I lived a pretty strict religious lifestyle for over 15 years. So, me coming out as a lesbian to my family and friends was pretty shocking and disappointing to those around me. I grew up going to a 7th Day Adventist Church every weekend with my family as well as attending a Christian School from 1st grade – 8th grade. Unfortunately, I struggled with finding happiness within myself all throughout my childhood. This was probably because I was always taught that Homosexuality was the biggest sin that any person could commit. This led me to always feeling out of place and confused when I was young since I was taught that the way I felt was unnatural.
It wasn’t until 11th grade that I started to act on my feelings and began to date girls. I was conflicted with how I felt because I was still very religious at the time, so, I continued to date guys while choosing to keep my sexuality a secret. During the summer, before I went off to college, I was in a serious relationship with an older guy who I ended up cheating on and leaving for a girl that was going to the same college as me. Soon after I was outed to my parents by a family friend who happened to notice me being too friendly with a girl online. I continued to deny this allegation of me being gay and decided to block all of my family members and family friends from my social networks. At that point I was eager to go off to college so that I could live more freely without having to worry about my parents or anyone else judging me.
After I got settled in at college I eventually got a job and used that extra money to change out my entire wardrobe(feminine clothing to masculine clothing). I also over time started to get tattoos which were also against the religious beliefs I grew up with, so I made sure to hide them from my parents every time I came home from college during breaks. I labeled myself as a “Fem Lesbian” (wears feminine attire and acts feminine) at first. Then, as I started to come out more, I transitioned to a “Stem Lesbian”(wears feminine and masculine attire, acts feminine and masculine as well) and now I am more of a soft “Stud/Butch Lesbian” (wears masculine attire and acts masculine). I just recently transitioned to a “Stud” during my 2nd year of college because at that point I decided to stop caring what my family, church, and my friends had to say.
It took my parents some time to get used to this “new” me. I came home looking like an entirely different person from the last time they saw me. I made a big decision to cut my hair a few weeks ago which has now made me look extremely masculine. I also got a Marriage Equality symbol tattooed bold and visible on my arm in celebration of me coming out. I went through so many personal struggles during this journey but I am finding that each day is getting better as I go along.
Last month in a post on Facebook I came out to ALL of my friends and family. I cannot wait for the opportunity to reveal my new look to the rest of my family. Unfortunately, during this journey in my life I lost close to 90% of my friends that I grew up because of my sexuality and their conflicting religious beliefs. I also have not returned to church since I came out the closet 2 years ago so I won’t have to deal with the negative things people will have to say about me. I am hoping to expose myself and my coming out story to the world in an effort to give others the courage to come out and be themselves regardless of the negative opinions of others around them. I hope that my story lets others know that they are not alone and that there are LGBT people with a story similar to their own that they an connect with.