Lesbianism – It Ain’t for Sissies Part 2
So there I was, entering high school, and along with all the other anxieties (‘Will anyone like me?’ ‘Can I pass geometry?’) was the worry that I might be a lesbian. My mom had as much as told me I was after she caught me and a girlfriend kissing. The gross tongue-stabbling I got from my first date pretty much sealed the deal. Then another boy’s kiss also left me totally cold (I didn’t know it could be due to depression following a serious car accident and facial disfigurement…)
But things began to look up. Before school started, supportive gold frames were removed from my teeth. I received temporary crowns that were not hideous. I had surgery on the wound to my mouth that turned out, well, pretty great. Shortly after school started, a girl who was part of the kind of clique my mother drooled over befriended me. And she could do geometry! (Forever grateful, Jan Helen McGee!)
But nothing was quite as thrilling as my first dance, the night HE singled me out. “HE” was Tim – tall, dark and handsome; smart enough to win 3rd prize in the science fair (but not nerdy enough to win 1st); cool enough to play jazz; athletic enough to play sports. He was nice! AND he had a hot car! I couldn’t believe he had picked ME.
How I imagined we looked together:
How we probably actually looked:
Licking the Spoon, my book in progress about food, sex and relationship, discusses how addressing body image issues can improve a woman’s sexual confidence and fulfillment.
Tim and I began dating, and I finally experienced the joy of having … well, a man. A man who walked me to my classes and called me every night. Who picked me up and took me out. Who enveloped me in his strong arms and intoxicated my senses with the scent of his cologne, the slight scratch of his beard against my cheek, and the sweet searching of his lips. Ohhh, those lips… I’d sit in class daydreaming and dizzy from the sensation – a waterfall of melting chocolate that started at my brain, cascaded down my insides and pooled between my legs. I wondered if I could keep the promise I’d made to myself – not to have sex and risk a pregnancy in high school.
The short ending is that within the year, Tim broke up with me. His reason was vague, and I heard a rumor that he had met another girl. I was crushed. The ache to be ‘normal’ was replaced by the ache to be loved by him again. But eventually, that too passed. I heard that he went on to get that girl pregnant. I went on to like other boys. And I didn’t get pregnant! Woo hoo!
But this process had an enormous effect on my future. I became a sex educator because I understood that no young person should have to go through what I did. My story had a happy ending because it turned out that I preferred the opposite sex. But for young people who really are gay or lesbian, their happiness may be hijacked by bullying, rejection from loved ones, and even increased risk for depression and suicide. Luckily, times are changing. Although sexual orientation is complex, there is increasing evidence that we are born with the attraction we have. And there are positive gay role models living meaningful lives for youth to look up to.
But lesbianism still ain’t for sissies – homosexuality ain’t for sissies – because it always takes courage to be who you are.
49 thoughts on “Lesbianism – It Ain’t for Sissies Part 2”
Lynda, thank you for sharing your reflections and current perspective, as well as the facts and feelings of your past. Your story is so personal. You make candor, self-discovery and self acceptance look effortlless.
Well, that effortless effort took years to get to, Vena! But once you get the hang of it, it’s not so bad! I wish I had gotten the hang of it years before I did. Which I guess is the point of my blog and book – to help someone else get there a little earlier, maybe. Thanks as always for your encouragement.
wow this is very interesting stuff
Not as interesting as watching the Angels maybe, but hey! 🙂
I truly agree. It takes unthinkable courage for people to accept who they are and face the hardships of mainstream values. Homosexuals are in no ways lesser than heterosexuals. Lesser people are people who judge other’s capabilities and value based on sexual preference.
I like your definition of lesser people, Gary!
“But lesbianism still ain’t for sissies – homosexuality ain’t for sissies – because it always takes courage to be who you are.”
now that’s a powerful statement!
The last part of this post was incredibly inspirational. Poignant, and to the point. But thats the whole idea! I admire how you took your past adolescent experiences and relayed them as an adult to conclude that it doesn’t matter who you love, as long as you love whole heartedly. One love. (Cue Bob Marley song).
Beautiful song, Candice! 🙂
once again great job…loved this one
I’m glad! 🙂
I think its great that you are sharing such a personal story!
“For young people who really are gay or lesbian, their happiness may be hijacked by bullying, rejection from loved ones, and even increased risk for depression and suicide.” Yes, it’s definitely sad that we as human beings are so closed minded and have such a difficult time to deal with anyone/anything that is considered new or different. However, I think the U.S. has made big steps in regarding this topic in the last years.
Every girl gets her heart broken at some point in her life it just helps them to avoid a lifetime of heartache.
Well, if it’s the wrong person, it will be a lifetime of heartache. Better to get it over with sooner rather than later.
That last sentence is one of the most powerful messages that stood up for homosexuality. Great article!
I hope so, thank you.
Being yourself can always be tough. Your ending quote was very well said. People will always judge you for who you are and who you aren’t. Why try to impress those who will never be satisfied. This was another great story, I know many of us can relate.
I’m glad you can, Zach!
It’s sad that for many discovering they are gay is still devastating because they will have to face so much more judgement but it slowly changing. You should share some of these stories in class they’re really interesting.
I think I will do that! Students seem to like my stories. 🙂
I love the last line. And it’s true! Heterosexual myself but it does take courage to be outside the norm, to be the minority and still be OK with it.
And that’s especially hard for kids, unfortunately…
Well said! It is so hard to simply be who you are even when sexual attractions aren’t in the question, let alone people who identify themselves as being heterosexual and bisexual. However, I think society is gradually becoming more aware and in a sense more accepting to individuals who identify themselves to be heterosexual, and I think we have some celebrities to thank for that contribution as well. Ex: Ellen Page who came out of the closet and addressed herself as a proud lesbian.
Thank you for sharing this experience with us. I reminisced about my first boyfriend in high school and how terrifying it was to come out of the closet as a gay 16 year old at the time. I had my first kiss, first dance, first sexual experiences, etc. with Gilbert. We did end up breaking up and it devastated me, however, I moved from it ever since. It paved a way of growth for me as an individual. I am sorry about what happened between you and Tim, though I am sure you’ve moved on from that experience and have grown. Also, thank you for pointing out that homosexuality isn’t for sissies, I chuckled a bit.
Growing up as a child, I was so confused about my sexuality. It scared me at first, that i liked girls but in high school I met this girl, we became best friends at first and from then I fell in love with her. She told me she felt something for me but did not want to accept it because she was fully straight. She broke my heart but now I am still learning about the LGBQT community. I am currently taking a Human Sexuality class and I have learned so much more about my sexuality and sex. Thank you for reminding me homosexuality ain’t for sissies.
That was a painful way to get your heart broken, but just remember broken hearts happen to almost all young people. 🙁 But yes, in spite of strides forward for LGBQT people, there is still a lot of prejudice and uncertainty that will come your way. But being connected to the community will be part of the joy.
I found your experience with the same sex to be similar with mine, in the sense that it was during the first two years of high-school I finally figured out who I was. I found out that I was and could be attracted to anyone regardless of how they identify with their biological sex, gender, or gender identity. In more specific terms, I identified as pansexual (and still do!) , it was a whole new world to me in the sense that I knew I could never truly come out to my family. For they see attraction to the same sex or being bisexual, or pansexual as something disgusting or evil. Yet from the time, I was a sophomore to now a junior in community college, I feel no shame in who I am nor do I know that I have to hide from everyone because I have beautiful and caring friends who love and support me. So in coming to terms with my sexuality, I am forever grateful to my friends who are allies and those who are in the community.
That’s wonderful that you’ve had such support from friends, since your family would not. So far research has indicated that women’s sexuality may be more ‘flexible’ than men’s – more able to respond to the person rather than just gender or sex.
I love stories like this. Am I gay or am I not? Asking this question is an indication that you’re slowly starting to realize complex characteristics about yourself that you’ve never noticed before. I’d love to show my mom the research that proves that people are born with the sexuality they have, because my mom thinks everyone’s just being influenced or brain-washed by the media. The first time I realized that I didn’t only like guys was around high school. I think it’s the same for most girls. I liked a girl and for some time I thought it was admiration and the just simple innocent thought that she was pretty. But nope. You’re completely right. Homosexuality isn’t for pussies because those people are brave enough to acknowledge their feelings and be proud of who they are.
You can share the research with your mom if you choose. What you can’t choose is how she reacts to it.
I am 19 years old and have always know that I liked the opposite sex. Being raised in a super religious family I would tell myself that it was wring and push those ideas and desires to the back of my head. It wasn’t until my senior year in high school when I found my current girlfriend that I knew I liked girls she is the most beautiful women I have ever seen and I love her with my whole heart. Being Bisexual is not easy I can not go out without feeling judged while I am holding her hand but, I have yet to come across people who are disgusted by us. I hope that day never comes.
I hope is never does either, Samantha. But even if it does, you know that your love is right.
I loved that you shared this experience with us because I have recently found myself in the same situation where I don’t know which sex I prefer. But I came to the conclusion that as of now I like boys- kissing them and having sex with them haha- but I am just curious of what it would be like to be with a woman. I’m sorry Tim broke up with you, but at least you dodged a bullet by not getting pregnant by him! I’m glad you found your answer in which sex you actually prefer.
It’s not uncommon to be interested in both sexes (especially for girls), and it’s not uncommon for young people to be confused about it – especially since our families and our cultures usually don’t talk about it with us.
This subject is very interesting because their are parents that don’t understand their kids sexuality and it’s hard to come out of the closet. I had asked one of my girls if she was a lesbian because all she ever brought home where girls and I know that some of her friends where lesbians because they had a patterner and my daughter would tell me everything and she always said no. I kind of knew what the end result would be in your case but then again you had me doubting you lol. I’m once again so amazed at how strong you are . What happened to you happens to a lot of the girls now at days but they end up pregnant or commit suicide over a boy or they fight and get hurt.
Adolescence and pre-teen are very hard times! It’s too bad parents don’t receive some structured education about how to handle these sensitive subjects in a way that helps their children.
To be honest I wasn’t really surprised with this outcome because it’s not a choice to be gay. You don’t just turn gay overnight because some dude sucked at kissing. This is interesting and can help people who are confused and curious with their sexuality orientation.
You are correct about sexual orientation, but kids don’t know that. All they know is that they are confused, as you point out.
I agree with you 100%. I believe it takes a lot of courage to come and let people know your gay. My sister had come out to my mother and told her she was dating her friend but my mother crushed her happiness by telling her that she didn’t understand what love was and that she was just fooling herself. Crushed her enough to leave and I yelled at my mom for even saying any of it, she felt bad but stood her ground. In the end she accepted it and is a little more open with my sister and her fiance.
It’s nice to hear that the older generation can become more understanding, but unfortunately it takes time (and sometimes doesn’t happen at all).
Sorry to hear that you had such a traumatic accident, I’m glad you made it through to teach Human Sexuality! From what I read it seems like your mother wasn’t too pushy or harmful to your process of finding yourself and your sexual orientation (based on this post). It seems like she just wanted to know, I wish that all parents could be like this! I am grateful to have family members who could not care less who I go for or don’t go for, and I hope to give my little sister the same impression that you can love who you love and be who you want to be so long as you don’t harm anyone else. Besides religious views (which are hard to shake) what do you think is the primary reason for parents disowning their children after they “come out”. For me it seems unfathomable, if I had a child I would love them no matter what and appreciate that they are being vulnerable enough to be their true self with me.
I wish I could say my mother was not pushy toward my sexual orientation, but she definitely was. She forbid me to remain friends with the girl. Regarding your question, I am reminded of a great LGBTQ advocate whom I used to know. Virginia Uribe founded Project 10 in LA Unified School District. She said when a kid comes out, it means the parents have to come out, too. And some have the idea that if your kid is gay, you did something “wrong.” That was especially true back in the day, but that attitude is not gone. I am glad you have the family you have.
Hello, Professor Hoggan!
I have to say that I really love this article. If I were highlighting my favorite sentences, I would probably end up highlighting the entire article. I would say the last two paragraphs were the most impactful. Your reason for becoming a sex educator is incredibly inspiring and and it’s also a universal and timeless reason. I would hope that all sex educators strive to prevent young people from going through what you did. My reasons for being a Gender and Sexuality Studies major are very similar. I also love how you left a link to the It Gets Better project. “Because it always takes courage to be who you are,” is a great quote that I feel can apply to any marginalized person’s experience. Overall, I really enjoyed this article!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! And I applaud you for going into the field. It’s not easy, but it’s very rewarding. Good luck to you.
It is interesting to learn about this topic through people’s stories because people can understand what others went through. Now people can understand them instead of judging them. Also, I know it is not easy to be in that situation because the only thing you receive is criticism instead of advice or support.
I agree 100% that it takes courage to come out. I’m bisexual and I had a really hard time when I came out. I think it’s awesome that you want to help young people who are struggling! 🙂
My own struggle is what inspires me to want to help. I hope you are on the good side of your coming out process.
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