a horrible thing. Coming out is difficult, yes, but the pain is temporary. The pride is forever.

Kristen, poetgrrl1@juno.com

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