One “coming out story” is hard for me to pinpoint.
I have known that I was “different” since probably age 12. I didn’t start telling anyone til I was a junior in high school. I never bothered to come out at school. It was 1996 and I went to an all boys Catholic school. I got called a faggot every day but it had nothing to do with liking dick. I was 300 pounds, had hair down to my chin and listened to “freak music.” It was this weird conflict where I stuck out like a sore thumb but the reality is that most anything real about me was totally invisible. This experience might explain why I ugly cry whenever I watch Angus. But it was around this time, my junior year in high school, that I started telling close (mostly neighborhood friends that I was gay.
I graduated high school at 17. I was about 18 when I started telling family. I had a string of shitty jobs, looking for love in AOL chat rooms, figuring out my life by stumbling through it. The first family member I told was my oldest sister Maggie. She’s 4 years older then me and responsible for most the rad stuff about me. She took me under her wing, shared music with me (Bikini Kill, the Dead Milkmen, Nirvana, Sonic Youth), took me to my first real show- Superchunk (when I was 13). Telling her was crazy scary. I guess it made it real. She was totally cool with it. Always has been.
As I think about it more, the story I look back on most as my “coming out story” is when I told my mother. No matter what happens you love first and figure out the details later. I had trapped myself by saying before dinner that I really needed to talk to her about something, privately after dinner.
Of course after dinner, my mother found me in my room to ask, “what was going on?” It’s worth noting the climate of our culture back then. Our family didn’t know any gay people. There weren’t really gay people on TV. Though months before, Ellen had come out on her sitcom, that was a world away from our life.
When my mother came into my room, I started to cry. A lot!
Though you wouldn’t really describe my mother as emotional or cuddly, without skipping a beat she crawled into bed with me and pulled me into her arms.
No sooner did I tell her, she pulled me in even closer, looked me in the eyes and said, “I love you no matter who you are.” It was a pretty wonderful experience. It’s a memory I think about often. After that self-imposed trauma, I basically just decided I was over having “the talk” with people. I let the remaining family and everyone else find out when they found out.
Thanks for the question!