From Couch Surfing To Owning Her Own Couch: How A Gay Woman Found Independence After Coming Out.

by Victoria A.

My name is Victoria and I’m from Brooklyn, New York.

When I was still living with my parents in Coney Island about two and a half years ago, I was going to college. And I had met someone at the college and it was a woman. I really liked her and I would bring her over all the time to my parents’ house and introduced her as a friend. My parents really liked her. Once I realize that they did appreciate her personality, I thought it’d be a really good time to come out to them and let them know who she really was and what she meant to me.

So during our usual Sunday dinner, I sat down at the table with my mom, my dad, my brother and his wife – my sister-in-law – and I told everybody that I was dating this girl, who I introduced as my friend, and that I liked women. My mom burst into tears right away and ran to the bathroom. And my brother who is a mama’s boy ran after to comfort her. And my dad kind of sat there at the table and really the only thing he said was, “Damn, I was looking forward to that cracking open a beer with your husband.”

Several days later, he actually told my mom that he was going to kill himself because he couldn’t handle this news. My mom was really upset and she said that if he does go through with it, it’s my fault. And little things like that – little aggressions – continued for about a month or two. And I would come home from college after a full day of classes and just be spoken to rudely and treated like shit.

After a couple months of those aggressions, I decided that I couldn’t really stick around at home anymore. So two to three times a week, I found excuses to leave my house and sleep at friends’ houses. I would just avoid home, which would make it worse because then my mom would call me a streetwalker. My girlfriend’s mother – they lived upstate and she had a big house and she agreed that I could come live with them for awhile to make sure that I was okay.

It was my senior year of college so I had been graduating and I moved up there with them. After moving up there, I got a job up there as well. So I’d spend the whole week up there and then some weekends I’d come back down to visit my mom, which was also very confusing because she would be very aggressive when I arrived. But if I didn’t come over that weekend, she would be very upset and also aggressive.

I did that for some time and I also happen to get a job working with LGBTQ youth upstate. At that point was when I also got very serious with my girlfriend and we decided that we were going to get married and we were also going to move back to Brooklyn. So we actually got married Henrietta Hudson’s. Henrietta Hudson’s is the oldest lesbian bar in New York City and very proud to have gotten married there. And we moved into Brooklyn and at that time I also started go-go dancing for queer parties around the city.

Besides getting married at Hen’s, I also got a job there. First I started out by barbacking and then eventually my boss promoted me to bartender. So I became a full time bartender there. At the same time my now wife and I were making a home for ourselves and we were furniture shopping, which was unheard of for me. And we got our very own couch that I’m sitting on now, so I went from sleeping on friends’ couches to owning my very own couch for friends to sleep on.

I was talking to my mom maybe once or twice a week. She called me and I wouldn’t really disclose anything that was going on, but I would just kind of chat her up a little bit. We kind of feigned this forced relationship with just to maintain some sort of connection. And that kind of changed a little bit. The focus shifted because my brother had kids and she became a grandma. She actually moved in with my brother to become a full time caretaker for them. And she stopped focusing so much on me.

Since then my relationship with my mom has improved. It’s been two and a half years now and we talk. She still doesn’t know all the details about my life but she does feel comfortable opening up to me and she likes talking about the kids and I like talking to her. And I can actually mention same-sex partners to her now.

Unfortunately my wife and I are getting a divorce, but we’re both doing really well and she’s doing exceptionally well and I am too. I’ve recently graduated from grad school and got a job that offers health insurance. I’m still go-going. I actually made it into a go-go and burlesque group called “Honey” that performs for the queer community.

My mom and I can confide in each other now and we’re becoming a little bit more like best friends just because I think she start to see me as an adult now and she feels like she can control my actions less.

I’ve come out again to her and this time, it was a lot better. She said, “if you’re happy, I’m happy,” which did make me really happy. Working on the relationship with my dad. Not sure how well that’s going to go but he seems to be okay at this point which makes me happy.

I never thought I would have a relationship with my mom. I never thought she would accept me. I never thought that I would be where I am now. Time is of the essence and time is important and from my experience at least, it truly is just giving people time to mellow and stew in their bullshit before they can come back to you and treat you like a regular human being. That’s important and it’s also important to know that you don’t have to forgive them.

Go make your own community. My friends are my family. Go get yourself a family. Go get a support system that’s there for you. It can hurt sometimes but make sure that you’re taking care of yourself in terms of your family and if you need to let go and step back, do so.

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