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Admitting he was right was scary, because then what did that mean about our whole time together? Was I a fucked up, selfish jerk who had strung this great guy along? Was I wrong about this most intimate aspect of my own damn self? I didn't want to think I could lack such crucial—and for most people, simple and basic—knowledge of myself.

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I finally had some queer crew to hang out with, and so much gayness to soak in. They helped me see myself reflected in them. It was a similar thing with coming out as asexual a few years ago—exploring that community online was a major lightbulb moment for me.

12 Lesbians Share Their Coming Out Stories

Once I started using the label, it felt so obviously appropriate that I wondered why I'd never thought of it before. I get to be the Cool Older Queer who can support younger folks on their own journeys. I'm one year shy of There are no phases anymore. For one I was raised as a Catholic. I was also heavy as a kid and I got a lot of negative messaging around my worth because of it, which does not encourage you to explore other things that will make you different. I remember being younger and feeling somewhat of a sexual attraction to girls, and I was just like, la la la la la.

I finally had my first relationship with a woman 10 years ago.

We went to lesbian events and things like that together, but I knew I never fit there. People who label themselves as bisexual can be looked upon with distrust by the lesbian community, and seen as wishy-washy by gay men. But people today are lucky. There are so many resources, from social media to centers to media portrayals. We really were at the mall together.

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She really was staying over for the night. Then one evening, our house phone rang. This was during a time when cell phones were a luxury that my family couldn't afford. Of course, being a high school girl, the phone wasn't on the charger and just so happened to be in my room. My mom came in my room to answer the phone. There I was, cuddled up in bed with this girl.

My mom got the phone and left. She never asked any questions. I never offered any answers. It just happened. I fell in love with this girl. I'm still in love with this girl. When I was 25, I finally confessed to my best friend that I was interested in her and we started dating.

I called my parents. My mom answered and as soon as I told her, all I could hear was, "Ken, it's Jennifer on the phone. But I don't identify as bi any more. I am a lesbian, and this time around, I felt a strong need to be very public about coming out. So I wrote an essay about it that was chosen to be a part of a storytelling series here in Dallas. And in front of a packed house at the Wyly Theater, including my girlfriend who I had only been dating for about a month at that time , I said the words, "I am a lesbian. Coming out is very personal.

1) Sometimes the closet knows more than you do

But I also consider it highly political and I wanted my coming out to not only say I am lesbian, but also that I am here and I am a force to be reckoned with and from now forward I will visible and I will say the words for those who can't. I felt no guilt for it.

I had known since the days of 'you wanna play house,' posed by those older neighbor girls, who always designated me as 'daddy,' I loved women, but I knew I could never say that out loud. Fast-forward 18 years, when series like The L Word premiered on Showtime, Sunday night became my safe haven. I am sure that other mothers like me also lived vicariously through Beth and Tina. As I began to roller-skate three nights a week, I became friends with a group of girls who were all lesbians and I became happy. We would sneak away to parties in West Hollywood, I finally made out with my first girl since high school, and I also had to be honest and tell my sweet man, 'I am leaving and I just can't be who you and the world wants me to be anymore.

My kids loved me and I was being who I have been since I was the 9-year-old girl in love with Amanda, with her red hair, green eyes, and freckles. Two years after that, in , I met my amazing, funny, better half Yolanda, who legally married in , and we have four amazing kids. During a family gathering with everyone there, I figured, what better time to break it to them? I knew that this was my moment. I sat them down and said, 'Look, are you proud of me? I am a lesbian and nothing is going to change. Perfect, right?

My father had a statue face but he got up hugged me and said he loved me. It was no fairy tale, of course.

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I got some biblical lectures, but after that day, I didn't care what was said about me because I came out directly to them and that's all that mattered. Coming out will never be easy but just make sure you don't regret it because it will never be like the movies. I was home for winter break from my first year at college, and I had made a pact with some of my friends that we would each come out to our families.

Going to the movies on Christmas night is one of my family's traditions. At the movie theater, two rows below me to the left was a gay couple, and I remember my brother cracking a joke about them. A switch went off in my brain, and anger filled my body. I was fed up with hearing remarks like that for the past 14 years and saying nothing. On the drive back home, with tears in my eyes, I was fuming and overwhelmed.

12 Lesbians Share Their Coming Out Stories

In that moment, I knew I had to come out. When we got home, I went straight to my room. I closed the door, sat on the floor in the corner by my bed, and I started crying. My anger switched to fear. I started calling different friends, hoping I'd hear something that would give me the courage to come out to my family.

One of my friends had come out a few months prior, and her family disowned her.

19 people share their coming out stories

I felt relief but almost disappointment because it wasn't the dramatic 'coming out' scenario I'd built up in my head. I was six-weeks old when my parents adopted me from Chile - a predominantly Catholic and fairly socially-conservative country which only legalised divorce in I was fortunate to visit Chile several times during my childhood, but it wasn't until last year that the topic of my sexuality came up in conversation with friends over there.

And while substantial social inequalities remain in terms of race and the economy, there have been incredible steps towards the legalisation of equal marriage in recent years which make me feel proud of its progress. When you're 'hetero', you don't have to say you're a sexual being, so it's an uncomfortable topic to discuss with your parents. When you 'come out', it's important to trust your instincts and consider how people have previously spoken about politics and relationships.

For some, you need to approach the subject carefully, for others it's simply a case of dropping feminine pronouns into conversation. Paradoxically, as fundamental and private as it is, 'coming out' mostly isn't about you, but the person you're talking to. It might sound contradictory because this 'thing' is yours, but you don't own it - the person listening to you has the power to react how they want. But what they don't take away is your self-knowledge and identity, and ultimately that is what strengthens and empowers you.

I'd been kissing girls 'for fun' since the age of 12, but didn't really realise I was bisexual until my freshman year of college. One night, I was talking to a friend and admitted that I could see myself marrying a woman. I suddenly paused and burst out laughing; I instantly felt free. I'd been dating a guy for eight years at this point and didn't want to go through the stress of 'coming out' as I couldn't see how my sexuality would change anything.

Over time, however, I could feel my identity increasingly becoming erased.