A personal story in honor of National Coming Out DayWritten by Emily Hickey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In honor of National Coming Out Day, which was Oct. 11, I wanted to dedicate this column to my coming out story in hopes that it will inspire those still “in the closet” to step out, or provide others with a new perspective on being a member of the LGBTQA community.
Attending Catholic school for 12 years and only playing with the kids around the block did not provide me with many opportunities to interact with members of the LGBTQA community. My only impression of gays and lesbians growing up was negative because my family and friends never talked about it and my education preached that it was a sin.
That being said, even though everything around me told me being a lesbian was unfavorable, I couldn’t help but constantly question whether I was normal or not sice I was drawn to women more than men.
Does every girl think about these things? Is this just a phase you go through while growing up? If I were a lesbian, would every good thing in my life disappear? Would my family still love me? Would I be cast out from everything I know to be “normal?”
Questions like that ran through my head every time I thought a girl was extraordinarily pretty or I caught myself dreaming about beautiful actresses. Regardless of how many times a week I questioned my sexuality, coming out or even exploring was never an option. None of my friends were trying to kiss girls, no one in my family was gay, no one in school let it ever become a thought.
So I continued on through elementary school, junior high, high school and even a little bit of college dating boys and seeming to be boy crazy, only to be tortured by the options I never had. I never had the option to think it was OK to be a lesbian. I never had the option to date a girl in high school without public humiliation or expulsion. My life was conditioned to be boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl.
I did date some amazing men who were compatible with me on nearly every level, but there was something significantly huge missing. It was as if I was just going through the “normal” motions when it came to my dating life but I never saw myself being truly happy.
Rooted deep inside, I always knew that I was a lesbian but it wasn’t until I had my first girlfriend that it all made sense. I discovered a sort of bliss that I never knew existed. It was a happiness that never faded and once I found it I knew I was never going to let it go.
I came out December 2009 to my immediate family and closest friends. Now, nearly two years later, I could not be more loud and proud. To be me feels good and to advocate for others who just want to be themselves feels even better. It can be a very harsh world out there for those that dare to step out of the “closet,” but to take that risk means to potentially gain the dating experiences you were meant to have or even the love of your life.
While it may have been difficult for some in my life to accept, I continue to tell myself the people that are meant to be in my life weren’t there for me just because I was straight. They were in my life because they love me, all of me, including the lesbian me. There is just something so liberating about being able to truly fall in love, start a family with the woman that I fall in love with and share that love with the world around me.
Emily Hickey is an advocate for the LGBTQA community through Toledo Pride and OutSKIRTS Toledo. For more information, visit www.toledopride.com or OutSKIRTS Toledo on Facebook.