Homo for the Holidays
I almost missed another holiday: today is National Coming Out Day! I missed my chance to wear gay paraphernalia, but I can subject you to my coming out story.
As a child, and later a teen, I had never considered sexuality at all. It just wasn’t something I thought about. I dated boys, but nothing serious. When I was in tenth grade I fell head over heels for my best (male) friend, and had my heart broken when he came out as gay. To support him, and to meet all these new friends he had been talking about, I went to Safe Spaces – a local secular gay youth group – with him. That’s where I met AB. My glasses were taped together in the middle, I was expounding on my uninformed views about sex, and she fell in love. When she asked me out later, I thought: could I date a woman? I guess, so. I don’t have anything against it. We dated, got married, and now it’s been eight years.
It took me six months to tell my mom, and longer to tell my dad. My mom was in bed reading, and I went in and said “Mom, I have something to tell you. I’m bisexual.” “How do you know?” she asked, not even putting her book down. “How do you know you’re not?” I replied. “Good point.” And that was that. I told my dad and step-mom in the car, on the way to Christmas dinner. “We know,” they replied. I had it easy.
My biggest hurdle came when I went to Malaysia as an exchange student after high school, after AB and I had been together a year. As a straight/bi person, I never went through internalized homophobia when I was a teen. By the time I started dating AB, I was pretty secure in myself. Support from my parents helped too. In Malaysia, I became really homophobic and I stopped corresponding with AB. When I got home I told her that I could date her for now, but that I would eventually end up with a man. I wanted a normal life, with a normal family. I didn’t want to be a freak. As a bisexual person I had a choice, and I had the responsibility to provide my eventual children with a family that wouldn’t psychologically damage them. I almost ruined the best thing that had ever happened to me. Thankfully, AB has a good grip. She hung on to me long enough for me to fall back in love with her and get over my homophobia.
I have been very fortunate. My family, all of them, has been nothing but accepting. AB is just as welcome as I am at any gathering. I have experienced very little homophobia in Canada, even in Alberta. I have a wonderful wife who I love very much, long-term plans for kids and home-ownership and that stuff, and a life that I am happy with. I try to be a good example to young gay folk who are scared that being gay means that they will always be outcasts. I try to be a good example for straight people who just don’t know what to think about gay people. I try to be an interesting and good person, so that my sexuality is not the only thing that people know me for.