Self-Expression After Coming Out

A few months ago BuzzFeed released a video on how people’s style changed after coming out, and they had a group of people dress like their closeted selves for a day. Honestly I didn’t think other people had thought this through as much as I had.

Before I came out, and before I accepted my sexuality I was overtly feminine. I worse lots of skirts, dresses, jewelry, heavy makeup (ugh someone should had told me I looked terrible), and I had long hair. I never had a girly style before but I felt more pressure as I got older to trade in the messy bun and basketball shorts, for long curled hair and a mini-skirt. A lot of it was sub-conscious and I didn’t really realize what I was doing until years later.

I would see things I wanted to wear, but thought “no that’s too masculine.” In reality it wasn’t masculine at all, it just wasn’t nauseatingly feminine like I had made myself used to. After coming out something just switched. I wore whatever I wanted, which was usually still leaning towards feminine, but I felt more comfortable. I normally wear jeans, a shirt, and vans or clarks. So does sexuality affect style?

I would say yes and no. In some instances once people are comfortable with themselves and come out, then they feel they can dress how they’ve always wanted to. Like any culture or community there is a specific style that a lot of people follow. Some stereotypes are here for a reason, I mean a lot of lesbians do wear flannel, like a lot. I don’t think it’s bad thing though, unless you feel like you have to change the way you dress in order to be taken seriously or fit in.

My self-expression changed when I became comfortable with myself, and I think that’s true for a lot of people. When you spend months, years, or even decades being uncomfortable the second you stop feeling even a tiny percentage of that awkwardness, you never want to go back.

Did your style or general self-expression change after coming out?

What changed?

 

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Growing Up Queer & Coming Out

I wasn’t someone who has known they were gay since they were five. I started questioning my sexuality when I was in middle school, but even then I pushed the thoughts out of my mind, and just “knew I was straight.” Looking back on younger me, I’m giving her the biggest eye roll ever.

I remember the first time I ever heard about gay people. I was watching the TLC show Bringing Home Baby, and I was around 4 or 5 years old. There was a lesbian couple on this episode and one of them was pregnant through IVF. I can vividly remember one woman saying, ” I am so happy I married my best friend.” Immediately a light bulb went off in my head, I can marry a girl? Technically you couldn’t “legally” get married then, but that’s beside the point.  I made a life plan (at five years old) to marry a girl (since all my best friends were girls) if I “couldn’t find” a boy to marry.

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Now this should have been a huge alarm going off that I was gay. But even when I thought about it at twelve or thirteen, I made excuses about how “it was normal for little kids to want to marry their best friends.” Fast forward my spring semester of freshman year, and my fall semester of sophomore year, all I could think about was the possibility of being a lesbian. I accepted that I was in fact gay in late summer/early fall of 2015, and then came out to my parents and sister on October 25, 2015.

I knew my parents weren’t going to care, and would love me anyway, but I was terrified. Both my parents are pretty liberal, so I knew I shouldn’t be worried, but we are a very religious family. My dad went to seminary and was a preacher for most of my childhood, and my mom’s father was also a preacher. I had heard so may horror stories of kids getting kicked out because they came out to their religious parents I began to wonder, what if that happens to me?

I felt sick to my stomach every time I would see my parents when I hadn’t come out yet. I wanted to do it really casually, because I don’t think me being gay should be a big deal, but that’s not what happened. I ended up saying to my mom, “I need to tell you something,”  and then sitting there shaking and crying in utter fear for ten minutes before I spoke again. This was exactly how I did not want to do it, but in the long run it doesn’t really matter.

Coming out has made me feel so much more free. It’s only been a little over a year since I told my parents, and i already feel so much more comfortable with myself. The best decision I made when pertaining to telling my parents – or anyone for that matter, was waiting until I had fully executed myself. I think that if I had come out when I was still questioning my sexuality, and didn’t know if I was bisexual or gay or something else, it would have been a lot harder. If I could give someone one piece of advice when coming out as anything, it would be to accept yourself first, and to be open with your feelings. The second part isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I’m someone who keeps most things to myself, but I think when coming out it’s important to be open and honest.

This is my coming out story, in all it’s glory. It may not be that exciting ,or dramatic, or interesting, but it’s a major event in my life. If you’re in the LGBTQIAP+ community let me know what one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to come out. If you need anything, or just someone to talk to, you can contact me through my contact page, or at the email queerly.texan@gmail.com.

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

Do I Need a Label?

When I first started questioning my sexuality I read the definitions of different sexualities up, down and backwards, I listened to other people describe what the label they choose meant to them, and I was determined to figure out who I was, and what label worked for me. I like labels. They give order to the huge spectrum that is sexuality, but they can also be restrictive.

I identify as a lesbian, gay, or queer. I prefer the term gay but I use all three to describe myself. Not everyone identifies with one particular sexuality, and that’s okay. My personal sexual identity isn’t super fluid, but for other people it changes a lot. I believe people can be bisexual for one period in their life, and gay for another, or any other combination of sexualities. When I first came out I only felt comfortable using the term Lesbian. When I said ” I am gay,” I felt dirty and wrong, due to internalized homophobia. Now that I’ve accepted myself I love using the term gay and I wear it proudly.

Choosing to not label your sexuality is a perfectly valid choice. However I personally feel power in labels. I feel a connection towards other people who are LGBT, it unites us in some way. Our narratives may not be the same, but we are a minority of the same type and I feel a familial presence in that. Being gay is something my straight friends, family members, and acquaintances will never be able to fully understand.

I live in Texas, (hint the blog name), so close-minded people who don’t understand minorities are never more than a few feet away. Using labels helps them at least understand slightly who I am. Now if I were pansexual or demisexual or any other lesser known sexuality then my label would go right over their heads.

Label yourself with whatever makes you happy, and if that is choosing not to use labels then so be it.

– Alyssa

 

 

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