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Coming Out Stories Gallery - Deborah

I'm a Sophomore in high school. I have an odd obsession with an even odder teacher. Nothing sexual or even "love" related, I don't give it a second thought. Obsessions work for me and my mind, keeping me and it occupied.

Flash Forward.

I'm a Junior. I have a friend who is the bookiest of book worms. She thinks of nothing but studying and baseball (it is the latter in which we find common ground) and is an outspoken opponent to all forms of love. She tells me she has something shocking to tell me. She announces she has a crush on somebody. I am stunned. Then she tells me that her crush is on a woman. I am not any more stunned, but do assume (no ego there) that the crush might be on me. I seek counsel from another teacher, who has become a friend and mentor. She suggests "Just tell her that's not your thing. Well... I don't know what your thing is..." A little voice inside my head says, "How right you are."

The little voice casually retreats back into the recesses of my mind, the thought forgotten until later.

Flash Backward.

I'm in Junior High and belong to a teen group. I'm not going to detail our favorite activities, my son may read these pages. Suffice it to say I participated willingly and aggressively in most all of them.

Flash Forward.

I'm in my first year at UCLA and visiting Chabbad House. A young, very adorable Rabbi is working on turning casual Jews into observant Jews. He's intriguing. Won't even shake hands with a woman who "does not belong to him." We play a lot of pinball together. I write in my journal, in secret code no less, "Why do I allow myself to love only women?"

I don't recall writing the words, or the surrounding thoughts, but notice the entry a few years later.

I do recall looking for and finding the fledging G/L Center on campus and wandering by its doors. I do not enter.

Flash Backward.

I'm in Elementary School and going to (an all girl) summer camp. My counselor's vacation falls in the middle of our session. I am in tears as she departs, for I will miss her so. Then again, her replacement is also nice, sweet and cute. Counselor One is replaced in my heart by counselor Two.

Flash Forward.

A fellow introduces himself to me at the dorm's cafeteria with, "Pardon me, but what's your bust size?" I'm far enough from insulted that I discover that I seem to be about the "same size" as a woman friend for whom he is making some chainmail armor. I let him use me to fit it and he takes me to see "Equus" on campus (great play). Nothing comes of it.

Flash Forward.

I'm working my first "pay the rent, buy the food" job and meet two women who say they are sisters. Instinctively I know they are not, although I can't and don't put into words what I do think they are. We become friends, and I discover what they are, and am introduced to The Lesbian News as I say in not so many words, "I'm one of you, help!"

Flash Forward.

I'm trying out for Jeopardy and a fellow tells me I have a large (yes, he said that) butt, and he likes that, while asking for my phone number. I provide it. He calls. We date. My friends are thrilled. My folks are thrilled. I say to myself, "Hmmm, I can play this game. How interesting."

A bit later.

First day of Spanish class at CSUN. We're introducing ourselves and while a bit old to be "proud" of the fact I announce, in spanish, that I have a boyfriend.

A bit later.

I realize I'd much rather be spending time with my friends and family and stop seeing Mr. Jeopardy.

A bit later.

I become very good friends with a woman in my Spanish class. We meet early on campus so that we can eat breakfast together, and spend all our time after classes with each other. We talk on the phone for hours into the night, and that's only on those nights when we're not spending the night together. Sleeping in the same bed. For convenience and comfort only.

A bit later.

I write a lengthy letter to my classmate. Including theoretical mentions of desert islands, and prefering to be castaway with a woman rather than a man - and retract my introductory spanish comments.

She is under the mistaken belief that I am in love with her. Mistaken only because I did not realize it myself until she expresses the thought.

A bit later.

I drive to the apartment of a friend from high school, and tell her what's going on. She's cool. I'm cool. The world is cool.

A bit later.

I discover that CSUN has a Women's Center. No fool I, I'm sure that's where the lesbians must hang out. I wasn't far from wrong (the Center was in one of its "Please don't hug in the window" moods; they didn't want to "scare" visitors off). They have a lesbian rap group. I make note of the day and time and attend the next meeting.

I am irretrievably out, to myself, and, slowly but surely, the world.

The little voice is little no longer.

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Drop a note to Deborah at gaylesissues@rslevinson.com

copyright 1986-2010 Deborah Levinson