Today is National Coming Out Day. So I thought I would recount my story. It started in 2000 my senior year of high school, up till this point I had never had any attraction to boys or girls. I think it was because I was too focused on surviving and dealing with my largely untreated mental illness. Anyways, I tried to drop out of school senior year I was extremely depressed and had some kind of falling out with my large circle of friends. Luckily right before I went on independent study (my mom wasn’t having any of that dropping out) I had made a new friend. This friend who I’ll refer to as PK, was different from all my friends before. We developed a real close friendship and eventually something more than that. Now looking back I can say she was my first love. Her family (including her) was really religious, her dad was even the pastor. I had never been exposed to religion before and I liked it. It started as me just having to go to church with her if I stayed the night on a Saturday night to me becoming a Christian and very involved in the church. I’m not sure how long our sexual intimacy went on for but I know it was over by 2003 and I’m pretty sure it didn’t begin until 2001 or 2002. Sadly, due to the trauma of what I’ll mention next along with ECT treatments I don’t remember a lot of the relationship but I can access those longing feelings.
So her parents started to suspect something and set us up in an e-mail. They ended up having a family meeting with her three younger brothers, one of which was still in elementary school. Everyone went around and told us how they felt about it, all I remember was being embarrassed and just hoping it’s be over. Some new ground rules were put into place, we were no longer allowed to spend anytime alone together. Note: we were both legal adults. And her mom who did pastoral counseling started seeing me under the assumption that I must have been sexually abused to have these “unnatural feelings.” I just wanted my friend back so I went along with everything. I denied who I was and a sense of self loathing and internalized homophobia took place.
I decided to get back on the straight and narrow path and enrolled in a private Christian university where I lived in the dorms. I joined match.com and soon started dating a guy with a kid. The only reason the relationship lasted as long as it did was because I like kids and we’d do things as “a family.” He was constantly pressuring me to have sex and I just abstained saying I was waiting for marriage. This was kinda true plus I had no sexual desire for him, I was just doing what I was suppose to be doing.
The next part is really hazy but I decided to give in. We started to have sex and part way through I told him I had changed my mind and I didn’t want to do this. He didn’t listen, held me down, and that’s how I lost my virginity. I’m finally able to call this event sexual assault. Needless to say we broke it off.
My two first relationships were a disaster and I still didn’t know where I stood regarding my sexuality. I continued to be very involved with various churches and my school’s ministry. I knew from PKs family what people thought about homosexuality so I never brought up the past and was not looking into dating at all.
PK went to another country to teach English. Every year she would come back to the states for a couple weeks for vacation. I usually met up with her and had lunch and we talked about updates of our lives. In 2005 or 2006 I let her know I thought that I was gay. She hasn’t really spoke to me since.
By 2008, my life was a mess. My mental illnesses were getting out of control. I wasn’t involved in religion anymore, through the church or the university. I had just had to go on psychiatric disability from work. I had no friends. All I had was my family that had stood by me through everything. Some members of my family are not very accepting of anything different. If there is an -ist or a -phobia at the end it probably fits them. I mentioned to my sister that I thought I might be gay and she said something to the effect of you should make sure before saying that, you can’t really go back once you get involved with those people. I took it as a bad thing, though she assures me now she never meant anything by it.
So I was still in therapy I stopped seeing a christian therapist because she said my only options were to get with a guy and wait for the feelings to come or be abstinent for the rest of my life. I stopped seeing her in 2006ish after 5 years of weekly appointments. My new case manager tried to bring up the sexuality topic but I went running each time, so I thought she gave up. After a hospitalization in 2008 I was sent to IOP where I met a guy I ended up hooking up with. Again there was no desire other than to be normal. He turned into a sociopath, that kept bothering me years later. We had sex once, it was painful and I felt disgusting.
Add another failed attempt at a sexual relationship, even though we were only “fuck buddies.” Anyways, when he started getting scary I avoided him. He made some threats and then disappeared. He reappeared later and ended up posting my phone number on craigs list under some kind of sex ad. Twice. Luckily I haven’t heard from him since that last time and hopefully he lost my number.
In December of 2012, an Ad for 20 somethings group came up on my facebook. I guess I had put interested in women though it was hidden. I agonized for weeks over that ad and then decided to message them and ask what the group was like and how many people attended. No response, I thought it was meant to be. A few months later I got a response and decided to try it out. With my social anxiety and closetedness I got family friend and another gay friend to go to the first meeting with me. I told my parents it was a support group. In January of 2014, I came out to my parents. It was awkward and my dad ended up giving the whole “all I want is for you to find a decent man…” speech. They squabbled a little and I took the opportunity to leave the room. I had told both my sisters prior and that the group I was going to was an LGBT group.
In October (2014) after refining my Facebook friends, I came out on Facebook to everyone I considered worthy to know. I’m happy with who I am now, but it was a long time getting there. I wish I would have had more supportive people around when I was a teenager and young adult.
It was like I popped my head out of the closet looked around and didn’t like what I saw/was told, went back in for awhile, popped back out again, stayed in for even longer, and now you can’t push me back in.
I’ve since had two girlfriends, became a facilitator for the 20 somethings group, will be receiving an AA in LGBT studies in the spring, have been to 2 SF Prides and 2 Sac Prides.