Live Through This

Full Disclosure

My coming-out story.

Illustration by Kelly

I’m queer. I have always been queer. And so I get a lot of questions about queerness: how to tell if you’re homo, if crushing on boys still qualifies you as queer, and what coming out was like. In this here article I’m gonna talk about that last thing.

The long and short of it is that I was very lucky. I never really had to “come out” to my friends and family, because they all suspected before I did that I was gay, and they were (mostly) OK with it. Even so, every time I come out to new people or to my mother for the hundredth (thousandth) time, I hold my breath a little because I still never know what’s going to happen. It can be scary and it can be dangerous, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

According to one study, 26% of gay teens who come out to their parents are told they have to leave home. That’s terrifying—we are meant to love our parents, but how can you love someone who can’t accept who you are?

When I finally told my parents, it was right after Tyler Clementi committed suicide. Tyler went to my school; he killed himself after his roommate secretly taped him kissing another boy and shared it with friends via Twitter. The people I had been living with at the time felt OK making jokes about Tyler when they knew I was queer. As a result, I was at my parents’ house a lot, thinking about my queerness and how similar (and how different) I was from this boy who killed himself. I wanted to tell my parents why I felt so unhappy—it wasn’t because I was queer, it was because it now felt dangerous to be queer. My sexual orientation loomed in my mind all of the time, and it felt like a physical weight on my shoulders. It was finally just too much. I had to say something to my parents. I had to. I needed them to tell me it was OK and that it didn’t matter what the kids in my dorm were saying, because they loved me. I needed someone to say that to me. So during dinner, when we were watching a news report on Tyler’s death, I blurted it out. And I just waited, nervous and scared and hopeful.

My dad? I knew he’d be OK with it, which is why I am so lucky. I have the best dad—he is my best friend, he is my everything. My mother is another story. I knew that she wouldn’t be OK with my orientation. I love her, and I know she loves me, but she has always been the most conservative person in our household. Still, it hurt when she said that my being queer was an illness and that she wouldn’t want to go to my wedding if I had one. You can’t really prepare to hear such a thing from someone you love. You just bear it. “This is my mother,” I thought, “the person who raised me and loved me and makes terrible meatloaf and drove me to swim practice every day after school. She loves me. How can she say this to me?”

I was afraid she’d kick me out of the house, but my dad would have none of it. If my mother didn’t like it, she could leave, he said. This house was for me, he said. Everything they had done was for me, he said. Whom I love was not up to them, he said. And he has stuck by me and supported me throughout. He asks me how my girlfriend is doing, he writes letters to newspapers on behalf of gay rights and sends me copies, he drives me to pride parades. He is the best man alive. I am unspeakably, wondrously lucky.

But the thing is, too, that I wasn’t seeking my mom’s approval. I still don’t seek her approval. There comes a point when you realize that your parents make mistakes just as often as you do, and that they are people, too, and they can be wrong. When you come to terms with that, their approval becomes unnecessary. You don’t ask them for their permission, just for their love. That’s why I’m still on good terms with my mom despite the fact that she’s grossed out by my queerness. When she asks me if I’m dating a cute boy, I just bluntly tell her that I’m more inclined to date a cute boi. It’s a friendly but firm reminder. I still love her, and it’s important to me that she knows exactly who I am. I know deep down that she is wrong on every level. I know that I am a healthy person, regardless of the gender of the person I love, and I am a good person because I am capable of loving, and my love is just as valid and beautiful as any hetero relationship.

The thing people don’t really tell you about coming out is that it is a perpetual, never-ending event. You don’t come out just once. You come out to your parents, you come out to your best friends, you come out to acquaintances, and you repeat this throughout your life with varying degrees of acceptance and success. It’s not always a banner event. Sometimes it’s just slipping “my girlfriend and I” into a conversation, or your partner calling you when you’re at work and a co-worker asking who it is, or the queer T-shirt you forgot you were wearing to class. You don’t always plan it. But you shield your heart and hope for the best every time. You realize who your true friends are. You realize a lot.

Now, coming out to someone else is a little different than coming to terms with it yourself, which, in my opinion, is messier. I don’t think I’ve met a lot of queers who knew point-blank from the very beginning that they were gay. We go through phases: I’m bi, I’m gay, I’m pansexual, I’m gay, I’m in a straight relationship but I’m curious, and so on and so forth. Not having a clue is fine, and it’s normal. I identified as bi for a while in high school, but then I realized the only people I liked were girls so I switched to gay, but then I realized I still crush on boys and genderqueers sometimes, so I went pansexual, but that still didn’t feel right to me. Being un-straight is hard because, before you can really come out as anything other than heterosexual, you need to figure out what the boundaries of each label actually are. And it’s harder than it sounds. We all feel love and lust differently, and it’s difficult to translate feelings into one word, especially when that word is supposed to encompass an entire identity. Most straight kids (and adults for that matter) never question their straightness and prefer to ask us, “How do you know you’re gay?” Straightness is represented everywhere. It’s the norm. It’s in every rom-com. It’s in every television show. It’s in our laws. It’s on the billboards. It’s in the books. Gays stick out because we’re different than what we’re told to be, and that scares the crap out of some people. It makes them want to hurt us because it makes them question what the very definition of “normal” is.

Enough about that. I’ve told you my coming-out story, and now I want to talk about yours, especially if you haven’t come out yet. I want you to know that it isn’t your obligation to come out to other people if you don’t want to. You don’t owe anybody anything that might risk your safety or home or livelihood. If you do come out—and I hope that you do eventually because it’s fun on the other side of that closet door, and you can go to queer parties and make eyes with pretty ladies and not feel bad about it—know that you are so, so strong for being able to do so. It changes your life, ideally for the better, but you’ve got to be ready for it. Once you take that step and admit it to yourself and to the person or people you’re coming out to, the rest…the rest is awesome. Or it should be. Find people who are out, too, and make them your support group. There is this thing called the internet (you may have heard of it?) that saves me every day that I feel down or unsure about myself. For instance, I like Tumblr, and fashion blogging led me to feminist fashion bloggers, who led me to queer feminist fashion bloggers. You can find friends and talk about things that you can’t really talk to straight people about. (Queers talk about queer life ALL THE TIME. It’s hilarious and awesome.) They will accept you for who you are. It might take a while, but that community is your home as much as your parents’ house, and it’s something to cherish.

If coming out doesn’t go well, there are other options, and you deserve love and support more than ever. Go to your nearest women’s center or queer shelter (here is a page of resources nationwide), and keep in mind that you are not alone, you are worth more than what was given to you, and you will live through this.

We are family, and I love you for who you are. ♦


  • DymondMag April 3rd, 2012 3:10 PM

    ever since you said you’d be writing this on tumblr I’ve been super excited! such a beautiful article <3

  • katieeleanor April 3rd, 2012 3:16 PM

    even though i’m straight myself, this was incredibly touching to read. arabelle you are an inspiration!

  • Florence April 3rd, 2012 3:24 PM

    I love this article! When I came out to my mum, she just asked me if I liked coriander. I’m sort of sad I can’t tell my uber-catholic grandparents because we’re pretty close, but I guess they don’t want me to date anyone, whatever sex they are.

  • indigosunday April 3rd, 2012 3:27 PM

    Well, up until today I thought Arabelle was as straight as a ruler. This goes to show, that “queer” people are no different from the rest of us.

  • rookypox April 3rd, 2012 3:30 PM

    this was lovely to read. i’m sorry your mum isn’t accepting, that must be difficult, but your dad sounds awesome. i came out to my dad as bi a few months ago, even though i’m marrying a man this summer. some people have asked me why i bothered since i didn’t ‘need’ to, but i feel it’s really important to let my dad know who i am. being bi isn’t all of me but it’s still a part of my identity and i think it has only strengthened our relationship.

  • decemberbaby April 3rd, 2012 3:48 PM

    You are just amazing. I’ll return to this article whenever I need a reminder that, when suffering rejection or discrimination, I can choose to turn to kindness and patience rather than becoming bitter. (Same with Pixie’s awkwardness article from last night.) Thank you, Arabelle!

  • Brodie April 3rd, 2012 3:50 PM

    This is beautiful and I love your dad even more now than I did when I watched him dyeing your hair xx

  • gaia April 3rd, 2012 3:53 PM

    You are such an inspiration and this article has really made me think. All my friends at school know I like girls as well as boys and they’re all very accepting (my school is great). But every time I think about telling my parents I freak out and worry they’re going to tell me I can’t be bi and that I should make my mind up even though they’re the most liberal parents I know. I don’t know why I’m so afraid and I wish I was brave like you. Keep writing these amazing articles :)

    • SunshineJilly April 3rd, 2012 4:17 PM

      Girl, I think you’ll be surprised. :)

      But, I wish you the best in whatever you feel is right! Just be true to yourself!!

  • Violet April 3rd, 2012 3:55 PM

    Arabelle, I LOOOOOVE your Dad ! ! !
    after the hair dyeing video and this story, I just want to hug him. Such a sweet person ! ! !

  • Marie April 3rd, 2012 4:03 PM

    THIS WAS SO POWERFUL ARABELLE!! I’m so emotional right now! And your dad is amazing!!!

  • floralgore April 3rd, 2012 4:04 PM

    I cried while reading this. In a certain sense it gave me hope. I never thought that I would be gay. as a little kid Harvey Milk was my idol, I was completely okay with gay, But I never imagined it for myself. I knew when playin spin the bottle I wanted to kiss the girls, and when I saw pretty girls I crushed on them, but I never considered the fact that i like only girls (which i’m pretty sure I do) until this winter, when I got a girlfriend. I could really relate to what you said about identifying with different labels of sexuality, and how none exactly felt right… I’m still no where near being sure. Thanks for writing this Arabelle!!!!

    (oh and your dad sounds great!!)

  • back2thepast April 3rd, 2012 4:10 PM

    Aww man you squeezed my heart a little bit. Though discrimination or nonacceptance of LGBT kids will, like racism or any form of inequality, always linger, I believe that one day it will join hands with the “norm”. I’m so happy that you have a wonderful father who loves you no matter what. And he doesn’t act like THIS matter should compromise his love for you. You’re a very talented writer, thank you for sharing such a personal story.

  • Krista April 3rd, 2012 4:12 PM

    Arabelle! this is so so wonderful. Aggh I cannot take how cute your dad is to be so accepting AND be good at dyeing rainbow hair colors!

  • KinuKinu April 3rd, 2012 4:13 PM

    Wow….This was amazing.I still am really unsure of who I am and I know I still have time to figure that out.My dad is just like yours,Arabelle.He’s my best friend and he understands me better than I understand myself.He’s the one who shaved my head when mom said no.He’s the one who didn’t cringe when he saw what I was wearing that day.My dad is a pretty amazing person(tearing up over here)I know that he would be ok with whatever I choose in the future.I know my mom loves me.I love her,too.But she doesn’t get it most of the time.My dad is so awesome.I know for a fact that he’ll be okay with whatever I decide.Thank you so much for this. :D

  • SunshineJilly April 3rd, 2012 4:15 PM

    WOW. What a wonderful father and all-round human being! Accepting your sexuality and dyeing your hair purple?!

    I wish you and everyone else the best in navigating the complexities of attraction and/or bigotry, but always know you are loved!

  • emilybelle April 3rd, 2012 4:18 PM

    “Everything they had done was for me, he said.” <— This made me tear up
    I'm still figuring out my sexuality – this article makes me feel as though the figuring out process is a okay

  • FrillsAndThrills April 3rd, 2012 4:33 PM

    When I came out to my dad, he laughed. He thought I was telling a joke. When he realised I wasn’t his face changed – it went rigid and cold and he wouldn’t talk to me for a week after that. He wouldn’t let my girlfriend come over for a month he was so terrified by our relationship. It wasn’t until my second girlfriend that he made an effort to become comfortable. My mum was better – she knew from the get go that my girlfriend was not really just my “friend, over for a sleepover”. She still told me she’d prefer me to be with boys though. Everywhere I turned I got shit – my second girlfriend and I both worked at the same place and we were holding hands in the staff room. A girl across from the table from us said with a scowl on her face “can you guys not do that, it’s disgusting”. Half an hour later we were both pulled into the head office and given a lecture on what we weren’t allowed to do in the workplace – we couldn’t even hug. These rules didn’t apply to the straight couple that worked together there. I cried myself to sleep that night, I couldn’t understand why we’d been treated like lepers. My first girlfriend was terrified to hold hands in public because she was worried someone would try and beat us up. It put alot of strain on our relationship, because I was all for gay pride, no matter what. Anyway, thanks for this article Arabelle, it was really good to read.

  • slatternly April 3rd, 2012 4:48 PM

    Arabelle, this was a fantastic piece and I’m glad you wanted to share it. I’ve been out to my parents for about a year now and whilst they are supportive in their own way, its not something they’re particularly comfortable with. It’s been tough to deal with but as you said, it’s not about approval it’s about hoping they’ll take you as you are.

    “The thing people don’t really tell you about coming out is that it is a perpetual, never-ending event.” Oh lord that is something is that needs to be said more often because people so often think that coming out is this inv

  • tove April 3rd, 2012 4:53 PM

    I love you for writing this article, I really freakin’ do.

  • Maddy April 3rd, 2012 5:01 PM

    Ack! the Damn Girl You Look Good got switched so I couldn’t read it today.
    I can’t believe your mom thinks you disgusting for being gay. I’m really sorry. But happy that you can sometimes be totally happy and honest (I hope)! The discrimination is just awful against gays. One day we can look back and be shocked at how we were so inhumane to deny human and civil rights. But then again, there are still some moronic racists…

  • ninfu April 3rd, 2012 5:19 PM

    i think this is by far my most favourite article on rookiemag (although it’s full of great ones) mainly because i’m 18 and (still?) in this finding-out-what-my-sexual-orientation-actually-is-phase. when i was 13 or 14 i considered myself bisexual, a few years later pansexual and the last few months or so i was ‘sure’ that i’m gay but now i have the biggest crush ever on a boy (it’s creepy how similar it is hahah) le sigh i got no idea what i ‘am’.
    people told me i should stop thinking about it but it’s quite hard, for me at least. and this is also why i didn’t come out to any of my friends or family though i’m not afraid of their reactions since i live in a very liberal town in europe but it’s quite a burden anyway and it’s really frustrating argh but anyway i lost it ugh i think arabelle is my favourite writer on here ♥

    • Arabelle April 3rd, 2012 6:08 PM

      aw blushing!
      it’s ok to think about it a lot, i think about it a lot too. people who are like “don’t worry about it”… it’s a lot easier to say than to do!!

  • drydenlane April 3rd, 2012 5:19 PM

    Great article. I’m glad your dad is so supportive. That was especially sweet to read. xo

  • Kathryn April 3rd, 2012 5:20 PM

    This post was amazing and wonderfully written!

    I can’t imagine how terrifying it would be to come out. I hope that one day it isn’t so hard. When I’m on the internet or something and then I go out into the real world, I am perpetually shocked of how un-accepting some people are.

    PS your dad is awesome.

  • deemary April 3rd, 2012 5:27 PM

    arabelle you are my favorite writer! i admire you! great story *~**

  • Emmi April 3rd, 2012 5:44 PM

    A really amazing article, it’s so touching! I loved it <3

    Do you have any advice on the most effective way to start the coming out conversation? Like, in your experience, does slipping it into the conversation work best, or preparing, like, a speech or something?

    • Arabelle April 3rd, 2012 6:09 PM

      honestly i kind of just blurted it out, but before then, i slipped in stuff like “that girl is really cute” and “im gonna ask for her number” into conversations when my parents were around as a hint. a speech would be fine i think.

  • Bren April 3rd, 2012 5:55 PM

    The part about how supportive your dad is towards you made me cry. He sounds lovely. And I have nod doubt that his article will be an immense help to many a lady. :)

  • Yellie April 3rd, 2012 6:27 PM

    awww I just got all fuzzy inside!

  • AnguaMarten April 3rd, 2012 6:30 PM

    this is really beautiful. i even cried a little, and i’m a cold hearted bastard who’s dead inside.

    i honestly don’t know what i am. i’m totally cool with homosexuality and so i’m open to the idea. but i don’t know. i don’t know how to crush on someone who’s not a celebrity or a fictional character, because nobody’s ever been interested in me. or me in them. but i’m pretty sure i’m sexually attracted to girls, and emotionally attracted to guys. and i think vice versa, too. i just don’t know.

    i’m also hesitant to declare myself as bisexual because i have many friends who are definitely bi, and i feel like i don’t get to share their identity. i know it’s ridiculous, but that’s how i feel. besides, i have no idea how my family would take it. my parents would probably be disappointed and a little sad, but i do think they would accept and love me. my extended family, on the other hand… i’m actually writing a short story right now about that, because they’re all really conservative.

    also. i’m in eighth grade, and i’m starting to be open to the idea of dating. but i have no idea how. how do i flirt? how do i send the message i’m interested? and dear god, why is nobody interested in me? i’m pretty, i’m smart, i’m funny, i’m interesting. not bragging, just stating facts. why has no one ever asked me out or told me they liked me? is there something wrong with me? am i just not the type people like?

    god being fourteen sucks.

    • Hannnah June 9th, 2012 12:07 PM

      woah you sound exactly as I felt quite a lot (at fourteen – I agree, a sucky age, yet an age that seems to maketh a lot of people). I don’t think you need to rush to put a label on your sexuality – for one, it will change slightly or a lot anyway, and also ultimately no two people who identify by the same name, whatever that is, will ever have the same individual sexuality- kind of what you said about being bi – it feels like your sexuality’s slightly different from that of your friends, so you don’t want them to make an assumption that you’re the same as them if you say you’re bi?
      Is it really cheesy of me to suggest that maybe you just go with the flow and not take things too seriously? You might meet someone you like, and then you might start flirting with them just by virtue of the fact that you like them and behave in a certain way around them. What Arabelle says about not owing it to anyone to “come out” is so important, too. You might want to figure out who or what you like for your own sake, but you don’t have to do it for anyone else.
      sorry if you were aiming for a rhetorical rant, your comment just “struck a chord” heheh :)
      PS I am sure that one day you’re gonna be the person that somebody ADORES

  • waitjustaclocktick April 3rd, 2012 7:20 PM

    This is sooo amazing, thank you for this article :)
    I am really afraid of the day I have to tell everyone that I like girls. It’s weird that I cant tell exactly when I started liking girls, it’s like something that was always there – even when I thought I liked this or that guy – but slowly started to get more visible to me, especially since 2 years ago (I’m now 19). The problem is that my family is conservative (they would never kick me out but I know they would prefer if I dated guys), my friends are the kind who make gay jokes, I am kinda religious and I still don’t know exactly how to deal with both things.
    When I started university there was this guy who seated at my side in class and told me he was gay in like our first lesson and my first thought was something stupid like “omg gays exist in real life!” and then like suddenly I realized that the ‘fact’ that I liked girls maybe could make me gay. It was this kind of moment when you find a word to express something it’s there, and also the moment when you find someone who shares something with you that you cant talk with anyone else and in the first seconds it was kind of ~exciting but then it was terrifying.
    The problem is that I don’t exactly relate to the queer people I’ve met because I’m not that free-spirited as they all are, but meanwhile I feel like I can’t relate anymore to the people I called friends for years.
    It’s like feeling trapped and having to keep stuff from your friends and family and I feel bad for letting this change the bubbly girl I used to be to this frustrated and slightly bitchy girl I am now.

  • lyndsey April 3rd, 2012 7:31 PM

    I came out to my parents in December, and even though I knew they’d accept me, it was still terrifying because I knew their perceptions of me would change drastically. I knew it would be different now to talk about my relationships with them, and conversations about marriages and babies in the future (which is a subject we could always talk about light-heartedly) would be slightly strained.
    There are questions that are still running through my mind: When my girlfriend and I go visit them in a few months, how affectionate can we be at home? Also, how can I encourage my parents to be more comfortable asking about my relationship with her? I think everyone, no matter how accepting their family is, faces challenges. So thank you so much for your beautiful article, Arabelle. Talking about these things really helps.

  • MissKnowItAll April 3rd, 2012 7:36 PM

    I honestly don;t know what I am. I crush on guys really hard but every once in a while I get smitten when I see this one girl. Some of my closest friends are lesbians and gays but I don’t think I’m gay. I honestly have the hardest time figuring it out.

  • Cruicked April 3rd, 2012 7:42 PM

    I think that, like you, my friends and family kind of suspect that I might be gay. My friends definitely do but, like, even tho my dad sometimes says some not very nice things about gay people, he sometimes like makes comments about, like, if a girl is pretty and I always feel like he’s checking my reaction. My immediate family, I’m positive, would be totally cool with me if I was gay but I don’t know about my cousins and aunts and uncles etc.

  • Cruicked April 3rd, 2012 7:42 PM

    Forgot to say, this was really an excellent article. I love you for writing it!

  • christinecoops April 3rd, 2012 7:51 PM

    you’re so lucky to have a dad like him :)

  • ladyjenna April 3rd, 2012 8:00 PM

    My friend made a power point to tell her parents she was gay… was wonderful! She emailed it to both of them the day before she went off to camp.

    But now its kinda awkward, we have to leave the doors open when we have sleepovers…….COME ON PARENTS seriously, just because they’re gay doesn’t mean they’re turning every freaking sleepover into a lesbian orgy

  • Zoe with two dots April 3rd, 2012 8:05 PM

    Beautiful article. Just beautiful <3

    I realised I was bi late last year, and while my closest friends know, my family doesn't. It was a fairly random announcement to my friends – we were at a friend's party, and my best girl friend and best guy friend and I were chilling on his bed together when I blurted out, 'I had a dream about a girl last night. One of *those* dreams.' They thought I was joking. 'No, really,' I said. 'She looked like Inara from Firefly.' My best guy friend exclaimed 'You're bisexual!' and the thought that I could be anything but straight freaked me out so much that I shouted "I AM NOT BISEXUAL!" And then I thought about it. And thought some more. And then I went, 'Oh my God. I am. You're right.' And that was that…

  • Tracy April 3rd, 2012 8:13 PM

    This was so inspiring to read. I’m still questioning my identity, but I know if I told my parents they most likely wouldn’t be supportive.

    Your dad seems amazing! It’s nice to see a parent approach the situation in a such a positive way.

  • Ben April 3rd, 2012 8:34 PM

    Thanks for writing this. My thoughts have changed about what i am too. But i think i’ve kindof settled on gay.
    It’s terrible that your freinds made jokes about his suicide! That’s horrible! I was at a feild tripthis year and one of my freinds say two guys kissing on a bench across the road and was all like “eww, tha’s disgusting.” So then at a class meeting later that week i brought up that people where being disrespectful towards people we saw on the trip and we talked about that a bit. It made me worried what they might think.
    I have a freind who moved far away and we where emailing each other and i wrote something about my crush. Then she asked me and after a little, please, and, you know you want to, I told her all about him, And she was totaly cool about it. She didn’t seem suprized or anything and we just talked about him and stuff for a while and it felt really good. I havent told anyone else yet though.
    I think most people know already and would be really accepting about it but it’s just an uncomfortable topic for me to talk about, But i feel like I should tell my siblings befor they hear bad stuff about it so it will be easier. There have been lots of good oppritunitys to come out recently. Even though I’m totally fine with it myself, I just don’t know if i’m ready to tell everyone quite yet.

  • sincerelyshayshay April 3rd, 2012 11:03 PM

    I’m so sorry your mom wasn’t accepting when you came out; my partner’s parents are orthodox catholic’s and when she came out (and when she brought me home to meet them) it was definitely rough. But hopefully the same awesome thing happens to you that happened to us; eventually her family grew to like me, and even her mother has decided she wants to be a part of our wedding. I was always really close to my grandma, and when i came out to her I was terrified of her reaction because she’s very traditional but she said she loves me and nothing else matters (my girlfriend and I visit her every sunday!).I did however lose my best friends from elmntary and highschool when I came out…Coming out changes your life, and as a very girly lesbian I get to come out all the time (to my dentist, to relatives, new friends, coworkers)and I don’t think I would trade the friends I’ve made,my partner (who is the love of my life) or the experiences I’ve had since coming out, for anything in the world.

    • Anaheed April 4th, 2012 12:03 AM

      Aww I love this comment!

      • sincerelyshayshay April 5th, 2012 8:20 PM

        <3 thanks! I've been incredibly lucky :)

    • ale April 4th, 2012 9:16 PM

      “Coming out changes your life, and as a very girly lesbian I get to come out all the time (to my dentist, to relatives, new friends, coworkers)”

      yes! i most definitely acknowledge that i have privilege in being a femme/lipstick lesbian but it certainly doesn’t soften the blow of people giving me incredulous looks and asking if i’m “suuure [i'm] gay” because i “look straight.” excuse me but how does one look straight?

      i’m so glad your partner’s family was accepting and your grandmother as well!

      • sincerelyshayshay April 5th, 2012 8:29 PM

        Haha, this is my whole life; I wish i had an “I’m a lesbian” t-shirt or something.
        One time at a gay bar i actually had someone ask me if I knew it was a gay bar…..yep, pretty sure, and guess who’s gay? This girl.

  • Mags April 3rd, 2012 11:07 PM

    Your dad is a rockstar.

  • Kaleidoscopeeyes April 3rd, 2012 11:26 PM

    The articles on here have some of the most beautiful phrases ever.

  • laurence philomene April 4th, 2012 12:07 AM

    I’ve been excited to read this article ever since you told me you were writing it and it didn’t disappoint at all :)

    when I came out to my mom the first thing she said was that my being gay didn’t come as a surprise at all and then right after that she added “make sure you wash your hands before having sex, I don’t want you to give your partner a yeast infection”
    ~thanks mom

  • Anna April 4th, 2012 1:31 AM

    Thank you so, so much for this article. I came out to my parents a month ago, and like you, my dad was fine with it, but my mom was so very not. I’ve always been incredibly close with my mom and I had no idea she harbored the prejudices that she does, and it’s been really hard for me. It was really a shock and I feel like I’ve ruined one of the most important relationships in my life. But this gave me a lot of hope that we might be okay even if she’s never okay with it. So just…thank you. I’m crying, but I think that’s a good thing, thank you.

  • Ciyam April 4th, 2012 3:01 AM

    This made me laugh: “The thing people don’t really tell you about coming out is that it is a perpetual, never-ending event.“

    This is my coming-out story; my dad caught me with my girlfriend at that time, we were half naked! When I talked to my dad (scared as hell) he said, “As you feel good”*. Nothing has changed in our relationship. he has always been there for me.
    But with mom things are weird, the day I told her I was lesbian she just stayed in silence, silence until today! I came-out to her one-year and a half now! She never wants to talk about it, and I decided not to look for her approval anymore. Besides, she thinks is just a phase and eventually I will get married with a man, because; “she is so girly, can’t be a lesbian”

    Not so sure of the translation, he tried to make me feel good and comfortable. I’m from Mexico so that was in Spanish

  • mimi-memek0 April 4th, 2012 5:14 AM

    I came out to one of my best friends on the 11th of October last year, which at the time I didn’t realise was international coming out day. I had a feeling she might be gay too, and I was right, right after I told her I was queer she told me she was a lesbian and we had this really cool moment where we could talk to someone about girls and queerness for the first time. That was one of my better experiences with coming out.

    Recently I came out to my mum and she wasn’t as bad as yours about it, but she was still a little bit ignorant and said some really insensitive things. I’ve come to realise that it doesn’t matter what she thinks of my queerness, she still loves me and that’s all that really matters.

  • Parks April 4th, 2012 8:18 AM

    This is lovely and it came at just the right time. I always thought that if nothing else I would know myself, but it’s so much harder than I realised to know exactly what it is that you want and even harder to vocalise it.

    I’m going to go and read it again. Thank you for writing this!

  • taliakathleen April 4th, 2012 9:23 AM

    Your dad is the sweetest :)

  • whodatgal April 4th, 2012 1:28 PM

    I wish I had a Dad like yours. You may be the luckiest person in the world. My parents are both half understanding (about life generally), but are constantly watching my every move and trying to make my decisions for me. I feel I can’t have a relaxed life because they are constantly stalking my blog, telling me I’ve spent too long on the computer and “they are the parents” and they have domination and asking me to change things about everything. The point of my blog is so I can let out my feelings about stuff I like, but I hate the fact they are always in my face. This article is amazing by the way. I love ROOKIE. I wish I lived in America. That is all. GOOOO ARABELLE!!!! <3

  • umka April 4th, 2012 2:16 PM

    I did not realize people have problems “coming out” until now that I have a lot of lesbian friends and have heard about the hurtful reactions from their close ones. For me it was never an issue, I have never had to “come out”. For example my mum knew intuitively I dont care about gender when it comes to love and sex. I think she raised me and my sisters to be very open-minded.

    It always surprises me when Im kissing a girl and people start whispering and wondering. “Omg is she bisexual??? Lesbian?” Come on, even I dont know! It is difficult and stupid to have to label yourself. I just like people!

    • Runaway April 7th, 2012 12:04 AM

      LOVE your comment! I’ve only fallen for guys so far, but, even if I happen to be part of ‘the norm’ at this point of my life, I hate labels with all my heart. They just put up barriers between people. Like when someone who has identified as straight for all his/her life suddenly falls in love with someone of their same sex. Then, people don’t consider them as straight anymore, but they can’t say they’re part of the LGBT community either. Or the opposite! It’s like all this debate that has been around Cynthia Nixon ( I can see how her words can do much harm to the LGBT community…However, as far as I know, sexuality can be fluid; it’s not set in stone.

  • violetlilies April 4th, 2012 4:16 PM

    this is such a lovely article. i’ve always stood up for anyone whose not hetrosexual because its horrible to judge someone because of who they love. im not sure what i am, but people have always assumed im gay becuase a) i do ballet and i enjoy it, and b) i stand up for gays.

  • farawayfaerie April 4th, 2012 7:47 PM

    One of the weirdest concepts for me, is how everyone is somehow born straight, and if we realize we are gay, we have to ‘come out’. I don’t really beleive anyone knows their sexual orientation before they’ve explored sexuality in general. It’s silly -__- who gets to tell me I’m straight, until I’ve told them I’m gay?

  • ale April 4th, 2012 9:10 PM

    i keep trying to figure out what to say to this. i’m so incredibly moved and i feel like i’m a little bit tipsy or something, ahah. you’re great, arabelle! so great, and this was beautiful.

    i’m queer. i’ve always known it, everyone around me has always known it, but i officially came out to my mom when i was sixteen (i’m seventeen now, so a little over a year ago) and she immediately reiterated her love and told me she knew, so what, [i'm] still the same person! i have yet to tell my dad (his job causes him to travel the world and i don’t want to tell him over the phone) but it’s pretty obvious he knows and that it has no effected the way he views me. i feel so incredibly lucky in the whole familial aspect of it all.

    it’s a lonely world being a gay girl but knowing that there are others out there, just like me (and especially having my mom by my side) makes things so much easier. it feels my heart with love.

    • ale April 4th, 2012 9:11 PM

      omfg, please ignore all of my grammatical errors!

  • Alexis April 4th, 2012 11:09 PM

    I loved this so much. I’m pretty sure I’m bi, but it’s been such a gradual realization and I have so many queer friends that it’s been a real non-event. Most of my friends know, but not my family – till now! I read this and immediately texted my older brother, who I’m closest to, and told him. I probably won’t tell my parents unless (until?) I have a girlfriend, because I don’t know how they’ll react and I’m mostly attracted to guys, so why bring up something that might not go well if I don’t have to? But if I ever need to tell them, I’m going to come back to this article. Next step – telling my boyfriend… I feel like he should know, haha.

    Thank you, Arabelle. You (and your pops) are great. :)

  • kiwia April 5th, 2012 6:49 PM

    when i reflect on how i view my sexuality i always refer to when i was young (at a time where society couldn’t have really influence my thoughts just yet) where i vividly remember always thinking of women as sexualalot noteven sexually attractive, just sexual.(as odd as it is, i had quite the sex drive at 6 years old wahaha) but as the years when on guys had just become the obvious and only choice. so needless to say, i teeter between the two all the time. but there is always that memory that brings me down, and makes me feel like i was ment to have feelings for women and im just secretly denying them all the time because im too scared of what life would be like as a lesbian. honestly i would love to get some feedback on my memory part! i really do struggle with that. this article was really helpful and oddly enough it kept me lighthearted and optimistic about my own feelings.

  • charlottey April 5th, 2012 7:09 PM

    arabelle, thank you so much for this.
    I’ve felt so weird an uncomfortable during the past months. a lot of my friends are gay and for some time, i identified as bi even though i’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend since i was fifteen, which feels like forever. and i felt like it was kind of inappropriate to say i also liked girls as i never really had a relationship with one. only recently i started to realize that it might not be so important to find a word for what i feel. for now, i’ve decided to just answer “stuff” whenever someone asks me what gender i’m interested in. i just really don’t know. i love my boyfriend so much i feel i’m gonna burst into pieces whenever i see him. i can’t stop kissing girls even though it would hurt him if he knew. there are times when i feel weird about having sex with a men because i’m so attracted to girls and times when i think about penises all the time. and i also like boys in skirts.
    i wish you wouldn’t have to explain to people so often. putting it into words really feels like… hurting it. like taking away what feels so good about all of it.

  • Tara April 6th, 2012 9:20 AM

    arabelle, this article is so beautiful. thank you for writing such an articulate and honest article about dealing with your sexuality-I really feel this can help people accept themselves! I wish everyone could realize that liking any genders is a-okay! your dad sounds like an amazing individual, you are so lucky to have that support. I’m so happy you have it. you are so strong, it makes me inspired.

  • Jamie April 6th, 2012 10:43 AM

    know this + that your dad colors your hair makes me love him so much

  • frankenchick April 6th, 2012 7:11 PM

    This article is beautiful. And also super timely–I came out to my mom as queer last night. It was weird, I think she’s okay with it, but I cried a lot…at any rate, I’m more ready to deal with being out than ever.

    Also, when I first told my sister last summer, she just said “No, you’re not” for months. I was actually crushed. Then her best friend came out as bi in January. That + the time that has passed has done so much for her accepting me–for example, the other day we went hiking on a mountain with her best guyfriend/our neighbor, and I got tired right before we got to the top. When I was just standing there panting with them waiting, she says “Come on! What kind of a dyke are you?”. The fact that she’s come far enough to joke about it with me is more comforting than ever.

    Thanks, Arabelle! Best of luck to all of y’all :~)

  • Runaway April 7th, 2012 12:25 AM

    “You can find friends and talk about things that you can’t really talk to straight people about.”
    One of my best friends came out not long ago, at 23. I sure hope that she will never start to think that way! Things may be easier for me in the sexuality front right now, but I think I’m empathetic enough to understand her. Even if I’m not undergoing the same things she’s going through. And I’m always interested in what’s going on in her life. Just as other straight friends often tell me about their boyfriends, I don’t mind her telling me about her girlfriend!

    PS. Arabelle, you’re so brave and your dad sounds like the sweetest person in the universe.

  • MissKnowItAll April 8th, 2012 9:01 AM

    This is so great! I need to show this to my best friend. She came out a few months ago and her family hasn’t been very kind about it. When she went to tell her parents, I went with her to give her strength but her parents thoought that we were together so now they sort of hate me too.

  • KayKay April 20th, 2012 11:57 AM

    I love this article. Seriously, I’m debating whether or not to print it out and pin to my bedroom wall.
    Downside of that is, my parents would be curious as to why I have an article about coming-out on my wall and I’d have to come out myself, so I guess that’s not really an option at the moment.
    Although I’ve come out as bisexual to my two best friends, I’m not ready yet to come out to my parents, my family or my other friends. I’m just scared people will see me differently or not like me or bully me about it. I’ve told myself I’ll wait until the end of high school to tell my parents, which would be in two years time.
    I was so so grateful that when I came out to my two best friends (it was a silly, rash, impulsive, out-of-the-blue decision that I’d made in a not-so-sober state, but am glad I did it anyways), they told me that they would always be there for me and they liked me for me and it didn’t matter whether I was straight, gay or bi because I’m still the same person.
    Gosh, I love them to death. They’re so great. They don’t even know how much it means to me that they love and accept me for who I am, because there are times I certainly can’t manage to do it.

  • imola May 9th, 2012 4:59 AM

    Arabelle, i know this is (somewhat) off-topic, but could you recommend a few feminist fashion blogs, queer and non-queer? i’m really interested in their perspective. thanks

  • sylvie June 9th, 2012 9:34 AM

    This article made me very teary because I have always been very passionate about this topic… it was beautifully written, thank you.
    It made it seem okay to still be figuring out my sexuality, becuase I don’t seem to be that attracted to girls or boys. I have had little crushes but I’ve never been that serious about anyone. I have never had a boyfriend or girlfriend and this really helped me see that it’s fine, and when I do decide or when I do feel love for someone, whatever gender, however old I am, it will be okay.
    Thank you again! <3

  • Hannnah June 9th, 2012 11:52 AM

    It’s so true what you say about coming out not being a one-off experience. I kept thinking to myself “once my mom knows, that’ll be it, because then I can tell anyone without fearing that she’ll hear it from someone other than me”. But when I told her, it turned out she knew already and THEN I realised that there were still countless other awkward conversations to have about being gay with countless other family members… it’s just annoying because coming out shouldn’t even be a thing, anyway – I was never trying to hide anything, but still I was made to feel that I owe it to the people in my life to “introduce” my love life to them in some official way.

  • Blu June 10th, 2012 1:42 AM

    I really needed to read something like this. Thank you so much :’)

  • HollyMargaret April 16th, 2013 4:23 AM

    Your dad sounds amazing!! Loved this article :-)