My name is Sarah, I am 29 years old, and I’m a cis-gender bisexual woman. It took me a long time to admit to myself that I was into women. I’ve always been “boy crazy,” ever since I was a little girl. I constantly crushed on actors like Orlando Bloom or Chad Michael Murray.
While I had started to notice girls in middle school and high school, college is where I started questioning my sexual identity, especially because I had become friends with more people from the LGBTQ+ community who openly talked about their relationships. However, I was in a committed relationship with a man. I don’t remember telling him that I was questioning, mostly because I didn’t think he could handle his jealousy with “competition of more than one gender.” So at that point, I stopped thinking about it and continued with my heterosexual relationship. Four years went by and my relationship ended, so I decide to move back home to PA and start over at my parents.
I was finally free of my relationship and I just thought, “Screw it. I’m going to try and meet some women.” It was not as easy as you’d think. You still get ghosted online and finding other women in the LGBTQ+ community is harder the further out you got from the city. I went on a few dates with women and really enjoyed my time. I realized that this was truly something that I have been holding myself back from. I realized that I could be romantically and physically interested in people who didn’t identify as men.
My family comes from a more conservative background. My grandpa and dad were both part of the military, and both sides of my family are Roman Catholic. That being said, I’m extremely fortunate to say that I am not the first generation to come out as gay in my family. My dad’s brother came out as gay, and my mom’s sister has been happily married to her wife for a long time.
Growing up, we always called my mom’s sister and her wife “aunts,” but the adults would tell the kids that my aunt’s wife was just a close friend. Around middle or high school my mom finally said, “You know that they are married, right?” I had my suspicions and proudly exclaimed that I was right the whole time.
This is one thing I wish we had known from the beginning. Why not teach us young that they were married and love is open for everyone?
Regardless of how I found out, I will say that if it wasn’t for these people in my family, I don’t know when or even if I would have come out, given our conservative background. I will forever be grateful that my aunts and uncle made it clear to me that my family would love and accept others no matter how they identified.
When I moved home I started dating a woman named Emily on the regular and we hit it off almost instantly. We loved hanging out and getting to know each other. It came to a point where I was ready to share my new love interest with my family…. So here’s my coming out story.
I’m known in my family for being incredibly sarcastic and goofy. I need to explain this now so it’s better understood where the disbelief comes from. I finally worked up the courage to tell them that the woman I’ve been bringing around recently is, in fact, the woman I’m dating. So I’m sitting on the couch watching TV with my mom and dad. One of them asked if anything was new and I admitted that I was dating someone.
“I knew it!” My mom stated with confidence.
“You’ve actually already met them… It’s Emily.”
Both of my parents look at me for a couple of seconds. And my mom simply asked, “No it’s not. Who is it?”
I couldn’t help but laugh because they thought I was messing with them. “I’m dating Emily.”
“Yeah, okay. Really, who is it?” Both of them chuckled at this point and started rolling their eyes.
I took a deep breath because this was becoming more painfully awkward than I thought it’d be, “I’ll say this for the third time. I’m not kidding. I’m dating Emily. I’m dating a girl.”
“Oh! Okay! I just was not expecting this,” my mom finally relented.
Third time’s a charm, right? They then started asking if I identified as bisexual because they always remembered me having boyfriends and crushes growing up, which is also why they were not expecting me to say a woman’s name. The conversation phased out and that’s all that was said that day. They did note that they really liked her though, which made me happy.
I had been especially nervous about telling my Dad. It’s not that I thought that his opinion of me would change it is just that he, like a lot of men, can have a hard time opening up. So it was no surprise that in his own way, he showed me how he accepted me.
One day while I was sitting on the couch and watching reruns of one of my favorite shows, “Charmed” (for those of you who aren’t familiar, it’s a show about 3 beautiful sisters who learn they are powerful witches. Great show. Highly recommend.)
My dad sat down next to me. After a few minutes of watching he suddenly asked, “So… which one is the cutest?”
That said everything to me. He didn’t need to be emotional or go into any deep conversation. My dad asking a simple question about my sexuality opened the door for me to explain why Piper was the cutest.
In that moment I felt seen, I felt welcome, I felt loved.
I know that I am incredibly lucky for the open and loving family that I have. I understand that others have horrible stories surrounding their coming out and my heart always goes out to them. Someone’s sexual identity is only a small part of who they are. It’s not their whole personality. The child you raised and love is still that person. They just might not be the person you envisioned the moment they entered this world.
They are owning their identity and anyone who is able to do this is stronger than you could imagine. Be proud of their bravery.