I grew up in Lewiston, NY which is a small town not too far from Niagara Falls. Back then the only thing that made me different was the fact that I was hearing-impaired. Somehow being deaf meant that you were a freak, but little did I know that 20 years later I’d find something else to add to the supposed “freak” file.
I always had stronger bonds with women than I did with men, which was odd as my family was pretty darned normal in every sense of the word. I didn’t notice that I was attracted to women until high school, but since I was at a Catholic high school at the time I kept my mouth shut for fear of being bullied or beaten up. I hid myself in the metaphorical closet and turned to the Internet for solace, but back then you didn’t have Facebook, or Twitter, or YouTube or any of the other cool networking sites. All I had was AOL and this rinky-dink chatroom called M.O.T.S.S. which stood for Members Of The Same Sex. I met other GLBTQ people online, but as far as I knew I was the only dyke in Lewiston, NY and man oh man did that make me feel lonely.
I did the usual stupid stuff that lonely people do like drink, smoke, get caught up in cybersex and meaningless long distance relationships. I thought I was hiding everything from my parents, but I forgot how rotten of a liar I am.
I remember sitting in therapy trying to come out to my mother. I was beyond terrified as I thought for sure I was going to be disowned. I remember the conversation went something like this:
Me: “Mom… Uh… I like girls”
My Mom: “OK honey.”
Me: “No Mom. I mean I really like girls… a lot”
My Mom: “OK honey.”
Me: Mom! I mean I want to have sex with women!”
My Mom: “OK HONEY”
Me: Mom, you don’t get it! I’m trying to tell you that I’m gay!”
My Mom: “And I’m trying to tell you that it’s OK.”
Me: Mom, you must have gotten the wrong script because in this country when someone comes out to their parents as gay the parents disown them.”
My Mom: Well that’s stupid because you’re my daughter and I’d love you even if you were a 6 foot tall alien with purple spots!”
My parents were actually quite fine with me being gay, which always surprised me as everything I saw on TV or in the movies always said your parents were supposed to hate you if you were gay. I never really found the GLBTQ community until I moved down to Maryland six years ago. Now I’m in a wonderful relationship with my partner, who I met at school two years ago and I couldn’t be happier.