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Yesterday I cohosted a program on campus (Bloomfield College, in north Jersey) entitled Coming Out in Academia:  An invitation to tell our stories, part of a series of talks entitled Talking Women's Lives.  Three lesbian faculty members each talked a little bit about our own coming out and then led a discussion of about 30 women around the subject.  A couple of of the women athletes talked about being gay.  It was a comfortable venue with no hostility.  There was joy.  There was laughter.  And a few tears.

I'm thinking that I'm in personal need of a little more...

I need to hear more stories.  It's National Coming Out Day.  I shared my own coming out story in the Gender Workshop series.  I'd like to hear more stories.  Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, family, ally...I don't care.  These are trying times for some of us.  I'd love to hear some positive stories, chuckle at some funny ones and will cry along with anyone who has a sad one.

Some of us have different opinions about how to accomplish our goals.  Some of us even have different goals.  I beleive that sometimes we need to pull together instead of pulling apart.

Are we a community?  Only if we want to be.  As for me, any friend of Dorothy's is a friend of mine.

Does anyone have any stories to tell?

Originally posted to Robyn's Perch on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 04:48 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hi. I'm Robyn and I'm a transsexual lesbian. (35+ / 0-)

    This can also serve as a roll call, if anyone wants it to be.

    Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

    by rserven on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 04:45:23 AM PDT

  •  It's hilarious (28+ / 0-)

    but I've posted so many comments here about how I think various women are hot, and how much I love Melissa Ferrick's song "Drive"... and no one got the hint.  Except my husband, who already knew.  We both wondered when people were gonna get it.

    < snicker, nudge nudge, wink wink! >

    I've been frustrated with some of the responses I've gotten from the lesbian community when I've talked about being bisexual.  One woman actually said "it's people like you who bring diseases into our community...".


    Note that I said "some of the responses...".  Not all.  Which is nice.

    Mr. President, we must not allow a mineshaft gap!

    by Page van der Linden on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 04:51:06 AM PDT

    •  Hi :-) (16+ / 0-)

      I understand your pain.  Try being a male-to female transsexual in lesbian circles.  It has gotten better, but it has taken a lot of work.

      People are who they are and should be able to define themselves.  There will never ever be that kind of bashing from my direction.  Bisexual women were among the first to accept me when I came out.

      Power to you, Plutonium Page!


      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

      by rserven on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 05:00:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  heh heh (16+ / 0-)

      i was onto you, page, and it was all because of the ferrick :)

      anti-bi attitudes IMHO are a disease in our community, too bad that woman is one of the people who bring them in.

      by decafdyke on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 05:08:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good snark (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabian, rserven, slksfca, jamiek

        The lesbian community has a very unfortunate history of bigotry toward both bi women and trannies -- I think personally that that has had something to do with having to develop such a rigid sense of identity to counter both the "lesbian phase" charge and the idea that either all lesbians want to be men or that men are perpetually trying to get some Hot Lesbian Action (which is a whole diary in itself) -- meaning that FTMs are "traitors" and MTFs are just straight men "sneaking in". I think I understand where it comes from, though it's certainly no excuse.

        It's gotten a lot better in some places over the last few years, IMO -- both because feminist thought on trannies has developed significantly and because queer theory has intentionally blurred the lines around identity. But damn, when I started working at my old gay bookstore job in 2000, it was bad. We had to work much harder than I thought we would to make that place a relatively safe one for everybody.

        And somewhere, there must be a straight woman who listens to ferrick. I just haven't met her yet. ;)

        •  One phase of my outness... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Spit, Dreggas, slksfca

          ...involved challenging some of those barriers to mtf trannies.  In fact, I was doing that almost from day one.  I was the first openly pre-op tranny on the Sappho list.  That caused a bit of a stir.  I'm a founding member of OWLS (Older Wiser Lesbians), though, so things do change. :-)

          I was also the first transsexual woman at a Women's Project Retreat.  That was a challenge.  Spend a weekend defending your existence.


          Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

          by rserven on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 10:17:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's not just the lesbian (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Spit, decafdyke, rserven, slksfca

          community in some ways. There is also the view in the male gay community of bi-men as breeders (same in the lesbian community). It's sad overall.

          Fortunately, at least in the BDSM community here in California these stereotypes are challenged and banished. A Bi male can easily attend and feel comfortable at most BDSM functions whether they are pan-sexual or gay/leather only while there are groups like LA RAWW for women to include the Mtf Trans Community (and they are hella accepting but ya have to be female (trans is fem to them)).

          It's an uphill battle but it's being addressed and overcome at least here in So Cal.

          •  It's very true (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            decafdyke, Fabian, rserven

            although I think that the fact that feminism is such a huge part of the lesbian community also changes things a bit from similar problems in the gay male community -- it means that everything has a meaning not only in terms of queerness but also in terms of feminist theory. And so it gets really complicated sometimes -- because "being bi" or "being trans" is interpreted not just through a queer community lens, but also usually through a feminist (or specifically lesbian feminist) one.

            As a sidenote, I'm a big ol' queer and a loud and somewhat radical feminist, so please don't think I'm condemning feminism or anything else... it just makes everything more political sometimes.

            The thing that stood out to me most in the gay (male) community, honestly -- well, it was two things. For one, over five years at the bookstore I came to the conclusion that a truly frightening proportion of gay men have major issues with internalized homophobia. For two, there are often truly stunning racism problems in parts of the gay community -- this is sometimes true with lesbians, too, BTW, but less generally, in my personal experience.

            •  Agreed (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Spit, rserven

              Homophobia does tend to run high among gay men in some cases, it's part of the society they were raised in and their upbringing I think which is why so many come to hate themselves and do stupid things.

              I would also agree that where feminism and lesbianism intersect there is a further politization of gender and sexual orientation. Not that it can't be overcome and not that it isn't, LA RAWW (Roudy And Wicked Women) is a case in point.

              Just as things change in society as a whole so do they change within individual segments, fortunately things are trending more towards the positive within the communities at least.

              •  Agreed back atcha (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dreggas, rserven

                There have been some really positive developments in all of these regards, and actually I've been impressed by how fast some of these shifts have made serious progress. By the time the bookstore closed, the local gay community was a very different place with very different politics going on. These things are all still issues, but they're things that are being very consciously fought by broad segments of the community now.

                •  Here in (0+ / 0-)

                  So Cal there are a diverse bunch of groups that are working towards rolling back some of the steretypes that have been ingrained in people not just in the het community but also within the GLBT community as well.

                  Here in orange County we have OCLA which is an educational group dealing with Leather and such, there are a ton of gay motorcycle groups etc then we have the LALC and LA RAWW and many more.

                  Again I speak from seeing more of the BDSM/DS/Leather people than the other non "kink" groups but it's a tight and close community out here and one I am proud to be a part of.

                  •  Someone to hate (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    So many of us humans seem to need someone to hate, some group to look down on.

                    There seems to be a widespread feeling that you can make yourself taller by putting someone else in a hole.

                    I find these attitudes hard to understand, and the behaviors they engender pathetic and despicable. But while I try to have sympathy for the demonized, I have pity for the demonizers.  How pathetically sad, to need to boost oneself up by putting down someone else!

                    Republicans believe government is the enemy. When they're in charge, they're right

                    by plf515 on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 01:06:20 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  Ummmm (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coloradobl, rserven, condoleaser, FrankieB, SBE

      I don't know the song 'Drive' and, usually, I forget what sex people here are (unless their handle makes it obvious).

      Besides which, I think it possible to think a person of either sex 'hot' regardless of one's gender.  To me 'hot' means 'would turn someone on who was equipped to be turned on by a person of that sex'.  

      So, I don't get such hints.

      And one of the nice things about the electronic community is that it is impossible to know what sex a person is. That's one way to stop stereotypes.

      Republicans believe government is the enemy. When they're in charge, they're right

      by plf515 on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 06:14:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Drive (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      metal prophet, vansterdam, rserven

      dunno that one....but man it's funny looking back and hearing songs like "Turbo Lover" and "Hellbent For Leather" by Judas Priest knowing what I know about Rob Halford now LOL.

    •  waving hello (10+ / 0-)

      Me too... most people aren't near as obsservant as they think they are.  Or bi-dar is different and less sensitive than gaydar, I dunno.

      I'll post a real story here later when I have time, just wanted to say a quick hi to a fellow bi woman.

      (confession: I didn't notice your comments, either. MY bi-dar must be on the fritz... :-))

      See you in Chicago!

      by brillig on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 06:46:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i think (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DMiller, rserven, Texas Blue Dot

      for the longest time i thought you were male.

      can be tough to distinguish gender here.

      things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

      by terrypinder on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 06:48:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I no longer even try. (6+ / 0-)

        But then, I no longer try to determine orientation/inclination of people I know in the 'real' world.  Even my friends - I figure if they want to tell me, or make a pass at me, then we'll sort it out.  Unless I'm attracted to someone enough to want to make an ovture to them, it's just not an issue.

        It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument. -- William G. McAdoo (-7.13/-7.33)

        by Shadan7 on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 07:26:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  asdf (17+ / 0-)

    Two of my college age children have been involved in musical theater since middle school.  More than half of their guy friends are gay.  It is just the way it is.  The kids are totally comfortable with it.  I think this is the way the future will be, where everyone is just accepted for who they are.  It usually takes the younger generation to lead the way.

    * 2753 *

    by BDA in VA on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 05:01:32 AM PDT

  •  Oh, do I have stories. (22+ / 0-)

    Which to tell?

    I was sitting a friend's house one evening while she was housesitting for her boss; she was watching television and telling me that her mother, a 'former' lesbian, had not only 'rediscovered' her heterosexuality, but was dating an immigrant in her restaurant in order to help him get his green card.  She was rambling on about this, and I thought it was the perfect time to segue into my situation, given that her mother's sexuality was already on the table.  "I kinda understand what your mother's going through," I said.  She kept watching television.  I wasn't sure she heard me, so I asked if she had.  "Yep."  More television.  I'm getting a bit nervous, so I say: "You know what I'm talking about?"   She whips around: "Yeah, dammit, I know you're not getting someone a green card.  Sheesh."

    I tell another friend while we're on our way to visit a buddy of ours.  He doesn't believe me, and swears I'm joking.  I planned on telling the buddy, too, but his dad won't leave the room.  So the four of us are sitting in the living room, and what do they start watching?  The Playboy channel.  Even more awkward: the topic of the day is men who enjoy anal stimulation by their girlfriends.  "Aw, man," says the dad, "What kind of queers like stuff like that?"  Awkward!

    I made the mistake of telling my mom the day a friend had to come by our house to use our shower (he'd just moved into a new apartment and had no running water), so while my mom bawled in the bedroom, I kept having to leave the room to make sure my friend could find the towels, etc.  Awkward!  The next day, my finally-stopped-crying mom makes me tell my dad: he immediately turns to my mom and says, "This is your fault."  She starts bawling again.  

    I'll type more as I think of them.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 05:17:21 AM PDT

  •  Just One Of The Guys (17+ / 0-)

    Or so everyone thought. I've had time to think about this lately given my situation and that I am a bi-sexual male involved in a poly-fi marriage and this Friday will be meeting a truly wonderful MtF Transvestite seeking to become transgendered woman.

    Guess my story is a mix. Of my family very few know, my Mom and Sister do, and my one uncle does. That's the drawback of coming from a small close minded town in the middle of upstate NY, lot's of smale mindedness. If my dad ever found out there'd be hell to pay sigh.

    I can sympathise with other Bi people dealing with the issue of prejudice from both ther Het and Gay communities though, a lot of times you aren't made to feel welcome in them, well with the exception of the leather community which I am happily involved in through my wife here in Southern Cal.

    Anyway here's a happt story of coming out and what happened. I had a friend growing up in junior high through high school. We were both rejects and so we became quick friends playing D&D and hanging around together a lot. We always razzed one another doing the macho guy thing calling each other queer and doing what our peers had done, and here I was all this time bi-sexual. In a way it was kinda funny because everytime one of "the guys" made some joke like that I would smiles inside saying "if you only knew".

    So anyway, I was hanging out with my friend S one day and was cruising the internet with him and showing him how cool it was (we had just gotten access in our area). And decided this was a prime opportunity. So I went to show him a chat room I frequented and before doing so (it was a bisexual chat room) I spilled the beans. He sat there for a moment and I will never forget the next words from his mouth.

    he said "you f'ing bastard". All I could think is oh no there goes a 7 year friendship but his next words floored me. he continued, "Here I am almost 21 years old and still a virgin and you are getting it from both sides."

    I started laughing and probably didn't stop for a good 5 mins. We talked some more and he was totally cool about it, even had a few questions. Needless to say our friendship wasn't destroyed and we are still in touch today.

  •  why is this not on the rec list? (12+ / 0-)

    let's pimp this up people...:)

    I introduced my first bf to my friends. Just kinda blurted it out after nearly 5 semesters of dropping hints. To say they were dolts would be insulting to dolts.

    He later decided to become a priest.

    things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

    by terrypinder on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 05:39:25 AM PDT

  •  When I came out to my mother, (9+ / 0-)

    her repsonse was "of course I know, I've met your friends."  My friends ageed that mother won the "bitchiest response to coming out" award.  My family--and almost all of them are registered republicans--is very accepting.  Go figure.

    •  I didn't think mine would be... (6+ / 0-) I waited until my parents were deceased.  My brother and sister are sort of okay as long as we don't talk about it, which is like, not going to happen, so we don't communicate much anymore.  My daughter and her partner were my real source of support.

      And some of my students.

      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

      by rserven on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 05:49:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Secondhand story. (5+ / 0-)

        My brother is gay and he didn't really have an official coming out.  It was just the 'secret' that everyone knew, but we didn't know if it was okay to talk about openly.  When we figured out that damn near everyone knew, we gave up on it being a 'secret'. :-)

        My BIL is gay also.  He came out after high school to his parents.  They kind of accepted it.  As in, "don't talk about it, don't bring anyone home." kind of acceptance.  I felt badly for him because what kind of relationship can you have with your folks if they don't want to know about that part of your life.  Things have gotten better over the years but I don't know how openly he talks to his dad(his mother has passed away).

        We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

        by Fabian on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 06:11:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have a story (14+ / 0-)

    although not my own.  

    It was Thanksgiving Day, and I've got alot of the family there.  My dad, stepmom, sons, their girlfriends, and my sister and assorted friends.  About 15 people.  

    So I'm preparing this humonguous meal, and I'm in the kitchen taking the turkey out of the oven and my dad says, 'Have you talked to your brother lately?'  My brother and I had had a tiff, and hadn't spoken in a couple years, and so I told my dad no.  Well, my dad says, he and Kirby (the wife) are getting a divorce.  

    This is not suprising in my family, sad to say.  We're all what you might call serially monogamous.  So, of course I don't register much shock.  Meanwhile, trying to do 50 things trying to get the meal on the table.   Then my dad says, he's leaving her for a man.

    The circumstances really were comical, to be honest.  My dad, one of the biggest homophobes going, took it rather well.  Although when he complained a few years later that he never saw my brother, I said why not invite him and his boyfriend.  He couldn't go quite that far.


  •  Mine was a blurt-out (14+ / 0-)

    too.  Basically, my father wondered why I'd been so withdrawn.  The truth was I'd met Partner™ (ONLINE, no less), and hadn't been spending that much time with Dad anymore (Mom had passed 2 years previously, and Dad had become quite accustomed to me being around, sort of to take her place).

    I told him I needed to talk to my sister.  Tried calling her, no answer.  Dad pushed again.  Tried calling Sister again, no answer.

    Finally, I turned to Dad and said, "Dad, I'm gay and I'm moving to Texas to be with Partner™, the man I love."

    His response?  "You're moving?"

    Sister's response?  "I KNEW IT!!!"

    Since then, I've come out to a few other friends (when needed) and co-workers (when needed) and never have had a bad reaction, honestly.  A few have become more distant, but nothing outwardly hostile.

    That's my dull story.

    -TBD (-5.75, -5.59) "We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty." - Edward R. Murrow

    by Texas Blue Dot on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 05:56:24 AM PDT

  •  No story to share... (9+ / 0-)

    ...since I'm comfortably het and have been all along.  But I grew up in a homophobic environment, without any contact with gays (I knew of).  College in the late 70's was an eye-opening experience, particularly so since my school then was about 1/3 gay.  Being immersed in that environment helped me to get over my prejudices, and was a foretaste of what would be required for the rest of mainstream culture to calm down.  

    So here's a morning toast to all of you for coming out - it's the only way those of us who aren't will come to understand that the spectrum of sexual orientation includes our family and friends.  If you haven't yet, I hope your experience is a good one.

    It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument. -- William G. McAdoo (-7.13/-7.33)

    by Shadan7 on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 05:57:08 AM PDT

  •  I've got stories (10+ / 0-)

    even though I am a straight male

    My first girlfriend was a lesbian (well, when we were dating, she thought she was bi, when she decided she was L, we stopped dating).  We stayed friends until, oddly, I got married, when my wife was jealous.  (Humans are curious creatures).  During the friendship phase, we used to hang out and ogle the same women and compare our tastes.

    Then I can embarass myself with this one, and ask advice, maybe....
    I work, as I've said, in AIDS research (at least for a while job will cease April 1; I may quit before that).  Not surprisingly, we have a lot of people of all types of gender.  Anyway, one day, I see a man who I don't know walking into the ladies room.  He's not really looking where he's going, and doors all look the I call out "excuse me, that's the ladies room' and he says "Yes, I am" and goes in.  Oooooof.  Will I ever learn to be quiet?  (maybe the only advice is to keep my mouth shut....).

    Anyway, I recommended this diary, because it deserves it, and because, while there is a GLBT community, there is also a dailykos community, and, more than that, a HUMAN community.  We're all in this together, some of us (Dennis Hastert?) just don't realize it yet.

    Republicans believe government is the enemy. When they're in charge, they're right

    by plf515 on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 06:10:53 AM PDT

  •  my mom cried for three days (8+ / 0-)

    and didn't leave her room for a week. i remember her disgust whenever she saw a lesbian. she used to tell me that they were all going to hell... well at least i'll have company down there.

    •  Good company (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rserven, dotdot


    •  One definition of hell: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The place other people go.

      Fortunately, we have no such concept in my belief system.

      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

      by rserven on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 06:31:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sadly, when I was in group therapy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      one of the women was a lesbian who was convinced lesbians were all evil, sinful and disgusting. She was also a real estate broker who thought that was disgusting, and was hooked on coke.

      (I am, of course, not equating profession, gender, and drug of her problems was that she couldn't distinguish them).

      Not good.  The group broke up before she resolved anything, so I don't know the end of the story.

      Republicans believe government is the enemy. When they're in charge, they're right

      by plf515 on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 06:48:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sadly (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabian, Texas Blue Dot, plf515

        and all joking aside (I joke a lot can ya tell?) this is something that happens a lot to many GLBT people, they can't accept themselves and turn to escape mechanisms to try and supress who and what they are. You see it resulting in drug addiction and often times suicide.

        Fortunately a large number of people ar changing their opinions and I for one hope it continues. Having come from a background of closed mindedness and intolerance I can honestly say there were times when I thought about punching my card and checking out of hotel earth.

        The thing that saved me, was actually the internet and realizing I was not alone. Picture being a submissive male, goth boy, pagan, bi-sexual in a town controlled by the baptist church.

        It was not easy.

    •  In my opinion (0+ / 0-)

      St. Peter will be waiting for GLTG people with the Pearly Gates saying come on in because some people have already put you through hell.

      FRODO FAILED BUSH HAS THE RING "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results." Einstein

      by FrankieB on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 08:43:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sliding scale (9+ / 0-)

    I noticed someone earlier said something of a sliding scale of Hetero/Homo.  I've always believed that people were born Bi-Sexual - or even Non-sexual (not attracted to either or all)  We gravitate to one or the other as we grow - some never do- being stuck in the middle.

    As for me - I tried the "hetero" thing, had great sex with men, realized I felt "icky" afterwards and just didn't want to wake up next to one every morning.  (funny, I know a lot of straight women who feel the same way.)  

    I've been in a wonderful relationship with a great partner for 13 years now.  My family is wonderful - they love her to death (My sister has claimed to be her "second wife").  

    Wasn't always so easy - My stepfather - who is no longer in the picture - told me if he ever found out I was gay - he would never allow me to see my little sister again.  Years later - he had to wake up to the fact that his own brother was gay.

    Funny how Karma works.

    Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct. - George Washington

    by Musethalia on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 06:29:58 AM PDT

    •  Karma often runs over dogma. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brillig, coloradobl, Texas Blue Dot

      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

      by rserven on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 06:32:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes Indeed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HK, rserven

      see I am a case in point where there is a sliding scale. My wife calls me a 90/10 though all of our gay friends had me pegged as bi from the get go (gotta love gaydar).

      I am 90% het and 10% gay on the "scale". I like effeminate men, twinks, panty boys whatever you want to call them and have a special love for T-girls as they seem to like being called here in Cal.

      Like I said I am very picky probably because I am the very masculine top type and like a smoothe femme bottom boy. Also goes back to my first BF. Does it make me str8? Absolutely not but if there was a scale that is where I stand.

  •  Oh and as part of the "Roll Call" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lipstick Liberal, Fabian, rserven, pico

    Hi I'm Josh and I am a bi-sexual Male.

  •  My "not coming out" story (8+ / 0-)
    Years ago I corresponded with a famous gay poet whose poetry often deals with overtly gay themes.  I thought he'd get a kick out of knowing that a hetero guy enjoyed his writing and that his poetry had "crossed over" in terms of its audience.  He couldn't accept it -- he was convinced I was a closet case and even sent me an autographed book with an inscription wishing me "closet dramas."  I love it!
  •  These are great stories... (10+ / 0-)

    I have a long diary up on why it's essential for people to come out. A snippet of recent statistics:

    The big news this year is information that should put fear into the hearts of The Base -- 70% of heterosexual adults now know someone gay.

    And -- those with an out gay or lesbian family member raises the typical American's support for full marriage equality by 17 percentage points.

    The above results are from two studies being released by HRC, one by Harris Interactive and the other, "'Coming Out' and Americans' Attitudes on Gay Rights," from the Hunter College Center for Sexuality and Public Policy.

    Additional findings:
    * 92% of self-identified gays said they are out to close friends
    * 78% said they are out to their parents
    * A majority are out to other people in their lives, including grandparents, cousins, acquaintances and casual friends, and coworkers and colleagues.

    Please come over, contribute and recommend if you wish.

  •  oh my parents (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brillig, HK, rserven, Texas Blue Dot

    they seem to be cool with it.

    they have no expectation of grandkids (I think they'd torment them anyway).

    Two of my Southern cousins (they're 7th Day Adventist) are on my Myspace page, and I'm very much out it remains to be seen what is going to happen with that route.

    i don't talk about my personal life outside of the immediate family though. it's none of their business, and the vast lot of them are fundies anyway.

    things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

    by terrypinder on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 06:54:25 AM PDT

  •  The short version: (20+ / 0-)

    I had a boyfriend with whom I was intimate at age 16, but was closeted to everyone.

    He died at 18.

    I became a Mormon at 18.... and went deeply in the closet.

    I went on a mission at 19 hoping that that would change me.

    I was closeted then.

    I went to BYU and through 'change' therapy from 21-25 hoping that that would change me.

    It nearly destroyed my spirituality and life.... suicide seemed an option.

    I got engaged to a woman at 26 hoping that marriage would change me.

    I broke it off.. but stayed in the closet.

    I went to therapy from 26-30 hoping to come to grips with my religion and my sexuality.

    At 30, in grad school, I came out to my brother and mother.

    then got called up for Desert Storm... and went back in the closet.

    After coming home, I decided to come out but remain a Mormon (thus celibate)... I came out to my other brothers, sisters, father, friends, church congregation.

    I gave up trying to reconcile the irreconcilable... and started dating.. a few years later...

    met the love of my life, we decided to share our lives together.

    I was excommunicated from my church that year.

    I had a commitment ceremony and later we adopted our sweet daughter and are adopting a second.

    I'm out to the world....

    20 years ago I was closeted and miserable and wanted to die.

    Today I'm open, out and the happiest and luckiest person in the world...

    and there is ONE thing that made the difference.

    Coming out.

  •  Gotta say something... (10+ / 0-)

    Yep, I'm out.  It would take a long time to say anything substantial about it.

    Bullet points:

    1. Came out as trans at 34.
    1. Got fired from academic research job at Big 10 university.
    1. Got divorced, moved to MN with trans girlfriend.  Got excellent job in small research firm whose response to my outing myself as trans was: 'So?'
    1. Found faith community (UU), had commitment ceremony in MA.  Figured out I was bi.
    1. Rachel died, Jan 06.
    1. Regained custody of my youngest, Mar 06.
    1. Moved to St Paul, with sig other.

    Details can be found here, for those interested in the trivialities:

    "Just Ask (nicely)" -- text of a button I often wear.

    by Transactivist on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 07:07:55 AM PDT

    •  Thank you, Transactivist... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vansterdam, Fabian, condoleaser

      ...and also thank you for helping to display to people that the trannies are indeed here.  I'n so tired of the stupid jokes.  Jokes trannies tell about ourselves and our interactions with people are much funnier.

      I've been away from online transgender venues since I moved to New Jersey and have lost track of a heck of a lot of people.  Did we ever have an previous interaction online?  I'm curious.


      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

      by rserven on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 07:13:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Only peripherally (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dreggas, vansterdam, coloradobl, rserven

        I've started commenting here within the last few weeks, and prior to that I doubt we had contact.  I do get to the Berkshires in late April most years for FCOW, otherwise seldom come east.  And I also outgrew online tranny stuff a few years back.  I occasionally lurk there, but seldom offer much.  I'm quite happy as an out transwoman, but it is not the be-all definer of who and what I am these days.  I live in the reality-based world doing hard physical science for a living, and suffer ignorance and victimhood poorly.  Sadly, in my experience, many of the trans folks one runs into online and in 3D like to play the 'poor me, how could God do this to me' card.  My policy on that is to allow anyone to bitch about anything...once.  Then I either want to hear a plan to deal with it, or nothing at all.  

        Jeez, I sound hard.  I'm not, but I guess I can come across that way.  I prefer strong competent women who stand on their own two feet; who get up swinging after life knocks them down.

        Nice chatting; I'll check in from time to time.

        "Just Ask (nicely)" -- text of a button I often wear.

        by Transactivist on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 08:38:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My friend Steve (10+ / 0-)

    was discovering his sexuality, years ago, in college. He dated women, but the relationships only became good friendships. He had no idea what was up, and I was there as he was figuring it out.

    I'm really grateful for that; it just reinforced my understanding of sexuality, for which my frame of reference had only been myself.

     My story was that I became sexually aware around age 14, and it was a full-on hetero kind of thing. It's a powerful force, our sexuality is.

    I never had a lot of the gender-related shit that so many guys had, because, as a nerd with an emotionally absent father, pretty much all of my human contact was with women: my Mom, my two sisters, girls my age. Boys my age wouldn't have anything to do with me. Too weird: nerdiness, Aspergers, ADHD, etc., etc.

    So, for me, the other sex was not a different species: the things we had in common, as human beings, far overshadowed our gender differences. But while I was never troubled by the associations with cooking, sewing, knitting, etc., I never "feared" homosexuality - I just knew it wasn't me.

    So, I am amazed by those who think sexuality is a choice, and to them, I always say: "do you remember when you first experienced your own sexuality? Did it feel like something you could 'make a decision' about? It sure wasn't that way for me!"

    -8.38, -7.74 Schadenfreude is a dish best served piping hot.

    by condoleaser on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 07:15:17 AM PDT

  •  Hey, peeps. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coloradobl, Texas Blue Dot

    I've got work calling me, so will be offline until after 1pm (office hours - it's not like anyone ever shows up).  We didn't make the Rec list, but that's cool.  Pam's diary is still on the Recent list.  But here's a thought.  If someone else could do a diary soon that would link to this one and Pam's, we could keep a thing going.  Then someone could maybe write a diary connecting to that one.

    Someone want to help keep a presence on the Recent List?

    Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

    by rserven on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 07:27:13 AM PDT

    •  That would be neat (0+ / 0-)

      I dunno why I find these diaries particularly fascinating, but I do.

      If you'd like, I can expand my 'reasons to hate' post to a diary and link it here.

      Republicans believe government is the enemy. When they're in charge, they're right

      by plf515 on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 03:54:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bi --Living as a Lesbian (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HK, coloradobl, rserven, jamiek

    Hello all...I'm in academia too!  Cool!
    Long-time LurkerKos...  Here goes:
    Always knew I was different but grew up in rural South Dakota.  My best friend was a flamboyant queen--he was the first gay person I had ever met--when I was a college sophomore!  Dated hundreds of very feminine men, many of them bi,but never fell in love until I was 32 years old and a wonderful lesbian chef personally delivered my soup.  I came out within just a few weeks, to my families shock!  After a few years of being estranged, they have all come around and come to love her too.  10 years later, we are both very fat and happy!  

    •  I'm at a college... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Texas Blue Dot

      ...where 15-20% of the faculty is GLBT.  Many of the others have siblings or other family who are or were GLBT.  The students are getting better, but we do have students from cultures that have problems with how to interact with us.  It's certainly easier to be an out as a woman than out as a man for the students here.

      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

      by rserven on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 08:33:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My Story (10+ / 0-)

    You come out in bits and pieces because it's too risky to come out in a blaze of glory to everyone e.g., family, friends, co-workers etc. Every gay person has special circumstances defining the time he or she decides to let loose the constraints a homophobic society has put upon them.  For many of us, you really have to get to a point of anger where you refuse to let others define you. I'm in my 50's so my generation certainly had a harder time coming out.

    As in most cases, both my parents always knew I was gay but no one was telling anyone else. My mother didn't like it but came round and showed she loved me no matter what; she gave me unconditional love (which I have problem with whenever I hear someone say that because there's a mean undercurrent of having done something wrong. Still, you really can't ask for much more from your mother.) My father died before I could tell him and I don't think I would have. He never would have understood and I don't believe he never forgave me for it anyway. My only sibling--my sister--has been a rock of support and we're very close and always have been. Yet, my lover of 24 years who died last year, came from a very large family  who never came to terms to with it and never forgave him.  A Pentacostal family, he really couldn't have expected much and they refused to have anything to do with him for many years. It was through his experience that I learned how lucky I really am to have had the love and support of my mother and sister.

    I remember when we first met and lived in San Francisco my lover had a friend who was a terrible alcoholic. He drank himself into hallucinations and always talked of going home one day. When he commited suicide, my lover called the guy's mother to ask about returning him there and she said, "Leave'm there!"  Although who knows what went on between them to make her response so vicious and hateful, we as gay people know his sexual orientation had a lot to do with it. His story is a broken record and we see the results of parents who have turned their children out when they found out they were gay on the streets of America every day.

    Although I'm still cautious about who I come out to (especially here in the south), if someone asks me if I'm gay, I never lie and often tell people my radar tells me will be ok with it. It's very true. To paraphrase an old saying, "Unfamiliarity breeds contempt". The more 'they' know us, the more freedom we have.  

  •  Liberation.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HK, rserven, jamiek

    To me that's what this is about and honestly I had no idea what today was until I saw the news last night about the decision by the Long Beach (CA) city Council to send a petition to the state and federal government asking that marriage be open to everyone.

    When I found out what today actually was it was pretty uplifting in many regards simply because of my current circumstances and the new potential person in my life.

    I remember having to hide who I was and since there was no gay community where I had lived it became even more important for me to do so. Now at 27 to be able to say, hey I am a bisexual male and I am completely comfortable with it and don't really care at the moment what those who would judge me think is something I have wrestled with for years.

    Growing up this was a big one, trying to be what everyone else wanted the macho boy and smart boy and trying to fit in and hearing all the time that being different was wrong. In a lot of ways I ended up feeling guilty.

    It was only during High School, when I started doing things my way with regard to how I dressed and what music I listened to and forming my own thoughts on things that I was able to come out to friends and some family members.

    Oddly enough it was Heavy Metal music that saved me with it's "screw what society and others think" themes. So there I was moshing, head banging, getting out anger and aggression and other emotions but at the same time growing more comfortable in my own skin.

    Knowing the town I lived in would never be home I packed my bags and came to California on a greyhound. It was the best decision I ever made and has allowed me to start over.

  •  In TN (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rserven, jamiek

    I'm in Knoxville, TN, originally from New York and have lived in SF, Denver etc.  I have a good barometer for knowing it's a little different here. Been here 15 years and have learned to be cautious in a part of Tennessee that's a right-wing republican bible-thumping enclave. That doesn't mean there aren't a lot of good people here; there's plenty, but I tread a little more carefully here in the south than I ever did in the north or west.

  •  Put (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spit, coloradobl

    a link to this diary over on my entry for the day :)

  •  I was one of the lucky ones... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HK, Fabian, coloradobl, rserven, jamiek

    My parents are fine with it and even my younger brother is cool.

    I have a gay cousin, and my mom's got two lesbian cousins.  So that side of the family is pretty much used to the whole idea.  My dad's side is a bit different, but still fine.  The only person I'll never bring it up to is my grandmother, because she's set in her old ways.  Much to my chagrin she's racist and homophobic.  But I love her and while I hate it sometimes, I'd rather not deal with it with her.

    I've told most of my friends, though I've hit a snag here at law school.  Today's a good day though.  Maybe It'll come up in coversation...

    "No government has the right to tell its citizens whom to love. The only queer people are those who don't love anybody." - Rita Mae Brown (-4.75, -7.13)

    by AUBoy2007 on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 09:35:33 AM PDT

    •  Good story :-) (0+ / 0-)

      I'm sorry about your grandmother, but I understand.  I like to think my grandmother would have understood, but I would have been crushed if I had come out before she died and she rejected me.  I played it "safe" and just supplied my own beliefs about her.

      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

      by rserven on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 10:35:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  thank you! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HK, coloradobl, rserven, slksfca

    Hooray for you for standing up and making a noise today.

    I know I'm coming in late, being on the West Coast, but I still want to be supportive of people being able to be who they are.

    I just don't understand how people can be threatened by anything consenting adults choose to do.

  •  My story (well, part of it anyway) (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DMiller, HK, Fabian, rserven, Texas Blue Dot, jamiek

    Mother's day, 1991.

    I made the usual call to mom, and after some preliminary chitchat there was a bit of a pause; then:

    "Son, you're gay, aren't you?"

    "Well, yeah."

    "Your father and I have suspected for quite awhile, and we don't want to have this be a wall between us.  You're our son, our firstborn, and we want you to know that we love you very much."

    I was too moved to say anything other than a mumbled thank-you, and we went on to talk of other things.

    It wasn't until late that night that, alone in my apartment, I cried, finally releasing a lot of the unhappiness and tension that had built up in me ever since high school.

    Scientia potentia est.

    by slksfca on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 10:56:42 AM PDT

  •  I'm out mostly because I was always (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HK, Fabian, rserven, jamiek

    really terrible at being in the closet.

    I come from a really small town in Calif and just didn't have the vocabulary for "lesbian" until I went to college.  I was sitting in a women's studies course and everyone came out but me.  As I was sitting there, completely in shock, the woman sitting next to me asked me why I didn't come out.  I responded that I wasn't gay.  She said I should really think about that.  (Some nerve, in retrospect.)  In any event, the rest is history.

    I've been with my lover for 25 years now, we have a great 11 year old son.  We're both out in every aspect of our lives.  Life is good.

  •  I'm 1 of the "Middle East Gurus" the Army booted (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HK, Fabian, rserven, jamiek

    Back in the Bush (41) Administration, the Army booted me for being gay. I learned Arabic AND Persian-Farsi. The training took years and only the training for fighter pilots is more expensive in all the military. Of course, none of that matters.

    Anyway, it is a funny and positive story. I was coming out, and if the Army didn't like that, well, tough. My commander even said he wasn't sure he believed I was gay, so I told him I'm sure I could prove it to him (which convinced him immediately [and no, I didn't mean it like that but I knew he'd think I did]).

    There is alot more to the story, but the only other highlight I'll mention is when I told my mother, she quipped, "I guess you won't be having those 12 kids you always talked about." So far, she's right, but who knows?

    Anyway, Happy COD!

    •  I honor your service. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Since I don't feel particularly honored about mine, even by me.  I was a Spec 5 correctional specialist at the USDB at Ft. Leavenworth, though I managed to pull duty in the Prisoner Pay section of Finance.  I got a Presidential Commendation signed by Richard Milhouse Nixon.


      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

      by rserven on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 05:40:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mine's pretty standard (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HK, rserven

    I had my first gf at 13.  I came out in college, officially to my family at 19.

    On the other hand, if you want amusing, my track record of dating women with spectacular coming outs is notorious.  We're talking daughter of southern Baptist minister, married to a man, closeted Republican who couldn't even say the "l" word out loud deciding to drop horseback riding for rugby, getting two gfs (apparently one was not enough) and to come out very publicly to everyone on a major cable network (mom, go watch that show on Sunday night!).

    [Disclaimer: I'm combining three different stories here, so if any of my exs are reading this post, it's not you specifically in order to protect people's anonymity.]

    So yeaahh, I have seen some pretty interesting things.  And let me say right now, believe it or not, I am very conventional and had little if anything to do with their spectacular coming outs.

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