I lived a relatively strict religious lifestyle during my entire childhood. So, coming out as queer to my family and friends was shocking to a lot of the people around me. I grew up as a 7th Day Adventist because that is the religion that my parents followed. My family and I faithfully attended church every Saturday, which was considered the Sabbath. I also attended a local Private Christian School from 1st grade – 8th grade, where we had weekly chapel/worship. Unfortunately, I struggled with finding happiness within myself all throughout my childhood because I always felt “different.” I loved church and I felt close to God because of how immersed I was in the church. As I continued to grow older I noticed how awkward I felt when dating guys and how hard it was for me to feel any kind of real connection with cis-gendered males. From a young age it was instilled in me that homosexuality was the biggest sin that any person could commit. I was sheltered from outside worldly influences and never knew or associated myself with anybody from the LGBTQ Community. This led me to feeling confused and disgusted with myself when I was young since I was taught that the way I feeling towards women was unnatural.
It wasn’t until the end of my 11th grade year that I started to act on my feelings and began to experiment with girls. I was conflicted with how I felt because I was still very religious at the time, so, I continued to date guys while choosing to keep my true sexual identity a secret. During the summer, before I went off to college, I was in a serious relationship with an older guy who I ended up cheating on and leaving for a girl that was going to the same college as me. Soon after I was outed to my parents by a family friend who happened to notice me being too friendly with a girl that I posted online. I continued to deny this allegation of me being “gay” and decided to block all of my family members and family friends from my social networks. At that point I was eager to go off to college so that I could live freely and start a new life without having to worry about my parents or anyone else from my life judging me.
After I got settled in at college I eventually got a part time job and used that extra money to change out my entire wardrobe (feminine clothing to masculine clothing). I also started to get tattoos, my parents did not support that decision, so I made sure to hide them from my friends and family for a while. After much thought I labeled myself as a “Fem Lesbian” (wears feminine attire and acts feminine) at first. Then, I transitioned to a “Stem Lesbian” (wears feminine and masculine attire, acts feminine and masculine as well). After that during my 2nd year of college I cut my hair and I finally fully transitioned to a “Stud Lesbian” (wears masculine attire and acts masculine) because at that point I decided to stop caring what my family, church, and my friends had to say.
I eventually went home without hiding any part of me and I looked like an entirely different person (Before and After Pictures Attached). I now identify as Queer (an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual or cisgender) which I feel defines me best.
It did take my parents some time to get used to this “new” me but after they got over the initial shock of it all they supported me fully and it has been great. Unfortunately, during my coming out journey I ended up losing cover 95% of my friends that I grew up because of my sexuality and their conflicting religious beliefs. I also have not been to any church/religious event since 2013 because I don’t want to deal with any judgmental individuals that lurk within the religious communities. I hope to eventually find a church that accepts the LGBTQ community, so that I can start to get back involved with a church again.
I am hoping to expose my story to the world in an effort to give others the courage to come out and be themselves regardless of the negative opinions of others around them. I hope that my story lets people know that they are not alone and that there are LGBTQ people with a story similar to their own and that they have people to connect with as well.
Story submitted by Marisa