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Coming Out Stories Gallery - Dave

In retrospect, I have become aware that I was absolutely sure I was gay a long time before I knew what the word meant. My earliest memory on this was from kindergarten; we were cutting pictures out of catlogues for a President's day project. I ended up cutting out pictures of guys in their underwear and wiping saliva on their crotches. At the time, my defense was that I was trying to make it look like they'd wet their pants. It was meant to be a joke; now, it seems like more of a "subtle" clue. Shortly thereafter, I became a lot more conscious of my desires, even if they weren't framed sexually yet. I would only play house if I got to be the mom. I was really quite open at the time about telling my friends that I was going to grow up and marry a man; most of them just thought I was a little weird. Then along came puberty. I can't even begin to describe what happened in my head; all I can say is I'm convinced sometimes that we do more harm to ourselves than anyone else could ever do. By the time I knew what 'gay' meant, I was sure that I wasn't, but all of my budding feelings where towards men. I'd develop elaborate crushes and pass them off as hero worship. It was like I simultaneously knew and refused to accept who I was -- my feelings were never really sublimated or pushed below the surface, but at the same time I never thought of myself as gay. I never really made any effort to cover up what was going on -- I never really dated or talked about girls or anything. Maybe because I was the class clown nobody ever really seemed to notice. In any case, I never really "came out" to myself so much as "thawed out". I remember seeing a booth for the campus g/l/b/t group my freshmen year and wanting to go up and talk to them; that was really the first time I'd ever put the 'G' word to my feelings. It wasn't until the next year that I was finally ready to make the leap from 'out to myself' to 'out'. I began corresponding very candidly with my sexuality professor about gay issues, and she was incredibly supportive. I met a few other gay people, and finally decided I had to tell my friends. I began with my best friend -- we worked at the same place, so I showed up just before he closed one night and dropped off a letter (it literally had, among other great lines, 'I'M GAY!' in about 72 point font). He called me as soon as he got home and has been absolutely incredible ever since ... he's a cartoonist, and he made my character come out as well, and his family made me feel so loved and so accepted that I had the courage to tell my other friends (en masse at a dinner party -- I do have a flair for the dramatic. I told them all I was 'not exactly in the vagina business,' my favorite line from the movie Peter's Friends.) I accidentally came out to my boss, which was pretty funny ... I asked for a night off because I had a date. He asked who with, and I said "some guy you don't know." "Did I say that out loud?" has been one of my favorite lines ever since. He was great, although I got to go through all the worst questions ever (did I want to become a woman? Had I been molested? Did sex hurt?). The best part was a few years later, at his wedding. I brought my then-boyfriend along. My former boss came up to me after the wedding, when I as getting set to leave, and thanked me for coming. Then he told me he was bisexual, and had dated a preoperative transsexual for three years, and it took knowing me to make him come to terms with his own feelings! Wow, did that explain a lot! And then the last step ... my parents. Little coward that I was, I again wrote them a letter and then took off for the day. The only reason I did it (looking back, this was probably a bad idea) was because one of my friends and I had made it a contest to see who could come out to their parents first. My dad was kind of a jerk at first. His big welcoming gesture was telling me he wouldn't kick me out of the house 'yet'. He told me that it was killing my mom. My mom was really very nice once she got over being pissed that I hadn't told her earlier. Of course, she told me it was killing my dad. From there on out, it's been pretty much smooth sailing. Except that it seems I have to come out pretty much every ten minutes. If one more person tells me they would never have guessed, and then expects me to take it like a compliment, I may just explode. I'm starting to wish I wasn't quite so butch, but it seems that affecting a more stereotypical style would be as bad as lying about who I was. And I'm not going to do that anymore...

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