Enjoy the debuting article of our new guest author, Dovile.
To tell you my coming out story, it is very important to understand my background and what people surrounded me when I was growing up. I am from Lithuania, and so are my parents. My mom and my dad were best friends since their kindergarten. Their friendship continued throughout high school and later they both moved to a bigger city to study. They got married and then my dad came out as gay. I suppose that marriage with his best female friend was the only choice that my dad had in the late 80s, in the Soviet Union.
However, my mom probably had other plans and was trying her best to get pregnant. And here I was, born in 1989 on the verge of the collapse of the Soviet Union. A few years later, we moved to a much smaller city where she got into a romance with a woman. Let’s call her “V”. To make all things even more interesting, my dad really got into V and was spending a lot of time with her. I was 5 years old when all three of them would hang out together.
When I was 6 years old, my parents got divorced. My mom, V and I moved to live in a bigger city and left my dad behind. I remember going to school and feeling very proud that I have two moms. Once, my friends made fun of V saying that she is my dad (V was a butch) and I got very angry and defensive and said that they are stupid and lame and that she is a woman!
Although I was occasionally kissing with my cousin during summer breaks, we didn’t think we were lesbians at the time. After a few years, when I was 14 I fell in love with my friend, a girl. We were holding hands and kissing in public and usually got angry comments. It was 2004 and Lithuanian society was pretty much closed-minded about homosexuality. I remember that it was like a game to us, to go out and annoy people. Soon I felt that I want to tell my parents about my love. I knew then that it was not “normal” but I was expecting the best reaction, knowing my parent’s queerness. My mom was not with V anymore and considered herself a heterosexual. Maybe that was not the perfect timing, but I told her while she was driving the car. She said that she almost made an accident because the news were so shocking to her. I was shocked that she was shocked… and I was also disappointed.
After that, we did not talk about it that much, except when my girlfriend’s furious mom called her on the phone to ask her if she knew what was going on between their daughters. I was proud then because my mom said that she knew and it was fine with her. “At least they will not get pregnant,” she said.
Then I decided to tell my dad. He lived in the capital, with his new boyfriend, and I visited him often. I expected a much better reaction, as we had a very friendly relationship and seemed to share a lot of interests. I didn’t feel that he was my father as we would sometimes smoke cigarettes together and share all kinds of secrets. I told him that I was in love and asked him to guess with whom. He guessed all kinds of male names and wouldn’t even consider trying to ask about my girlfriend which he knew in person. After this annoying game, I just told him. He turned silent. He did not speak for at least 15 minutes; I was so anxious… Then he just said that this way of life is very difficult and he wouldn’t have wished that for his daughter. I was sad and disappointed again.
The funny story was with my grandma. She often asked me if I have a boyfriend and I would always reply “No, I don’t like boys.” Then she would say “Good girl, you shouldn’t care for them, right now you should focus on your education.” After the first LGBT Pride in Lithuania in 2010, she asked me if I went. I was surprised about her question but said yes. Then she said: “It is very important to support your friends.” So, our “Don’t ask – Don’t tell” policy turned into “I know only what I want to know”.
In the end I was just really hoping to belong and to be accepted by my family. I was not exactly pushed away, but not celebrated either. I am 30 years old now and I still feel that my mom is secretly hoping that I will choose a heterosexual life, just because it is much easier. Well, I just love women more than an easy life. I understand that circumstances might be very different for other women, but I think that being open about your romantic life with family and friends is crucial for honest connections. I feel that being a lesbian is my strongest identity and I wouldn’t want hide that from anyone.
P.S. I’ve met V after many years in 2012. I was with my long-term partner at the time and V did not have any questions about my sexuality; she was not surprised at all.
Translated by Nóra Selmeczi