Saturday, August 16, 2008

Coming Out

Hey, Youtube's video suggestion thing came through for me for once. This is coolkid0076's coming out video. He did it to help people understand what it's like to come out. If you've ever been closeted, you know how hard it is.

[[Youtube link]

Go to his Youtube for more of his story.

My story?
I've been attracted to women as long as I can remember. It was a long time before I found out what that meant, and even longer before I could accept it.

The first time I was gay-bashed, I was 11 years old. The first time I told someone I was a lesbian I was 16. When I was in the 6th grade, a mere 11 year old, the people around me started to date. Me, I wasn't really interested in boys. When we talked about boys, which was only done in the blushing privacy of our young adolescent rooms at the time, I'd make it up. I'd liked so-and-so since I met him or whatshisface was pretty cute.

In all reality, it was the time close to the girls with whom I was discussing it that I enjoyed. I don't mean sexually, at that age, no one really enjoys anything in a sexual sense. But that blushing awkwardness didn't come from the teasing hand of the opposite sex, it came from a hug or a phone call from a best friend. And when I found out that there was something called a lesbian, I was ashamed. I was too ashamed of the fact I might be one of "them" to ever really realize the source of turmoil within me.

The following year, an older girl who was the friend of my best friend figured it out. A rumor spread throughout school like wildfire that I was gay. It hurt. At 12 years old, the last thing you really need is people asking you if you're a lesbian, and if you aren't a lesbian why you're not dating any guys. So I dated guys. I dated guys for 3 or 4 years. And when I'd go through a break up (4 if them) I'd usually end up laughing. I didn't really want that anyway. Oh-- and when I got older and the subject of sex came up? It was absolutely horrible. Sex or oral would come up in conversation, and I wouldn't be able to look at the guy anymore, let alone 'date' him.

Anyway-- to the part that really matters which is of course, when and why I actually came out. Two years ago, my best friend at the time, told our group that she was bi. She said that she was terrified that I would hate her for it. I was professedly homophobic at the time. I was afraid of myself. I cried. I cried that I allowed my own self-loathing to hurt a friend. To make her hide like I had hidden. But I still didn't come out. I participated in so many conversations that made me ache to say it. But I was afraid that would make it real and I'd have to face all of those words I had in middle school all over again.

In June and July of 2007, I went overseas with a group called People to People International. The group of Student Ambassadors was made up of 42 students from all over western Pennsylvania. I became close friends with two girls, one of them being a pretty much out lesbian. No-- you guessed wrong-- nothing ever happened between us, and neither of us would ever have it any different. But instead of just hearing society's lore about crazy bull-dykes, Ellen, Rosie, and Xena and Gabrielle, she was my best friend. Unlike my friend who was bi, she had a girlfriend, and they were (and are to this day) happy together.

I didn't know that lesbians could be happy. I thought for some societally induced and idiotic reason that we were miserable. That all of the people like me mutilated themselves to ease the pain as I had. And then, an old boyfriend told me he still liked me. In my frustration, I told him I wasn't even sure if I was straight. And he didn't hate me. In fact, he talked to me about it in a positive way. He wished me luck with the girl I liked.

I read. I must have read more in the months of July and August of 2007 about LGBT people than most people ever will. I was amazed. There were people just like me. There were people who had struggled the way I struggled. They fell in love with someone of the same-sex and raised a family. I read LGBT YA lit hungrily. I cried when I read Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden. Empress of the World left me smiling. Keeping You a Secret left me numb.

Then, I went to Ozzfest with Jess and her boyfriend at the time. This was in August 2007. I told her there was something I needed to tell her, but couldn't tell her in front of her boyfriend (he was homophobic, didn't like me, and even ended up asking me that night if I was queer). The next day, I told her. And she told me she might be bi. And I almost died laughing. And crying. And wondering if I'd ever be able to tell her I'd had a crush on her since 9th grade.

And from there, I started to fight for a GSA at my high school. I planned and carried out The Day of Silence 2008 even though my principal opposed me (he said there was no need at the school and that it encouraged public displays of affection). People found out I was gay, and I proudly wore a rainbow bandanna and a shirt I made myself emblazoned "IMRU" in all the colors of the rainbow.

From there, I learned that coming out is a process and so is loving yourself. I didn't tell Jess that I liked her until February of 2008. My sister didn't know I was out until last week. My parents still don't know, but I hope to tell them before October 11, which is Coming Out Day.

Live out. Live Proud.

Closets are for clothes. And I don't even have a damned closet for my clothes... they're in two laundry baskets getting ready to be packed for college.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Right now, I'm in Corolla, North Carolina. And let me tell you, it kind of sucks. It's really uncomfortable spending most of my time back in the closet. But that is the nature of the summer, I've been here since school was out in May. And let me tell you, the smell of mothballs gets really tiring. But this week is the blackest part of the night before the dawn. I'm with my entire family in a beach house, and the only person who knows me at all is my 14 year old sister. It's getting really tiring.

Otherwise, it's less than a week until I leave for PennState Altoona. I'm really excited. I chose the campus mostly because it has a GSA, and I fought for a long time to get one in my high school. Don't get me wrong, it's a decent school, but I am really excited about the GSA. I mean, Jess got me an awesome rainbow flag for my bedroom wall in my apartment.

And I won't lie, when I opened that, I started crying. In the last year, though we never dated, we've become closer than I've been with almost anyone. She's shown me how amazing it is to have someone who knows how to make everything okay. She's shown me how utterly awesome it is to have someone to hold, someone you genuinely ache to be near. Wow, am I ever sappy?

That's going to be the biggest challenge, not being able to be near her. (A three hour drive seems longer than ever.) I swear, she keeps me sane. I don't want to see someone else take her place, ever. She's coming with me when I move on the 20th, though.

Another challenge will be living with my roommates. I haven't met them yet or even spoken to them online. I'm mildly terrified that they'll be homophobic or something. I'm conditioned that way. I've been raised so far with a mother who says that gays and lesbians shouldn't be allowed to be teachers or to be around people of the same sex. I'm afraid I'll have a likeminded roommate, afraid that she'll be afraid that I'll be into her or something.

I guess I never really experienced the awkwardness with the opposite sex that most of my peers went through, and now that I'm out I'm getting it like 10-fold in my head with people I might potentially encounter in college. What can I say? I'm a small town girl. Moving into a diverse place with different types of people (and even some people like me!) is slightly insane.

Muse Overhall

I think it's about time for this blog to be overhalled. I mean, I started it last summer, and it hasn't really ever seen faithful updates. But that's because it never really had a subject. But it started to have steady LGBT themes. And here we are, Muses of the Mad is about the become one of the few Youth LGBT blogs on the internet.

I know it's not anything huge or new. But there are definitely not enough of us out there blogging. Most of the LGBT individuals that are blogging are 20 or 30 somethings. They're writing for AfterEllen, AfterElton, The Gay Blog, and The Advocate. I frankly enjoy their stories, but where among the slews of teenage and college bloggers is the LGBT community represented?

My name is Cori. I'm seventeen years old. I'm a lesbian. I read weekly updates from HRC, GLSEN, and several other organizations. I like to blog. And from now on, Muses of the Mad is a Youth LGBT blog.