Woman declares she’s turning into a lesbian

It boggles the mind that anyone would name a female child after a big, hairy fictitious extraterrestrial species found in the Star Wars movie franchise but some 35 years ago, two parental units did just that to their newborn daughter. Now an adult, Wooky (spelled differently than the Star Wars’ species) has a life that seems good — a job, money, a partner, friends, a family that’s together and cares about her.

And then a few weeks ago Wooky woke up as she often does when the alarm goes off, and turned in bed to face the man she’d been living with for the last five years and instead of her usual good morning, suddenly blurted out, “I’m a lesbian.

He was surprised. Wooky was straight. Or was until then. Granted, she’d played in the sexual arena with women a few times before she met him, but it was just sex. For fun. Nothing serious.

It’s hard to know precisely why Wooky needed to blurt out what seemed to be an impulsive, or spur-of-the-fashionista-of-the-moment thing that would change both of their lives from that moment forward. But I suppose there’s no easy way to tell the nice man you’re living with that who you both thought you are is not who you are, or is changing. You know the woman you think I am? Well, this morning in the shower I realized that’s not who I am…

In spite of all the best plans and hopes to be sensitive, there’s a lot of last-minute blurting out because people seem to think if it’s said really fast, it’ll be over with faster, or if they don’t say it fast, it’ll never be said, so why not just say really fast? I’m a lesbian. 

Shall I tell you the (true) story of the bridesmaid who ran away with the bride a week before the (straight) wedding? Another time perhaps.

Coming out happens first on the inside

Some women are only interested in men. Other women come to understand that, for reasons that are not easy to explain, their heart, mind and body and soul is only ignited by women.

Then there are some women and a few men who don’t feel the need to choose between being straight or gay because love is love and they have no burning, essential need or preference to make a decision either way about a label or category. Yes, I said decision. It is not a decision to be straight, to be gay, to be a lesbian, bisexual, intersexed or asexual. However, for those of us who are not straight, at some point we are faced with a decision: to accept and acknowledge this aspect of our self, decide what that means for us, and, how or if that aspect of self will manifest in our life.

Coming out is not always an easy process, even to yourself. It can take a while to get to the point of saying to someone, “I am a lesbianA lesbian is part of who I am.

For women who’ve established lives and identities and relationships on the basis of being straight, declaring otherwise often comes after a long, dark tea-time of the soul. Once that’s been faced, there’s all that outside world stuff to navigate when telling people who might need to know, a boyfriend, parents, siblings, a husband, kids, colleagues, grandparents. That’s a process fraught with emotional traps: otherwise considerate people can respond badly when told the new truth: No, you’re not; or, it’s just a phase, or we want nothing to do with you as if somehow knowing that you are a lesbian has changed you from being the person you are into a tequila-swilling she-monster who gobbles up kittens, puppies and children for breakfast before going out on the town to hunt down women. It can be a confusing, exhilarating, painful, happy time.

Of course some people will not care and are totally accepting, and say COOL! When can we go dancing?

That response is good and not good. Good for you because it’s one hurdle you don’t have to jump. Bad for the cause because those people are seriously endangering the rich history and drama of coming out stories. Think about it: with changing laws and education and same-sex marriage and same-sex parents with kids and same-sex divorce, it is possible that dramatic coming out stories will no longer be common in many places in the world in less than three generations. In fact, the loss of coming-out drama is on the UNESCO watch list of tribal stories that are at risk of disappearing within three generations in some Western cultures. We’re losing this defining milestone, this rite of passage, this bonding story. A core part of the identity for people within the world’s LGBTTIQQ2S communities is being threatened with extinction.

Not to put too-fine a point on it, and acknowledging that acceptance is an uneven thing with what’s happening to gay people in Ecuador and Russia, but with all of this acceptance and not caring who’s gay and who’s not, coming out is starting to be a non-event.

We only see the end result

It might seem as if Wooky just woke up and figured she’d be a lesbian and declared it to the man in her bed. Snap decision. Un fait accompli. Maybe. Maybe she is just trying on a different persona for a while. Or wanted out of a relationship and had no good reason to do so, and couldn’t think of another way out.

On the other hand, it is plausible that after a long period of pondering and consideration and worry and wondering, Wooky woke up that morning and realized that those times she was played with women wasn’t playing so much as exploring the part of her that she kept hidden and on that morning, as much as it might hurt some people, she needed to say her truth. It only seems a spontaneous turning because she kept it all inside to herself as she was going through it. We only see the end result, not the process that got her there, the process of turning from straight into a lesbian.

And it is this — saying what’s inside — that was ingrained in her she was born. After all, didn’t that evil empire of parental units name her after a strange, gentle and hairy species from a 1970s movie? Doesn’t that give her the right to be everything she wants to be, do everything she wants to do, including to be who she is even if that means changing who she’s been and turn into who she wants to be declaring, hey world: ta-da! I am a lesbian.  

which way to go...

About FS

Toronto, Canada. Writing about slices of life, the moments and minor details of which come into awareness or out of imagination and the spaces inbetween. On hiatus from writing anywhere else but here ... at least for now.
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25 Responses to Woman declares she’s turning into a lesbian

  1. UK says:

    As always an eloquent post … a lovely read with or without … snorting.

    I guess we all go through some sort of “rite of passage” in life be it “coming out” or something else that is defining for who we consider us selves to be. Hopefully those we consider our family and friends and the society that we belong to supports and accepts who we are – no matter what !

    I’m sure that “coming out” – in lots of places and families – is not the same in this day and age as it was years ago and HURRAH – I say.

    I found this post the other day http://www.cardcarryinglesbian.com/http:/cardcarryinglesbian.com/featured/a-butch-voice-from-another-generation – I found it enlightening

    • FS says:

      Dear UK: Thank you. I think the snorting was about the additional exchange…. and all in good fun. Some women snort when they laugh. (Although that might be uniquely American since I don’t know any Canadian women who snort;-) )

      Thank you for the link. I read the article. As women who love women — lesbians — we are such a diverse …. community? culture? tribe? of women I agree with you about acceptance (I dislike the term tolerant and tolerance as it has come to be used in our culture. I do not wish to merely be ‘tolerated’. Thanks but no thanks.) And that threshold of coming out first to ourself, then to others, is a hard thing to name or define. THIS is who I am and this is who I will be is a bold, courageous statement in a woman’s life at any time. That it does not meet with others’ approval and what that unfolds for us is also part of what connects us, all of the diverse, amazing, weird and wonderful ones of us.

  2. MichaelM says:

    “as if somehow knowing that you are a lesbian has changed you from being the person you are into a tequila-swilling she-monster who gobbles up kittens, puppies and children for breakfast before going out on the town to hunt down women.” OMG! You have such a flair for the written word.

    I only stumbled across your site a short while ago (this year) but I do enjoy visiting from time to time. I hope you won’t mind the occasional comments from the token gay male in the group.😉

    Blessings,
    Michael

  3. tomboy says:

    My first time seeing this site and I am real happy. For once lesbians can talk freely, and be treated normally. I am in high school and ‘gay’ is used like a swear word. I have not come out yet, but I have told my two best friends and they are both fine with it. Too fine actually, I took longer than them to come to terms with it than them. I have not told my parents yet, but I know they won’t mind. Since I minded I need to totally be happy with myself before everyone else is. I think it’s awesome that you guys are there, gone through it, and happy. I can’t wait!

  4. natasiarose says:

    Whoa. Waaait, back up. What’s a lesbian?
    😉

  5. bookishbutch says:

    Wooky, huh? you’re funny. Personally, I’m lucky, I was born this way. It must be so difficult and also
    exciting to discover who you are, well, a big part of who you are anyway. I think coming out stories,
    even sad awful ones, are inspiring and even in a more accepting time and place, after all ‘we’ live
    in 21 st century Canada, we must show youth who we are. We are in the same proportion (as our straight counterparts) wonderful and messed up and that’s just fine:-)

    • FS says:

      BB: You were born with a plaid shirt and Blunnies? Ouch! 😉. I am not making the name up: it’s a true story and a real name of a newly minted lesbian.

      • bookishbutch says:

        Perhaps a plaid diaper:-) The Blunnies came late in life, I used to be a running shoe girl,
        but, I was always butch. Honestly, I’ve heard weirder names, I think it’s cute, could be hard to pull off, though, gotta be a strong ‘girl’ to carry that kind of moniker:-)

      • FS says:

        Yes, kind of like that Johnny Cash song: A boy named Sue.

        Ohh a plain diaper? Cool. I have known of women with names that are unusual for a variety of reasons: either the names were old-fashioned, or they were part of the cultural, religious, national background. However, as a superficial woman who’s semantically sensitive and also a lesbian, here’s the thing: a name has to (for me) pass the mental test drive: imagining saying her name in the heat of passion. Some names just don’t get ’round that corner.😉

  6. makingspace1 says:

    I was 39 when I realized I am not straight, and it was several months later, when I was 40, that I realized that I’m a lesbian. I have absolutely NO problem with painful coming out stories going the way of the dinosaur. None whatsoever. May they disappear. I would not want my children or anyone I love or most people I don’t love to go through this. I’m glad I came out. Wouldn’t trade that for the world. And I wasn’t living an inauthentic life before I came out, so no regrets there. But that transition time, gah. Let it disappear. Really. I want to see a society where no one is determined to be anything at all until they determine it for themselves; and where, having made one determination, it’s assumed that they might indeed alter their understanding later. Bring that on.

    • FS says:

      Dear MS: Didn’t dinosaurs evolve to become birds? Isn’t transition time the toughest time? Between leaving here and getting there? Left the shore and can’t quite see where the landing spot is? I wish for the same, with the addition of people checking their assumptions about other people. It’s perhaps unavoidable to have assumptions about people, but it’s not a good idea to think those assumptions are accurate or true.

      • makingspace1 says:

        I don’t know. I mean, I hope if I am as awful to my children as my mother was to me, that they’ll find the courage to fill out that restraining order form and cut off contact sooner than I did. Truly I hope that. But mostly I hope (wish?) that no one gets kicked out for being gay; or as in my case gets stalked by a parent who intends to prove their offspring’s mental illness (or drug abuse, or untreated childhood sexual abuse, or sin, or whatever spouts out of the parent’s mouth at the time); or thinks about killing themselves; or kills themselves; or worries about losing custody of their children (a reality in some states in the U.S.); or worries about losing their lives (a legal possibility in some countries). These are not transitions. I don’t want to hear these coming out stories. I want them to stop.

        I’m glad none of these things happened to Wooky. I remember the first time I watched the movie Imagine Me and You, I wanted to throw the TV out the window. I couldn’t believe anyone would present coming out after marriage as such a straight(ha)forward thing. I still can’t imagine re-watching that movie. So even though I don’t live in the woman’s head, I would bet that she did NOT in fact just wake up one morning and determine she’s gay and say it instantly to her life partner. I bet she thought long and hard about what might happen, and finally figured it was worth it.

        For me, I figured that even if I lost custody of my children and ended up homeless under a bridge, I’d still find a way to see them in supervised visitation over at the Y once a week. And I decided to come out because otherwise I was going to kill myself. And I figured my children needed me, even once a week, alive.

        I don’t think that’s a great transition experience or story. I didn’t like it when my father threatened to call CPS on me because I’m a lesbian (though he retracted and we are now reconciled). I don’t think these things are normal transition or growth elements in a lifespan. I think it’s abuse. The fact that it’s legal (though I understand you’re in Canada and it’s not legal there) so many places makes it entrenched, rather than transitional.

        So all the best to Wooky, and may the actual transitional parts of our life stories indeed become the stuff of good memories. But the abuse? The legal discrimination? No. End it. Well, not you, FS. Heh. I mean, universe, society, whatever, end it.

      • FS says:

        MS; Oh my goodness. ((hugs)) I agree with you: while it can seem to outsiders that a switch has been flipped, it is rarely the case. I didn’t mean to suggest that the transition story is a great story for everyone — there are too many individual variables and for some, it can be a process of navigating hell on wheels, particularly where there are negative family power dynamics, curious interpretations of religious doctrine that allow for kidnappings and reprogramming and where there are kids and a husband involved.

        Transition is about getting to the next point where life normalizes, because at some point, it does normalize. I hear you about social pressure, laws, policy and practice. Where you are in the world matters a lot in that process. It’s not perfect in Canada by a long stretch. Here, there remains a strong sentiment in some of the religious fundamental groups who have a long reach into the current government that these laws need to be repealed, that women’s groups and women’s shelters and support centres and sex ed and everything supporting LGBT needs to be shut down. While the attack on women continues on a policy and funding basis, the government has said it will not repeal laws that discriminate against LGBT people. What happens in people’s home though, is often a different and appalling story.

        I think you’re right: that is not a coming out story, and it’s not normal. It is an all-too common story of abuse and with it, betrayal of the worst kind of abuse — the kind by the people who are supposed to love you and protect you, but who instead see you as an object, not as a person, and who is doing something they don’t think you should. And sadly, that story plays out in many women’s lives across the world, lesbian and not. I wish I had words to say.

        Don’t you need a billy-goat goatee to live under a bridge?😉

        Is it weird to congratulate you for the courage to draw boundaries around you, and protect yourself and your children from your mother? What kind of parent does that? Under what circumstance is it ever ok for a parent to be abusive in any way toward their child, no matter the age of that child? I’d really, really, like to know that. It is inconceivable that you would ever be with your children as your mother was to you. (((Virtual Canadian hug coming your way))).

        I am so, so sorry that you had to experience any of that.

      • makingspace1 says:

        Bwaaaaahhhh! Now you’ve got me crying. What an eloquent and gracious response – thank you.

        But first, I must say that my children would love to have a goat. Or three. Argh. LOL

        Thanks for articulating better than I could, from inside my own perspective, the difference between transition and entrenched abuse from which one (I hope) escapes. I don’t know that I had thought about the difference until reading your post, and thinking about what it meant to me.

        I really appreciate the congratulations on drawing the boundaries tight around myself and my children (and even the family into which I married and from which I am now divorced though they remain supportive – they have also felt her abuse). It means a lot. I have only begun to let go of the internal “what kind of daughter DOES this?” question that has lingered in the back of my mind…

        Coming out stories have so much excitement and joy, and mine does. I do love the idea of keeping those transitional experiences in the forefront of our collective history. Bringing them forward as times of celebration would be awesome – like graduating from school, or having a baby, or some other wonderful milestone.

        Thanks for such a thought-provoking post and discussion. And thanks for the support and congrats and hugs. Same back at you. Thanks.

      • FS says:

        You’re welcome. Three goats is good: lawn gets taken care of, and you get milk and you can make cheese and yogurt.

        Your experience sounds like (if I may) a modern version of the Salem Witch Trials.

        What kind of daughter does this? Does the rest of that sentence go: what kind of daughter does this to me? Geez: I imagine that your life decisions are not through the lens of being her daughter and how it reflects on her: it’s about being a woman who is her own person, who’s inner voice and guidance is steering you along the course of your own life, even if that means containing the toxic and dangerous narcissism and behaviours by the woman who gave birth to you. I’m going to stop now, because this is something I feel strongly about 🙂

        Compassion — while it might stop to wonder what drives a person (your mother) to behave so cruelly to people she’s supposed to love — does not condone abuse in any form and does not preclude putting all sorts of legal and emotional protections around you so that she can’t continue the damage. It’s hard not to internalize some things parents say to us, even when those parents are being unkind and destructive. And if I may, your experience might answer some of the questions you raise in your most recent post. 😉

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