When I was 5, I rode a bus every day, for about a half hour each way, to Kindergarten. I lived in the country and went to Kindergarten at a school in a small town. There was a girl who rode the same bus who I paid close attention to every day. She always wore her hair in 2 pigtails and she had a polka dot dress that I loved. She was my first crush.
There was no Lance Bass, no Melissa Etheridge, nobody coming out on the cover of a major news magazine, no gayby boom, no Will & Grace, no L Word, no president saying the words gay or lesbian or acknowledging LGBT people, no Ellen, no DADT or fight to end DADT, no domestic partner rights, no adoption rights, no fight for ENDA, no Prop8, no lesbian mayor of Houston in the news, and I didn’t even know the acronym or the words for the acronym LGBT until my late teens.
The first time, as a young teenager, I told an adult that I was attracted to girls, not boys, I was told that my feelings were wrong and I could pray those feelings away.
The second time I came out, as an adult, I stayed out and I regularly continue to come out, as needed. When someone, in casual chitchat, asks if I’m married, I say yes, the followup question is usually, “What does your husband do?” and I come out again. When someone says my daughter looks like me and asks if she looks like my husband too, then I come out again, both as a woman with a wife and as an adoptive mother, not a biological mother.
My parents love me dearly, my lesbian sister and straight brothers, too, and if someone asks them about their children and grandchildren they likely mention their 6 smart beautiful amazing grandchildren and their 4 successful talented children. They are probably less likely to mention that their 2 daughters are lesbians, or that 4 of those 6 grandchildren have lesbian moms. They are also probably less likely to mention that the 4 children with lesbian moms are all adopted by their daughters, being the biological children of their daughters’ wives.
I could be wrong about that, but I do know straight people, particularly parents of LGBT people, often have their own closet and coming out process that share a lot in common with the experience of LGBT people who lose friendships and family closeness when they come out.
Too many times LGBT people are blamed for the loss of family or friends, and the estrangement within social and familial groups, when they come out. They aren’t to blame. If anyone is to blame, it’s the family and friends who so easily reject a relationship with someone who is dear to them.