Coming Out- It got hot in “The Closet”
Is homosexuality genetic? I don’t know, I’m not a scientist, I don’t study genes**
What I can say is love, acceptance & understanding are well taught in the home where I grew up. You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this well…. This is the story on how and why I decided to “come out” to my family.
At 15 years old, my older sister who I call “Sista” came out to the family, I didn’t realize the amount of courage and trust were involved until I found myself in the position a year later. She came into the kitchen while I was making an omelet and said: “how would you feel if I started dating women?” , I told her: “you’re my Sista I love you, I wouldn’t feel any way”. I believe my mother had that same response.
My Sista opened the door for me to have the courage to feel how I wanted to feel and the strength to trust my family and friends with my feelings. I was 16 years old when I came out to my mother, I of course came out to my friends first and their response was similar to if I told them I was getting a new hair color, I was their friend it didn’t matter who or what I loved.
My brother girlfriend at the time dared me, she said if I was so sure on how I felt for girls it shouldn’t be a secret anymore. She was right.
I stormed in the house and she waited outside; I woke my mother out her sleep one summer night and my mother is a “don’t ask me anything” type of sleeper. My heart was racing, I was nervous and scared I don’t know why, I should’ve known better it’s my mother what’s the worst that could happen?
I nudged her out her slumber saying: “Ma” she shooed me away but I refused to get up, fear of losing my nerves I suppose. I repeated “Ma!” She said “what katrese?” I don’t know which was racing faster my mind or heart… Finally I said it “I like girls” she looked at me and said “fine, but you’re too young to have a girlfriend.” I thought that was hilarious, why? It was a typical response “you’re too young to date” her reaction normalized the situation for me and normal is a far cry from how I’d describe my family are ‘functionally dysfunctional’ been that way for years.
I went back outside and Simoné (my brothers girlfriend) asked “what did she say?”, I shrugged and repeated what I was told. We just sat outside and laughed. I must admit, it felt good to finally tell her. I’m not fond of keeping secrets from my mom.
Telling my mother was like putting the information on a billboard, but once my mother knew I didn’t care about the response from the rest of the world. Siblings, peers, other family they didn’t matter. My mother did the honor of telling everyone we knew starting with Sista. I didn’t care I wasn’t ashamed, I’ve never felt ashamed.
Before I go on let me be clear, I told my mother at 16 yes, but I was aware of my feelings way before then, I’d say the earliest detection of my homosexuality was 6th grade, so this is no overnight realization.
Moving on, my siblings shrugged and said okay, my brother was happy… that meant no boyfriends. Some of my cousins then and today still have an issue with it, guess that isn’t the life they pictured for me but it wasn’t what I pictured for myself either. Keeping it to myself was becoming a heavy bucket to carry I didn’t want to hold it any more, so I didn’t.
Once the family knew I picked and chose who I wanted to tell, then and today I don’t feel like I need to wear a sign on my forehead “I like girls” no thank you, its not shame it just isn’t necessary. In my opinion
Fast forwarding, as I went on with my life it was never an issue in my home, I wasn’t made to feel bad about it or hide it. My mother raised her kids with this is mind; “if you have to hide and be ashamed you shouldn’t be doing it” . That was all the confirmation I needed.
When I was 21 years old my 17 year old sister came out, suppose she was experimenting, she’s had as many girlfriends as she had boyfriends at this point. Once my little sister came out my mother finally stated “all my daughters are gay” its been an on going joke for some time now. My mother also revealed in her younger years she dated women, her best friend actually.
So now at 23 years old, I’ve noticed my attraction to women have grown and I’m growing with it. My feelings around discretion are the same but that’s just because I’m a private person. So is homosexuality genetic? I still don’t know, but I’m comfortable in my skin, I’m comfortable sharing my self with friends and I decided along time ago to not ever be phased my anyone that can’t accept me for who I am because my sexual preference doesn’t define me.