These two were weird for me, because I outed myself very casually. I grouped them together because they happened in the same night. Actually, within five minutes of each other.
I was at a camp this week and on the first night they brought in a slam poet. He performed some spoken word, which was all very captivating and deep. He performed multiple pieces that explained that he was gay and outlined some of the struggles he has been through as a gay person. Afterwards, there was time for us to speak personally with him, and I waited until the line disappeared.
“I just wanted to say that I’m gay, too,” I paused for half a second, feeling the oh-my-god feeling of coming out before, trying to control the unsteadiness in my voice, “…And I really appreciated some of your poems,” I finished, relieved to end this sentence appropriately. I threw in a small fist pump in support of his performance.
After our short conversation I went and sat back down with my friend “Flannel”. I didn’t know Flannel before, but we were in the same group for our smaller sessions within the camp, and we Skyped a few weeks ago to get to know each other a little bit before last week.
“What did you guys talk about?” Flannel asked.
“Oh, not really a lot,” I said.
“Did you ask him about his theatre background?” he asked.
Crap. I should have. “Oh, no I forgot…” I said.
“Oh.” Flannel said.
“Well, I just said I really appreciated his poetry that supported the gay community,” I said.
“Ha, homos!” Flannel said.
“…Excuse me?” I looked at him.
For a couple seconds we had an awkward back and forth of “Oh, what? No, I uh…”
And then, “I just really liked that he was so open about talking about that stuff,” I said.
“Are you saying you’re a lesbian?” He asked.
Right away, without a beat I responded, “Yeah, I am.”
“Oh, really?” He said. “I am, too, by the way.”
I kind of thought he might be. What I was so surprised about that night was how confident I sounded while telling Flannel. I barely knew this kid, but I also knew that I wouldn’t really have to see him again after a few days. I knew that I didn’t care what he thought of me, and I knew that he had very little prior knowledge about me. This was the first time I’d really been referred to as a “lesbian” and I took it, and I embraced it. In that moment, I just felt okay. And sure, I panicked a little afterwards, but I was okay.
-July 29, 2014