October 20 is Spirit Day, a day that was set up by Douglas College Alumni Brittany McMillan to show support for LGBTQ youth and take a stand against bullying. Today we are sharing Telka’s coming out story.
Coming out is different for everyone. For me, I still haven’t entirely come out. To clarify, I identify as a bisexual lesbian. Those words may not mean much to you in combination, but to me they feel like the right way to describe how I feel about my sexuality. I have been telling people about my sexuality for the past three years but I have only quite recently began telling more than just my closest friends.
I first knew that I had at least an interest in girls when I was only 10. I had my first kiss with a girl without even realizing what it meant. I didn’t accept who I truly was until I was 15. Once I realized, I told only my closest friends. Everybody I told reacted quite casually (and in a supportive way) as most of the people I surround myself with either identify as LGBTQ+ or they are completely accepting of the community. I waited to tell my family until I thought it necessary for them to know, not because I thought they wouldn’t accept me, but because I assumed they would have the same reaction as my friends had and therefore it wouldn’t matter when I told them. My dad has taken me to the Vancouver Pride Parade since I was five years old and my mom has generally shown support and acceptance of the community.
I finally told my mom when I was going through a tough time at the end of a relationship in June. Her reaction was a bit different than I expected. I clearly remember I told her in the kitchen one morning after I had woken up crying and had run to take a shower. After I’d changed she asked me what was wrong because she had heard me crying in the shower. I simply said to her “I’m gay” and started crying again. I wasn’t crying because I am gay but rather about the relationship problems I was having. My mom hugged me and started to cry a bit too. This surprised me. She explained that she was upset not that I like girls, but because she was afraid of how I would be treated differently by society because of it.
My mom’s reaction to me coming out has changed my perspective on things a bit. It has also made me very thankful because I know that parents and family members are not always so supportive. I have yet to come out to my dad but I am sure I will eventually but it just feels irrelevant most of the time. Although my sexuality is a part of me, it doesn’t define who I am.