Added March 26, 2011
I’m about the most emotionally oblivious person on the planet. So when I say I had no idea that I liked girls until I was 22, I don’t mean I was in denial; I mean I had no idea. I never went through the boy-crazy stage as a teenager but I just sort of assumed that I was a late bloomer and that I would worry about it later. I was much more interested in books than in people anyway. So I suppose it’s not particularly surprising to me that a book made me realize that I was gay. I was reading a story about a woman who is 50 something when she realizes she’s gay. She’s looking at a magazine and realizes that if she closes her eyes she can tell you every little detail about the woman in the advertisement but couldn’t tell you about the guy if you held a gun to her head. I shared her moment of epiphany. A sort of enormous: Oh. So that’s what that is.
In hindsight, it was kind of obvious and I now realize that I definitely had crushes on female teachers and friends and I simply didn’t realize what was going on, since I just assumed that I would feel that for a guy. I might have recognized it then.
Weeks after this, I developed a full blown attraction to another woman, which was much more intense than some of the other crushes. I think because I knew what it was this time.
In many ways I think I’m lucky. I didn’t really have any personal problems with gays or homosexuality in general; it just didn’t occur to me that the label applied to me. I’m not really out yet but I’m not the type of person who is particularly open with other people. My family is like that. There are certain things that are known and never really discussed. I’m also certain that my parents won’t care at all and neither will my sisters. I think my mother might even suspect that I’m gay. I was joking about how many people think a close girl friend and I are dating and my mother got oddly serious and said I would love you anyway. And then we went right back to joking.
I don’t think I’ll ever ‘come out’ per se. No grand announcement; it’s not my style. But I’ve promised myself that I won’t ever lie about it and so far I’ve kept that promise. For telling family I’ll probably just show up with a girlfriend one day and say “This is my girlfriend” and honestly I don’t expect it to be a huge deal. And just yesterday I was talking to someone and without any thought at all just said “I’m gay and…” and it took a second to realize that that was the first time I had ever actually said those words. It was a strange feeling.
Some of my friendships will be damaged if they realize I’m gay, a hazard of being Catholic, Southern and from a strongly Republican background is that many of my friends are too and this combination is not always the most tolerant. But some friends, I think, don’t approve of homosexuality because they don’t know it. They don’t know anyone who’s ‘that way’. And some of them I think I’ll be able to reach. To show them that normal wonderful people can be gay.
The hardest part of being gay for me (beyond figuring out if a girl is gay is I am cursed for having no gaydar whatsoever) is all of a sudden having this label attached to me, or rather realizing that the label applies to me. It still takes me a while to realize when people talk about being gay, they’re talking about me. But I’ll manage