October 11 is the International Coming Out Day. It has been a tradition here at qLit to celebrate this day by honoring stories that our community members had shared with us during the year.
Coming out is a process, and an especifically difficult one, no matter where you were born. It is particularly those closest to us - our family - that we struggle the most to share our most intimate truth with. Even if it may seem it is our individual fight, we are together in this. Let us hear four stories from around the world.
The first time I came out to someone close to me was when, after studying together in the same university for years, my best friend was to leave and do her master’s abroad. It was one of those days when I didn’t think much and all of a sudden I just called her and told her without thinking about what to say. And I must say, her reaction was priceless. She was very accepting and she told me that she loves me no matter what. I felt so relieved and it was like a burden coming off of my chest. It was a great feeling, and since then I have started to tell some other close friends as well. I was so afraid of being judged and not accepted, but I realized later: what’s the point of having great friendships without great acceptance? And if you lose some people who wouldn’t accept you, you have at least won yourself. The ones who really love you will accept everything about you even if you’re different from them.
Read more: https://qlit.hu/en/lesbian-interview-jordan/
When I first had to talk about my orientation with my family (I was about 18), my mother's friend was visiting. She asked me to show a photo of my "friend" (a girl in fact), to whom I was going to go that day to spend the night. After viewing the photo, my mother's friend confronted my mother: "Do you still doubt whether she is a lesbian?!" My mum was left without words, so her friend continued: “Oh, just relax, I have been living with a woman for 15 years." The icing on the cake is that my father, too, admitted that in his youth he “experimented” with his friend, with whose family my parents are friends to this very day.
I never officially came out. When I was in college, I just brought my first serious girlfriend home to meet my family and friends and that was it. In the early 1990s, many LGBTQ+ people I knew had coming out parties and made grand announcements to friends and family. But none of that felt right for me. I am not someone who enjoys the spotlight and all I really wanted was to have a “normal” relationship without fanfare and spectacle. So I acted accordingly and I actually got my wish that being a lesbian was a non-issue to those who mattered most to me. I suspect that most of the people who knew me well had already thought that I was a lesbian. My mother, who is a devout Christian, did suggest that we sleep in separate rooms because we weren’t married (this was 1993 – long before gay marriage was possible in the U.S.). While it frustrated me at the time, I now see that it was actually an acknowledgement of my relationship. If I had brought home a boyfriend, she would have had exactly the same reaction.
Happy Coming Out Day, everyone!