Author Topic: finding yourself or coming out  (Read 87367 times)

Offline Suze

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Re: finding yourself or coming out
« Reply #15 on: Apr 16, 2007, 02:10:51 PM »
ooh - I just lost a really long addition to this, the short version is that we have found coming out at work a totally positive thing over the years, especially since I got diagnosed with cancer and if B wasn't out at work she wouldn't be able to get the great support and love she IS getting at work ..cos no-one would even know what hell she is going through atm ..

and also ((chameleon))
Begin doing what you want to do now.

We are not living in eternity.

We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand and melting like a snowflake.


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Re: finding yourself or coming out
« Reply #16 on: Apr 16, 2007, 03:09:32 PM »
I am not ready to post my story as it is still a little crazy mixed up - but I have found this a very useful thread - it has helped reassure me, my situation is not unique after all.  :)

Offline Gilly

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Re: finding yourself or coming out
« Reply #17 on: Apr 16, 2007, 04:05:11 PM »
I came out in September last year at the age of 33.5!  I had had feelings for women on and off throughout my life.  I didn't fancy women as often as I fancied men, but when I did, the feeling was so much more intense.  I had a few times in my life thought "yeah, I am gay", but for one reason or another I dismissed it.  Last year, moving into a house with 3 other people, one of whom was a gay woman, triggered something in my mind that had lay dormant for several years.  I realised that I might be gay and that I didnt want to keep going round in circles with this one.  I wanted to know once and for all if I was gay, straight or bi-sexual.  I felt quite determined.

I had a stressful month or two whilst I tried to work out my sexuality.  I think my main concern at the time was that I could never tell my family and was worried about the reaction from friends.  I also worried that if I realised that I was gay, then I would be a different person i.e. that everything in my life would be different.  I gave myself a really hard time about having not worked this out previously.  That some people knew when they were 14 and I still didn't know at 33.5, made me feel like a failure!  I talked with my gay housemate a lot at the time...but there were a lot of things that I couldn't even talk to her about, for example, it didn't seem right to tell her that if I do eventually realise that I am gay, that it would be one of the worst things that could happen to me and that my family would never get it...oh and did I mention my fairly strict Catholic upbringing? 

Despite all my worries, I started to go out with my new friend Rhia to some gay bars, the first was near the end of August.  I joined gingerbeer, went to a couple of meets, and within 2 weeks, I was arranging a meet of my own to a club (Rumours).  I got my first snog there, and it last 3 hours and was fantastic!! ;D  And I got my first shag on the 17th of September...nice!! ;D  Apart from the first couple of weeks when I was really nervous (I still got nervous after that but could mostly relax and enjoy myself), I had a total blast when I came out.  Started going to clubs and bars and was out about 4 or 5 times a week.  I totally felt like a teenager again. 

I have come out to all of my friends, work colleagues (if the subject comes up), my sister and one cousin.  I will tell the rest of the family fairly soon, I would like to leave it a bit longer, but my cousin has told her father and he is threatening to tell my family (he is a total homophobe and finds it disgusting), so I shouldn't put it off for too long.  In answer to my earlier fears - I am not a different person, in fact I feel more myself than I have ever done.  And it is certainly not the worst thing in life.  My life is really good right now, and I am happier now that I am out.  About the being Catholic bit...well I still am, but I just accept that me and Benedict are gonna have to agree to disagree on some things! :)
Who could resist a cute little scottish bundle of fun ;D


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Re: finding yourself or coming out
« Reply #18 on: Apr 16, 2007, 05:34:07 PM »

This is a really good thread and i am so enjoying the written word.

My life has always been mixed with such confusion and not understanding what i am about, I married becasue it was expected in the 70s and having children was the next part, in my family you do not think, you just get on with normality! as my marriage moved on i felt i was very slowly dying inside piece by piece, no one noticed or cared so long as there needs were being met. For years i knew i was gay and feared the rejection and the homophobic comments so i GOT on with married life.

I had women come into my life as friends and i felt something for them but did nothing just carried on with a huge pretence.

Then over the years i realised who and what i am, took up meditating and simplifying my life, made new supportive friends and my old life began to expose itself as a huge illusion, i took a big step and told him it is over and i am gay and i want a divorce, the family took it very badly and made my life a misery not interestingly about being gay, just leaving him because my life made them feel good about theres!

4 years on and i feel alive once more and those who do not approve do not enter or stay in my life, i have expereinced a depth of love with a lovely woman that i never thought i would and even though it is over and has been for 18 months or more, it does not matter as i feel good, happy and live being truly who i am.

I also had counselling, spent alot of time with my now grown up kids helping them with the divorce hurt, to spite me, my ex hubbie told them and to this day they cannot talk about it.

They love me and i love them, i will give them all the time to come to terms with it,  i will always be there for them as i recognise the shock of it all on top of the divorce may be too much for them.

Thanks for letting me share.  :)

Offline Leka

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Re: finding yourself or coming out
« Reply #19 on: Apr 17, 2007, 03:16:27 AM »
I'm loving these stories! I can relate specially with some things I read from millicent's and lewl's posts.

These in particular:

I can relate to a lot of things in your post, particularly this bit:

You know, my being a lesbian is about far more than sexual attraction to women (in fact, what worries me is that sexual attraction plays a very minor, if not completely non-existent role in my crushes). I've never had a 'lightbulb moment' which comes after realising you want to get into a woman's pants.

I felt like that when I was your age.
I wouldn't worry - maybe you just haven't had your light bulb moment yet.

Like you, I've had crushes on women ever since I can remember. (I adored my Kindergarten auntie. I used to follow her around and I was heartbroken when she left to have a baby.)

Most of the time my crushes are more emotional than physical. I fell in love with this woman once and I wanted to be with her, love her, make her happy, be near her, support her, cuddle, talk, kiss... but there was no particular 'she's so hot! I fancy her' thought.
And I also had a huge crush on most of my teachers. millicent's description of how she adored her kindergarten auntie really put a smile on my face as I can see myself following my own around the school :D

But I think I just have very, very, specific taste. I solely fancy people over about 30ish. I just don't see people my age as potential partners at all

This also rings a bell. I look at 18, 19 year olds and I just can't see myself dating them or having a relationship with them. I always seem to be attracted to older women. 30-ish, 40-ish, 50-ish... which most girls my age - I'm 18 - would consider old. I just can't see how someone can call a 40 year-old woman 'old'. In fact, I don't like the word 'old' very much :P

I think I already wrote too much so let's make the rest a short version of my story (I tend to ramble, sorry).

I always like girls more than boys. When I was a kid I was bullied by the boys in my school so I never really felt comfortable around men. Even to this day I'm not comfortable around men I'm not used to.

When I was 13-14, my friends were always telling me I should give the boys a chance cos I wouldn't even have them as friends so I started making friends. I met guys that treated me nicely and became friends with them. I only thought about dating two of them but only to fit in and so I never put much effort in it and never went out with any of them.

Around the age of 15 I talked to my mum and said I thought I was gay. As I had never even kissed boys or girls, she said she thought I should try both and see how I felt, but if I realised I was indeed a lesbian, she'd always be by my side, specially in telling my dad, as we thought that would be a big problem.

At 17 I fell in lovewith a woman but I had never even kissed a woman before and felt really insecure and didn't know how to talk to her at all(I already knew she was gay and had ended a relationship recently). My dad had said he'd send me to London for 2 months to improve my english when I finished school so we bought my ticket. I did a little research before my trip and found GB by accident. Here I met some wonderful women and made a lot of dear friends with whom I still keep in touch. I got my first snog in London and called my mum the next day to tell her I was now sure I was gay ::)

I came back and came out to most of my friends. I was still in love with that woman and got close to her... after months of her not saying 'yes' and also not saying 'no', I got tired of waiting and called, asking if she was already seeing someone. She said yes. We became good friends. After that, already at 18, I dated a girl who started stalking me and then I met my first girlfriend. This situation of having a gf made me want to come clear with my dad so I came out to him and his wife last november. He took it really well and was not at all surprised about it - much to my surprise. The next day my aunt asked him if I was gay because she saw me with my friend(who was not my gf) at his wedding and thought we were acting in a strange way - I was just happy. Since I'm mostly bored when near my family, maybe I was acting in a strange way ::) He said that indeed I was gay and that he and my mum knew and were by my side and so should she. She then outed me to the rest of the family except for my grandma - only because I specifically asked her not to as I want to talk to her myself. I then came out at work as never wanted/liked to hide who I am and so decided never to hide it anymore. My important ones know and are by my side and that's all that matters. Anyone who does not like me simply because I'm gay can just get lost ;D

And I guess that's it... sorry about the really long and boring post :)
"I'm not crazy. My mother had me tested." ~ Sheldon Cooper

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Re: finding yourself or coming out
« Reply #20 on: Apr 17, 2007, 09:57:57 AM »
I think I first realised something was a little bit different about me at the age of about 10. My first kiss.. James Briggs, a freckly, chubby boy who was best friends with my cousin. We kissed outside bells newsagents and I felt nothing.. it was icky.. I thought boys were icky.
I went to secondary school.. made friends with a boy called mark.. we went out for two years, never held hands.. attempted kissing once but we both freaked out a little bit. He's now a ballet dancer  ;D
So then at the age of 13 I moved to London, started school at a rough school that was under special measures in Peckham.. boring stuff really, then in year ten.. aged 15.. this amazing girl walked in. She'd been moved by her father.. from a girls school to my mixed school because she had been caught in an unappropriate compromise.. with another girl. Turkish, muslim.. this was clearly unacceptable. We formed a friendship.. there was a lot of us... but we became very close.. she was bothered by some boys because she was so pretty and she would tell them I was her girlfriend.. pretending to be intimate with me.. and one day.. she dragged me into a toilet cubicle to hide from them .. we'd usually giggle.. wait a few minutes and come back out. This time though.. she kissed me.
From there it esculated... kissing.. groping.. until a school trip when I discovered the wonders of her  :P
We drifted apart towards the end of year eleven, our friendship was as close but her father arranged an engagement for her when she left school.. she was terribly unhappy and once we left school I heard from her once.. she was in a bad situation and it makes me sad to think of it.
I had another girlfriend towards the end of school.. A thai girl, equally as beautiful.. and into college we went..
I then ended up not wanting to be with her and dated a boy, one that was a very good friend.. again, it wasn't anything that felt nice or right to me.. and I couldn't commit or have any physical contact. Just because I didn't really fancy him. I hurt him a lot and I'll always be sorry for that.
I came out to my mum around this time.. my brother who's a little older than me is gay.. he laid the path for that.. she accepted him, as did the majority of my family.. so coming out wasn't too painful, I was and am very lucky to have my family.
So then I discovered gaydar... erk.. made lots of friends..started going out, doing things I shouldn't, using substances I shouldn't.. messing up my first year of A levels.. I saw a lot of girls.. I don't remember many significant ones but discovered a lot about my sexuality and the levels it could go to. I had a brief girlfriend called Natalie, the first girl that hurt me.. she left me for a boy.. at the time it was painful but now I just think I had a lucky escape from that one.
At 17 I'd started to go to gaydar meets, I had been out of it but someone had been watching me and they approached me online wanting to meet up. London Pride day.. 6th July 2002 I met a woman.. 13 years older than me who to be honest, I didn't find remotely attractive.. I strolled up, mashed from a champers breakfast in soho.. with short blood red hair and she seemed uninterested in me. I drank a lot.. then I drank some more.. thinking her friend phin was so cute and I'd love to have been meeting her that day.. when this girl started hitting on the fuzzy haired older woman in question.. cocky and 17, I didn't like this.. and moved in on her for the sake of it. I can't say I felt a lot of love for her, I can't say it was romantic.. special.. nice memories or something I don't regret.. but after 2.5 years.. of not so nice experiences in a relationship I shouldn't have been in, at the age of 20, I managed to get the confidence back that I'd lost to end it and was single again.
I was a single for a while.. I dated a friend I'd known for years... who screwed me over completely and at that point I'd had it with women.
I'd had a friend.. LC, we'd been friends since I was 17.. I remember the first time I saw her.. I was stunned, she was beautiful.. I didn't have any idea she had thought the same thing when seeing me.. but when we got closer during my single time.. all this came out, we formed a strong bond.. so much more than I could ever write.. and we went on a date.. from there we got closer and closer.. she moved in with me.. and to this day I remain totally in love with her.
Unfortunately she hurt me recently and the future of our relationship is very uncertain. But she's an amazing girl.. I'm only 22 and I don't know what will happen tomorrow but I know from past experience I've had.. being happy is whats important.

sorry I went on..  ;D
« Last Edit: Apr 17, 2007, 10:02:19 AM by Robiloo »

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Re: finding yourself or coming out
« Reply #21 on: Apr 17, 2007, 11:43:36 AM »
hmm, good title for this thread, Suze :)

I think I found myself many years after coming out.

I came out very young indeed, was at school, had the most enormous crush on a girl in my year, which got bigger still when she went around the whole yeargroup showing people a story she'd written about her crush on a girl in our year, with short brown hair and glasses, in her maths group.....omg could it even be me? Er, no. :-[But even after knowing this I plucked up the courage to talk to her about how I felt about her (in a broom cupboard ::) ;D).  Some time later she starting flirting with me and would ask me to "tickle her back" after "lights out" (it was a boarding school).  After several weeks or months of being allowed to touch her back she scared the life out of me by turning over....  I think she did this a few times before I actually took things further.   it was a very odd relationship.  Our first kiss was after we had had sex, and it was my first ever kiss and I got told I was doing it wrong :-[  She made it clear throughtout the 13?month relationship that my feelings for her were not reciprocated, rather she was still in love with the other bespectacled girl in our maths group...  I was besotted with her and was happy to be allowed to be with her.  She finished it after her parents found out and made her travel every day rather than living in.  She didn't leave the school and we shared a lot of classes for the following years. 

I started seeing someone else, from outside school, and suddenly "The 1" started to hint that she had feelings for me after all.  If I ever tried to talk to her about that she denied it, but continued to flirt and hint.  We went to university at opposite ends of the country, and within a few weeks had written to me implying that she was gay after all (throughout the sixth form she had talked and written at length about male crushes and boyfriends).  I was in turmoil.  I had loved her for years, had I missed the chance to be with her forever after all?  I phoned her, decided to go and see her, on hanging up the phone was approached by a woman who had listened to the whole conversation from behind me in the telephone queue  - went for a consolatory drink with her as she offered to listen to me talk the situation through... we spent the night together and she told me within a week that she loved me and didn't want me to visit the Ex - gave me an ultimatum.  I knew I was being played with by the Ex, felt sure I was kidding myself that we had a future together, so decided to stay and be loved rather than chase the object of my dreams.  I settled for 2nd best.  I was 17.

It was a disastrous relationship, which lasted over 12 years.  I left her when I was nearly 30, relieved to be spending my 30th birthday in a new situation - single, surrounded by friends, and ready to discover myself.  I had a year long relationship with a close friend, which we both new was on the rebound and not meant to last for either of us, and spent 2 or 3 years "trying to become a tart" (my description). 

I was a single parent of two lovely boys, I was host-mother to a series of foreign students from an english-language-learning school, I had finished my degree with the OU, I was finding ways to get back into paid work, and I was meeting lots of women and having lots of sex (yes, I was busy and exhausted!).  My confidence returned, I had one relationship that was really a step in the right direction for me, and started to really learn what I wanted and needed from life.  I learned to finish relationships rather than continue them to avoid ending them.  My cynicism about marriage-for-life was receding, my outlook was positive, I was finally finding myself, at the age of about 33.

This crazy path through life led me to my wonderful wife.  I hope we can enjoy many many years together, but I will never again judge the quality of a relationship by its length.  I was no longer looking for someone to rescue me, I entered into this relationship really KNOWING that I can manage on my own if I have to, and that if I ever have to leave I will have the strength to do so before making us all miserable.  For the first time in my life I love someone with all my heart who also loves me with all of hers.  It was finding myself that gave me the courage to know I was worth this and that I should hold out for it.  And this will have been the best relationship of my whole life, regardless of how short or long it is.


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Re: finding yourself or coming out
« Reply #22 on: Apr 18, 2007, 05:18:30 AM »

Offline Uncle Pants

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Re: finding yourself or coming out
« Reply #23 on: Apr 18, 2007, 07:34:14 PM »
This is all very interesting to read, and currently this subject is a preoccupation for me, since I'm in some kind of review process currently (and that's why I'm here). So here's mine, bearing in mind everything's provisional.

When I was growing up, it was common knowledge (I'm not entirely sure about the origins or reliability of this knowledge, but however) that I was mad keen on boys. This being the case, despite a slightly confusing fascination with a girl at my school who I admired from a distance, I concerned myself with boys. I mentioned the girl thing to my mum (who gave me the traditional 'don't worry, everyone gets that' line, not in a mean way) and a close friend who said 'ew, you're not a dyke are you?'. I don't recall being mortally wounded by that remark, but obviously I didn't try to discuss it with school friends again.

So I had boyfriends; I was a 'serial monogamist' of sorts, all through my twenties, I even lived with one or two (not in a very intentional way) but I never had what I'd regard as a 'proper grown-up relationship'. I always lost interest before too long. I had an almost sort of fling thing in my late 20s with a good friend -- strong emotional connection there -- but she was married and wasn't planning on getting unmarried.

Over time I became increasingly aware I wasn't entirely straight, but despite the fact that I was at times mixing in queer circles I had the impression that everyone else in those circles assumed I was straight, which implied to me that perhaps I was -- ie they should know, being in possession of the magic gaydar that I apparently lack. For a long time, I assumed I was hypothetically bisexual, but that it would never go anywhere because basically I've always been romantically not assertive or subby-ish or something, and girls never hit on me, only boys did. I also assumed I couldn't possibly be gay, since I had boyfriends and liked it (for a while anyway). I grew up in a female predominant family, so boys were a curiosity of sorts, and I suppose I grew up thinking that boys were what you get sex from, and I knew I liked that.

And then just a few months ago a girl who I'd known for years online (but not in person) and who I'd had no romantic feelings for that I was aware of turned up to pay a social call, and the chemistry was like nothing I can recall. Sadly that couldn't lead to a proper relationship for all kinds of reasons, but it was definitely a wake up call. It provided some answers and a whole lot of questions. It took the hypothetical out of the queerness (although maybe I've been overly sceptical re: previous hints), and it's brought to mind a whole lot of things, and it's made me think that maybe I've been constraining my definitions inappropriately.

While I'd been so certain I couldn't be a real actual gay because of having had the boyfriends I'm now realising a whole lot of things. I've known for ages that I have no interest in visual images of men -- I spend way too much time looking at pictures of ladies' bottoms on the Internet for a straight girl. My straight female friends talk about appreciation of cock in a way that makes no sense to me. I mean, I appreciate the functionality, but I can't imagine admiring one for its aesthetic qualities. I have never walked behind a man and admired the view of his bottom, and yet I often notice women.

Another thing that has made me doubt my gayness until recently has also just started ringing some bells. I've spent pretty much the entirety of my 30s being infatuated with some inaccessible guy who pretty much strung me along really. And he wasn't even a real person. At least there was a real person he was based on, but the thing I was infatuated with was predominantly a product of my imagination. That was blown out of the water about a year ago, and I was disappointed to discover a normal human male with motivations I didn't approve of and who wasn't all special as I'd built him up to be in my head. It was pretty much a grand finale of a series of disappointments really. And I decided that it was all too much trouble, and I wasn't capable of being in love with anyone real and I was just too picky and wouldn't be able to find a satisfactory man ever.

And then my Internet girl showed up, and everything looked different, and since I got over the sad stuff associated with how that wasn't really going to be able to go anywhere, I've felt tremendously happy and relieved. I feel like I suddenly know myself so much better. I'm still sceptical -- it feels too much like some sudden 'seeing the light religious experience', and I don't fully trust it 100%, but I'm getting surer all the time. Sometimes my heart sinks when I realise I've probably reduced the size of my potential partner pool drastically, and then I realise that actually perhaps what I've done is weeded out millions of unsuitable ones which should make the suitable ones more visible. And then I realise that sitting about waiting for someone to find me probably won't work so well any more. Especially if I just sit at home by my computer going "Hey! I'm gay! Yay!" in my head. But one has to start somewhere.
"get out of my thread you twisted love puppet" -- outoforder


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Re: finding yourself or coming out
« Reply #24 on: Apr 18, 2007, 07:48:05 PM »
Aubergine :)

Offline Uncle Pants

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Re: finding yourself or coming out
« Reply #25 on: Apr 18, 2007, 07:51:21 PM »
"get out of my thread you twisted love puppet" -- outoforder


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Re: finding yourself or coming out
« Reply #26 on: Apr 18, 2007, 08:46:57 PM »
This is great thread and makes me realise I have not been alone but maybe go on alot longer.

I always knew from an early age that I was never entirely straight, but I went along just like everyone else had boyfriends and lived in denial for years.  In the area where I live it is the norm to be husband, wife and 2.2 kids, a 4x4 in the drive and kids at private school.  When I divorced my husband 12 years ago I was the only single mum in my sons year and the only single mum in the road where we live - things have not changed in 12 years.

My parents always had expectations but I provided them with grandchildren, and they are not the sort of people I could ever come out too.

When I got divorced I started to discover the real me but I knew that I could never be truly happy as a relationship was out of the question again due to my parents living so close by, and the area.  I was in a closet ten foot high with ten foot walls and I could not budge.  Was I happy - no - I was living my life for everyone else but not me.  There was alot of sneaking about and lying to anyone and everyone, I had smoke screen boyfriends and could not talk to anyone, and another of my friends that came out 10 years before had to move away so I was not keen to repeat the same thing as she had lost alot of friends in the process  :-\

Anyway last year, I met someone who I fell in love with big time, but she had her own issues as well.   All my friends knew at that time there was a lot more to it than what I was saying and I was not being entirely truthful about what was happening as half the story did not make any sense what so ever.  Only after walking from her and a few months later I decided to start coming out. 

Once I did it was easy, sadly my brother is threatening to me blackmail me and out me to my parents - but he is the only problem.  All my friends have been great - each and every one of them, and they were all upset that I could not talk to them at the time.

This woman did change my life without a doubt, and find myself as well, though at the time I did not appreciate it. Even though I walked away and we have not spoken in a year, I wrote her a letter telling her that she did change my life and I will always be thankful for that

I am leaving London by my own choice in a few months to start my life over again, away from my family so I can truly be me for the first time in years

Offline Neon

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Re: finding yourself or coming out
« Reply #27 on: Apr 20, 2007, 02:02:22 AM »
Great idea for a thread :)  Good luck to anyone reading it looking for hope...

So I'm 20, at uni on a year abroad in the US at the moment.  Although I won't go into specifics, I'll simply say that I've never identified to myself or anyone else as straight.  I think if people thought about it it was pretty obvious, but I also didn't explicitly identify as queer until mid-way through my first year of uni.  At that point I came out to uni friends as gay.  I didn't feel it quite fitted, however.  My first relationship was a complete mess, and although it only lasted three months I felt the effects for at least a year after.  At the end of my second year - this past Summer - I somehow started seeing a male friend of mine.  With that I was de facto out as bi. 

I left for the US shortly after that, and while here didn't assert my orientation straight off.  Bi didn't feel quite comfortable, and neither had gay.  However, I knew that straight was way off the mark.  It was here that the US LGBT make-up has helped a lot.  Whereas it's completely social at my home university, here it is more focused on identity formation and anti-oppression discourse.  Having been to some discussion groups, met some great, supportive people, I've finally found my identity.

I identify as bi-asexual.  I have never been attracted to someone sexually.  Whatsoever.  I do, however, experience romantic attraction.  When I watch films or tv with friends they always say how attractive they find someone, and then ask round for assent/dissent.  I've always responded to these inquiries with a joke or a shrug.  I never knew why the question had never even crossed my mind up until their asking it.  It's just not something that's in me.

All I would say to people who are searching for their identity is do not worry about deciding on a box and sticking to it.  I felt a ridiculous amount of panic when I started seeing my male friend - after all, I was gay.  But sexuality (/attraction) is so fluid that these boxes are maybe useful to start with, to be able to assert yourself as something, but don't let that be the end of your formation.  If you identify with a label by all means it, but do not be scared to explore others, to move between labels, to use a label while it fits and move on.  Identity is first and foremost for yourself.  Do not be panicked by others' stereotypes or beliefs.  If it feels right, use it.  And stay open-minded that sexuality isn't something that can be boxed and sit stagnant.  Good luck finding yourself :)

Offline angelstar

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Re: finding yourself or coming out
« Reply #28 on: Apr 20, 2007, 06:21:05 PM »
Im loving this thread and think if I had had something like this when I was exploring my sexuality it would have helped so much! thank you all for sharing.

Ok My story.

As a child/teenager I lead a very sheltered life I wasn't allowed many friends or able to go out in the evenings to friends houses. I didnt even feel like I could buy magazines like Cosmo because they mentioned sex and if my mum saw them shed be cross. So consequently I never even knew there was such a thing as a lesbian or a gay man! (please note this was only ten years ago). I had a boyfriend at 14 and we were together nearly a year which sadly enough has been my longest relationship to date. Although I enjoyed what he did to me I never felt even remotely inclined to touch him and, in hindsight, this may have told me something if Id had any prior knowledge of lesbianism. People at school used to tease me about it but I never really understood them. Anyway after school and throughout a levels I had 'crushes' on boys but was always too afraid to make any moves, claiming to friends that there'd be no point because they wouldnt go out with me anyway. I noticed girls more than boys but like many here didnt associate my feelings with anything-I just thought that it was because these girls were interesting or whatever.
Once I went to University I started to realise I had a crush on a friend and to recognise that I would quite like to kiss her. But again I dismissed it as being just because she was quite masculine and I couldnt possibly be gay because...well I just couldnt! When she came out to me and admitted she fancied another friend that I suppose was half a light bulb moment. I knew when she said it that I was jealous and that I wanted it to be ME she liked. I ended up seeing a counsellor because I was so confused and so afraid that if I was gay my family would disown me! She helped me to see that the only way I would find out was to try.
We went to a local gay bar with a member of staff from the university for my 20th birthday and it was this girl who sealed it for me and gave me my 'light bulb moment'. the second she kissed me I knew that it was right. Everything fitted into place and I realised that that was what id been missing. We had a very intense fling for a few months before I got a serious girlfriend. I remained in the closet for another 12 months, during which time I was engaged to a girl but we broke up and I went back to the first girl Id been with. She helped me find the strength to tell my parents but decided that we were better as friends.
I came out to my mum by letter just before I was 21. She didnt take it well-didnt speak to me for a week and when I did eventually raise the point with her she told me she hadnt wanted to know, didnt ever want to discuss it again and that I had to 'act normal' because the shock would kill my gran. Even now the recollection of that time makes me cry. I am still, to family at least, straight in their eyes and act like I am for them. Naturally this makes relationships difficult and for this reason I have been single since 2005. I regret not standing up to my mother more but at the time I was (and still am) quite dependent on her for financial support and I couldnt face losing the rest of my family. This is a bridge I am yet to cross.
Ive been mostly lucky with my friends-most people I have come out to have been wonderfully supportive, if slightly curious. Sadly I have experienced one instance of quite severe hate against me-the girls I was living with in my final year at Uni brought some lads home told them about me and the whole gang tried to break down my bedroom door. They hurled abuse and threatened me with some rather unpleasant things. Luckily the door held and I moved out not long after.
I am lucky now that the job Im in allows me, if I choose to be open about my sexuality and I am finding this strangely liberating and it is improving my self confidence. However I know that if I return to my trained profession of teaching I will feel obliged to return to the closet once more!
I think with your sexuality you are constantly on a journey and constantly coming out and reevaluating your ideas and at the moment I feel like Im going through another change period where Im starting to resent having to hide. Sadly I dont know how to fix the problem!
Anyway thanks for reading this-hope it helps others.
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Re: finding yourself or coming out
« Reply #29 on: Apr 20, 2007, 06:39:32 PM »

I'm really enjoying reading these stories, it's made me think about my own coming out process... have only just re-registered with GB (although I used to post as Sophia, a few years ago when I used to live in London) so will be returning to share a little bit of my story... soon :)

and thank you for the generosity of telling these stories...  ;)