*~Coming Out~*

As you saw on my main page, I am gay. I want to use this page to expand on that a little. I can remember having gay feelings as far back as age 7, but of course I didn't realize it way back then. It wasn't until June of 2000 that everything finally started making sense and I realized that I was in fact attracted to other women. Being gay is not a choice I made for myself. It's just who I am, and I'm perfectly ok with that.

Let's back up a bit. As I mentioned before, I remember having gay feelings as early as age 7. I had huge crushes on my female teachers and classmates in 2nd and 3rd grade. This continued all the way through high school. At the time, I didn't think much of these feelings. I would think to myself, "Wow, she's pretty cute. Wait, she's a girl. I'm not supposed to think that. Hmm.. that's weird. Oh well." and I would go on with my life. I did date guys throughout junior high, high school, and my first year of college, but only had legitamate feelings for a couple of them. When I was asked what I liked most about my boyfriends, I would always say something about their personality. When I think about it now, I realize that I was never physically attracted to any of them.

During my second year of college (fall 1999), I met a guy named Chris, who would eventually become my best friend. After about a week of knowing Chris, I found out that he was gay. I didn't think much of it at the time, but as Chris and I grew closer as friends, I became more interested in his lifestyle and this whole community that he belonged to. In some strange way, I felt I belonged to it, too, although I couldn't pinpoint how. At the same time, I became less and less interested in the guy I was dating.

A couple months into the school year, I developed feelings for one of my college professors. This went on for a few months. Again, I didn't really stop and think about why I was crushing on another woman. During this time, I broke up with the guy I was seeing. From the time I met Chris up until the point we broke up, we had been growing more and more distant. I lost all romantic feeling for him, but had no idea why at the time. When we finally broke up in February of 2000, I felt a huge weight lifted from me.

My feelings for my teacher continued into the summer. I went out dates with a couple guys, but nothing came of them. I racked my brain trying to figure out why I wasn't interested in them. All of a sudden, it all made sense. It wasn't just them. I wasn't interested in any guys. The only person I was interested in was a woman. I was only attracted to women. I was gay. The first time the words "I'm gay" crossed my mind, it scared the shit out of me to say the least. It was scary and confusing. Having grown up Catholic, I was alway taught that being gay was a bad thing. I was afraid of what my family and friends would think of me if they knew. So, I made the decision to not tell anyone until I was no longer fearing and questioning my homosexuality.

Since I didn't want to tell anyone yet, and the town I'm from has no gay community, I turned to the internet. I looked at a huge number of lesbian resource sites and read other people's coming out stories. I also started to allow myself to look at girls and reassured myself that it was okay. I remember how great it felt to see a hot girl and be fully aware of what I was feeling.

In September of 2000, I started talking to Erica after visiting her website. She was the first lesbian I met online and was a big help in dealing with all the new feelings I had and things I was questioning. She was my mentor, in a way. It was in talking to her that I was able to work up to my next challenge: telling someone face to face. I decided that if I was going to come out to someone, I wanted it to be someone I was very close to and could trust completely. I chose Chris, because I knew he would be supportive and non-judgemental. I definitely made the right choice. He was right there with a big hug and answers to all my questions, and told me all about when he came out. It not only took a big load off my mind, but it took our friendship to a deeper level.

Gradually, I came out to more and more people, including my sister Krissy. I still couldn't work up the nerve to tell my dad, though. In April of 2001, I met a wonderful girl named Danielle, and she became my first girlfriend. I had never been so crazy about someone in my entire life, to say the least. In fact, I was so in love with her that I decided to finally come out to my dad because I didn't want to hide my feelings for her anymore. I was nervous as hell and I cried a lot, but I told him. I was so scared he wouldn't accept me or love me anymore, but god damn, was I ever wrong! He asked me if I was sure that this is what I wanted, and after I said that it was, he gave me a big hug, said "ok" and told he me loved me no matter what. :)

Danielle and I broke up in August of 2001. I'm not going to go into details, but I'll just say that it wasn't meant to be. I'll never forget her though. She helped me realize a lot about myself and I can never thank her enough for that. We're still friends and talk every so often. A couple weeks after my breakup, I met a boy named John online. I visited John's website and found out that he was transgendered. Now, this was something I was not at all familiar with, and I learned a lot about transgenderism and gender fluidity through John. He and I are best friends now. He is an amazing person and I couldn't be prouder to know him.

I am now at a place where I am more comfortable with myself than I have ever been. I'm all the way out of the closet now and I've come to fully accept myself for who I am and have learned to not let any negativity get to me. I have no regrets about coming out. To anyone who is in the process of coming out and happens to read this, be proud of who you are and be happy with yourself. There will probably be times when you will be better off not raising the issue though, so always think of the consequences first. In the end, though, everything will more than likely turn out fine, and you'll be happier than you've ever been. I wish you the best of luck.