I was drunk and it was dark, but like a good dark, a warm comfortable one. It was the kind of dark that made it easier to say things, a dark where you can barely make out the faces around you but knew they were listening. It was there, alcohol bottles scattered around a living room where I said, “yeah you know what, I think I probably like girls.” Everyone in the room laughed and squealed “you like girls! you like girls!” I sighed, then laughed, took another sip of my drink and started telling stories about making out with girls at parties. After a few minutes the conversation drifted to other things and it was almost like it never happened. There was no sweeping declarations, no shocked expressions, no labels, just a group of friends, laughing and drinking in the dark.
It was the first time I had ever admitted out loud that I liked girls. It wasn’t planned, I wasn’t anticipating it, it just spilled out of my mouth like it had been stuck there for awhile, dying to get out. I was relieved, and surprised at my relief. I didn’t realize how much I was hurting myself by never telling anyone I thought I was bi. I knew I needed to tell more people, specifically my best friends. Telling them would make it more real, I knew it’d be more of a declaration than I drunken confession.
We were at home, in our shared town house, gathered in Rubi’s bedroom. There was wine I think, a bottle to split between the four of us. I was sitting on her floor, or maybe the bed, while they talked around me. I was nervous. It’s easy to say something new and scary to people you just met, or barely know. It’s an entirely different scenario when you’re sharing something with your best friends in a well lit room with nowhere to hide. I could feel the words sitting behind my teeth, knowing I had to tell them. It should be easy right? These were the people that knew and loved me, some of who had come out before, just a quick sentence and it’d be done.
“So…I told some people last night that I like girls, and that I’m bi.”
“Oh my god, this is too much right now.”
“You told them before US?”
“I always knew you were.”
It’s not the reaction I was expecting. I’m sure my face was red from the emotions that welled inside me. I wanted to take back the words, pull them from the bright room and tuck them back into the safety of my mouth. I was hurt, embarrassed, and then panicked.
The realization that they knew, or at least guessed, hit me hard. If they could see it, could everyone? Was there something about me, the way I talked, dressed, or walked that signaled to others that I was attracted to girls? If they knew, did my family know? Did my mom? It’s then that I realized I was out, but maybe not ready to be. I shouldn’t feel panicked about being seen as gay and yet I was. I thought I had fully accepted myself but…I hadn’t.
It would take me four more years from this moment in order to come out to my family and to announce myself as bi on social media where any past friends or distant relatives could see. Four years of conversations with these same friends, learning to unravel the shame I had buried inside myself. Years of laughing, crying, and experiences that would lead me to being able to stand confidently in my sexuality. I’m bi, and I’m okay with everyone knowing.
Happy pride month! It's been a year since I last wrote about coming out which is WILD. I wanted to take a moment to say I'm extremely privileged when it comes to my coming out. I was always in a safe, loving environment and knew I wouldn't receive any backlash except for maybe some hurt feelings. That is not the case for many LGBTQ+ people around the world so this pride month I'll be donating to The Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth. If you can, please consider donating to them HERE