Coming Out: A Repeated Cycle of Correcting and Clarifying Peoples Assumptions
When I was 7 years old, my mum left my dad for a woman.
I was young so it took me years to realise that the woman she was living with was her partner, and even once I realised I didn’t tell any of my friends until I was 12. It’s hard to deny that was integral to my own experience both coming out and as a queer person today.
When mum and I talk about her coming out so in retrospect, she always says that she wanted to set an example for her kids by living her truth, no matter how hard it was. She also says she could sense me being gay from a mile away, most people did. I never liked people making assumptions about my sexual orientation. I think now that I’m an adult I realise how much it deeply effect me growing up, and how much internalised homophobia I now carry as a result.
The scariest person to come out to was my dad, naturally. His wife left him for a woman, I was terrified that he hated queer people. It went well but there are still subtle things that make me uncomfortable. He didn’t acknowledge any of my girlfriends until I was 20. When the Hannah Gadsby show Nanette came out we had a very long discussion about it with him and his girlfriend. He asked me “You’ve never experienced homophobia like that have you?” I responded “I have, but why would I have talked about with you?” His girlfriend quickly changed the subject.
I don’t think we ever really stop coming out. It is a repeated cycle of clarifying and correcting peoples assumptions. I identified as gay when I first came out and I still like that term. I have a strong aversion to the word lesbian, which comes from seeing how it has been weaponised and used against my mum. My sexuality, has evolved, so I now see myself more as being queer, or pansexual but for me that’s always too complicated to explain. Same can be said about my gender identity, I see that as being quite fluid now as well. Some days I feel like I could identify as non binary and other days I feel very comfortable being female. My gender and sexuality are very interconnected and I don’t really like ascribing to labels to myself in general, but I understand how important they can be for other people.
Being queer is such an integral part of my identity, yet I’ve never wanted it to be all encompassing. I don’t want to be known for just being queer. And still, I have shaped my current degree around understanding and analysing heteronormativity because its what I’m interested in and passionate about.
Regardless of all the complexities of my personal identity, I love being queer. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The LGBTQI+ community has such an array of stories and experiences that are all so unique and individual to the person, I think almost everyone should be able to find a story that resonates with them. That’s why I wanted to share mine, maybe I can help someone else along the way.
This article does not represent UN Youth Australia as a whole – this is simply an interpretation by one of our fantastic volunteers in hope to create ideas and/or increased dialogue surrounding this topic.
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