Coming out is hard, but coming out to yourself may be harder. With all the negative representations and stereotypes of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people out there, how did you learn to accept yourself the way that you are, and even to feel glad about it?
Or were you just okay with your sexuality from the get-go?
I my experience lem, it just so clearly always was -- the way that my legs are simply big, the way that I simply have freckles, the way that I simply love the arts -- that I didn't struggle with it too much, because it has always so clearly just been an inarguable part of who I am.
I've had a tougher time when my attractions have clearly been primarily towards one gender. Over the last year or so, for instance, as I've watched my attraction to men go from marginal to totally kaput, when for the majority of my life, I've been a solid Kinsey 3, rather than the 5 I seem to have become (and I know you've had to deal with that yourself), it's been harder. More of why that's hard though, has less to do with my acceptig it, and more to do with the difficulties of living, dating and relating solely in lesbian format, for lack of a better word.
And it's always, always easier to "feel glad" about it in relationships, rather than when you're single and alone, especially because part of being queer can involve feeling very isolated.
I know part of staying groovy with the whole thing for me is doing what I can to filter out all the yuckiness that comes my way. I tend to avoid publications or environments that I know are just plain unfriendly in that regard, or nonsupportive. I hang out with my queer friends, and with my straight friends who I know don't make a big deal out of my sexual identity and relationships, who essentially, are no different about their approach as my queer friends, minus the obvious lack of experience.
I remind myself when I get down about the conflicts I do hit in heterocentric culture that that while some of that culture may abhor who I am in that regard, I abhor some of what I see in it just as much at times, so it's only so important.
I think of all the relationships I've had and how enjoyable and enriching they've been, even during the hard parts. I give myself room to laugh at some aspects of queer life and culture that are sticky or...well, just silly.
That all may be largely unhelpful, but it's what I've got this morning.
quote:Originally posted by Miz Scarlet: I've had a tougher time when my attractions have clearly been primarily towards one gender. Over the last year or so, for instance, as I've watched my attraction to men go from marginal to totally kaput, when for the majority of my life, I've been a solid Kinsey 3, rather than the 5 I seem to have become (and I know you've had to deal with that yourself), it's been harder. More of why that's hard though, has less to do with my acceptig it, and more to do with the difficulties of living, dating and relating solely in lesbian format, for lack of a better word.
That *is* helpful. Where I seem to have issues is -- well, I have always known and been okay about my bisexuality; I was quite open about it in high school and in my first year of college. But I have a very difficult time accepting that I may have once been attracted to men vs. women about 60-40, (maybe even 70-30) and now I'm not feeling any sexual attraction to men whatsoever.
This makes me feel as though my feelings now are not valid; though I know intellectually that's not true, emotionally it's a different matter. (Especially when it involves breaking up with someone I love very much because nothing was happening for me in that area, and I felt a very strong desire to get to know this other aspect of myself better.)
I feel like the whole thing just really sucks right now; I'm all kinds of anxious and afraid and sad, and trying to figure out how to deal with all this at once.
Well, you're dealing with two separate, but very much interrealted Very Big Things right now, love: the end of a pivotal and important romantic relationship for you and big changes with your gender attraction base/orintation and your sexual identity.
One of those things, by itself, is bound to have a big impact. Both at the same time is a heck of a lot to deal with. So, I'd be really intrigued by someone who didn't feel all sorts of awful and confused and upset wading through both those things.
I don't know if you can, but it might be helpful to do what you can to separate those things a bit more. Sounds like for you right now, they're totally integrated and very cause-effect, and that may be part of what's making some of this so hard and uncomfortable?
quote:it might be helpful to do what you can to separate those things a bit more. Sounds like for you right now, they're totally integrated and very cause-effect, and that may be part of what's making some of this so hard and uncomfortable?
oh, totally. they are integrated, and cause-effect, and I really hate the part of me that basically caused the relationship to end.
I have been writing and writing about it, and talking to whatever-I'm-supposed-to-call-him-now about it (and he has been amazingly helpful and understanding about the whole situation), but I can't seem to get away from thinking that it's all my fault and if I could just fix whatever's wrong with me, we could just go back to being happy together.
not a terribly healthy attitude to have, but gah. I just really miss him and love him, but I have this whole conflicting set of emotions, too.
thanks, Heather. I appreciate your responses. and if anybody else has had similar experiences or just wants to jump in, please do; the more the merrier.
Wel, you know too, Lem, that isn't going to be impossible for you to know if part of that lessening attraction was a decrease towards him in particular, which would be pretty darn common in any long-term relationship.
I know that's hard to look at, and it's not possible to separate it, but what I'm saying is that changing attractions, be they gender or relationship based, are never something "wrong" with anyone. Don't mean to go all esoteric on your bum, but change and transition is the nature of the world and of people, far more so than what is static or enduring.
sigh. I know. I'm trying to remember those things. thanks for your support, and for a place to air these ideas. it helps to give me more ways to think about it.
Posts: 3156 | From: Austin, Texas | Registered: Jun 2000
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lem, I've gone through a lot of the same things over the years, including once very recently when I found myself re-examining things I've held as truths for quite some time. It's a tough situation to be in, no doubt.
As Heather said, staying away from negative/homophobic environments is a biggie, especially when you're still trying to wrap your head around "it's okay to be queer, really it is." And seeking out a supportive environment -- be it online or real-life -- can be tremendously helpful. I love the little queer-positive bubble that I fell into when I moved to New York, and I've also had an awesome support group in the form of a queer women's listserv since oh, 1996 or so.
I've known for most of my life that I was heavily attracted to women, much more so than to men. It's also somewhat confusing in that my attractions don't fall neatly into the Kinsey scale, so I can't just say "oh, I'm bi" or "oh, I'm a dyke." I usually just identify as queer, and the rest depends entirely on the mood I'm in and who I'm involved with and/or lusting after at the moment.
Oy, Lem, much empathy is being sent your way from this end.
From a male perspective, truthfully, it was easier for me to accept my queerness when I wasn't involved in sex (whether through a romantic link or a purely physical sans attachment sort of way) than I am now that I've entered that whole arena, because I've discovered that it wasn't as clear cut and dry as I had thought it was. Originally, it had seemed clear and cut for me that I liked both guys and girls. They seemed equally attractive to me, and things were good. I could easily mingle in the whole hetrocentric culture, hanging out with my guy friends and "checking out the hotties," if you'll excuse the expression. And then, I could also hang out with my handful of gay male friends and lust after the hot guys I was exposed to. It was a beautiful thing, and I was positive that was the way it always would be.
And then, I started having sex. My first "relationship" if you could truly call it that, was with one of my male co-workers and it lasted all of three weeks, and it ended badly, mainly because he went through a serious bout of homophobia and, really, the last time we had sex wasn't at all consensual on my end. For six to eight months, I had the hardest time being even remotely attracted to guys, because of the mental component that was attached to it. One of those, "Well, one guy hurt me in a horrible way, so what's to say that the rest couldn't." I still found many, many men to be attractive, and there were definetly feelings of attraction and lust, but really, there was also an underlying fear there. I had roughly two parterners through that period, both female, and one amazing pseudo-relationship that to this day has been the best friendship with benefits I have ever experienced.
For a while, I wondered if that was the way it was always going to be, even after I had struggled with accepting my queer identity, and in some ways it bugged me, but in a lot of ways, I understood (mainly because it's mentioned here at the boards so often) that things and situations can cause our sexuality to change. It's a fluid thing, and it's a wonderful thing, albeit very confusing at times. My orientation hadn't really changed -- just the way that it worked with my trust issues and a form of subconscious generalization was different.
And, without warning, things changed again a few months ago. I met the most amazing guy through a mutual friend (the above-mentioned friend-with-benefits), and had probably the best sex of my life. He was tender, passionate, and just amazing. Something managed to click inside of my thinking that made me understand that my underlying fear of the entire gender was false, and I was thrust into a whole "rethinking" space of mind again.
Really, for me, I don't think that coming to terms with my sexuality is a final sort of thing. It's something that's constantly changing, due to mitigating factors that I'm probably going to have to deal with. But, the important thing, in my honest opinion, is being able to see that it's something that's going to happen, and I'm going to have to sort it out as the cards are dealt, as painful or confusing as it sometimes may be.
------------------ Tim, as in "Donate" Scarleteen Advocate
"Hey boy, take a look at me. Let me dirty up your mind. I'll strip away your hard veneer and see what I can find..." -- Garbage, "Queer"
For me, i've always know that i was bi since my childhood. It had always been there. I just didn't accept it or fully come to terms of the existance of my bisexuality till i was 17. I did question it at that age for a while, but i came out, and started coming out of the closet to close friends and my boyfriend (whom i'm still with at 2 yrs and nearly 3 months!) finally at 18, and it's still going. I'm now 20. So far, i've had very positive support!
My sexuality does not change who i am. I'm still the same person before i came out. I've always stayed true to myself, i've never had the need to want to be someone else or change the flaws of the individualism in me.. I have loved myself for who i am, and for what i do and act in my lfe, and that love has helped in making the process easier with my sexuality.
I didn't choose to be bi, i was born bi. People are always figuring out themselves as they journey through life. People find out early in life, and others comes later. So to sum up, it was really not much of a shock, or a surprise. I've personally never been phobic to all types of sexuality, which makes more sense that i am very comfortable of my sexuality
[This message has been edited by summergoddess (edited 08-21-2003).]
the problem isnt that im homophobic and scared to admit to myself that i am in fact bi, it is that i dont want to deal with it...specifically with an unfriendly world if you know what i mean...
ive told a couple close friends, but only because i was pretty sure they would accept me and becasue i would have gone crazy if i didnt tell somebody...it was hard to deal with for me...
but now that i am finally not so defensive about it i guess, when i look back i think i can safely say that i was always bi, and just in denial about it, and/or ignoring it...like an ostrich syndrome... =P
however i dont know if i will EVER truely come out...like as in be open about it...
there is something that is hard, though, when everybody thinks you are straight but you arent...its like living a big lie (though i just realize i dont know why i said that, you all probably know the feeling) =D
also its hard to say for me in a ratio how much i am attracted to woman compared to guys...im not really very attracted to EITHER, but i usually find a woman i think is hot much more often than a guy...
anyway point is that usually if i find myself thinking about a guy in "that way" then ill immediatly change the subject of thought...same goes for if i start looking at a guy in that way...
i guess i am just afraid that if people found out, they would treat me differently, or worse yet they would be homophobes...
PrismMan, before I came out I was more or less the same way. I was afraid that my friends would hate me and that everyone would think of me differently and so on. But when I actually did come out, everyone was incredibley supportive, or didn't care (which I guess is sort of supportive in its own sense). Even people that I thought wouldn't approve just kind of shrugged and said, "OK." then asked me about a history assignment or something normal like that.
I think coming out to myself was a tiny bit difficult because my homo feelings were kind of sparked by my best friend at the time. So it was a bit confusing for me to be feeling something more than friendship oriented thoughts towards her. But once I got past that, I believe my thoughts were something along the lines of, "Well, I am who I am."
Well, at the moment I'm doing a bit of the opposite.
For years girls were the only people I was attracted to - save a few close guy friends. Now, after lots of lusting after straight girls and getting my heart put in a blender, I'm getting a thing for guys. More then that, I want to go out there and sleaze onto random guys. Girls are a painful memory.
It might just be that there isn't a girl in my life that I'm totally obsessed with - unusual for me. I think my ceramics teacher is attractive, but that's more born out of admiration then anything else. Besides, she's married and has kids.
Perhaps the fact that I've been getting in touch with my spirituality is telling me that the balance in my life is awry. Maybe I'm just horny.
I go to a gay youth group every week and I enjoy it. I think if a girl approached me I might be interested, but for the moment I'm sick of putting my emotions on the line - I want to have a break from that. I guess my subconscious is kicking in, so I can heal in peace, without having to be tough in order to keep the world out. If I'm a girl going for men, society doesn't have any "excuses" to bother me. You know, my counsellor is right, I think too much.
Posts: 465 | From: Canberra, ACT, Australia | Registered: Jan 2001
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I'm bi, and I'm totally pretending to myself that I'm not. I wish you luck in coming out to yourself- honestly, I think it's way harder than coming out to other people.
Posts: 45 | Registered: Sep 2003
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I totally agree with that Camiro, it's really hard coming out to yourself. Next hardest after that was my mom... she's still not very happy with it. Oh well.
------------------ they were digging a new foundation in manhattan / and they discovered a slave cemetery there / may their souls rest easy now that lynching is frowned upon / and we've moved on to the electric chair ... am i headed for the same brick wall? / is there anything i can do about anything at all? / except go back to that corner in manhattan / and dig deeper, dig deeper this time ...
camiro, good luck. i hope that you can stop pretending, because that is probably doing mroe harm to yourself than good. for a couple of months i tried the same thing. it is very hard and it was tearing me up inside. i wanted it to go away and i kept telling myself that im not like this. finally, i accepted it, and ive actually talked with someone else about it who is also bi. talking with her really helped because she knew exactly how i was feeling and what i was going through. talking with someone who will understand might really make you feel better. its a lot to try to keep inside.
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