|Posted by Alyssa.fenix on July 8, 2014 at 9:25 AM|
Dear 18-year-old Sarah,
Hi. This is 28-year-old Sarah. I know you're super busy right now moving to Ohio and starting college, but I need to give you a heads up about a few things that may make the next couple of years go much smoother for you. Although you haven't quite put two and two together yet about your sexuality, things are going to start hitting the fan here real soon. So before they do, keep the following in mind:
• No, I don't care what you read in that Cosmo magazine in high school, straight girls DO NOT have crushes on other girls like you have crushes. A straight girl girl-crush is different than a head-over-heels-can't-stop-thinking-about-her crush. Forget that article now; it's just going to continue to confuse you.
•Go to your college’s LGBT group. You go once freshman year, and get discouraged by the lack of cute girls and never go back. FAIL. GO AGAIN. You’re going to need the support and it was not easy realizing after college you need a LGBT group. It’s harder to find support like that in the real world. You know in your gut it would help you to be there… JUST GO AND KEEP GOING. You’ll thank me when you don’t spend years thinking you’re weird.
• There is such a thing as a femme. I know labels are stupid, but at this time in your life your head is full of stereotypes you’re assuming are facts. Let me save you the confusion and tell you now they’re all wrong. You can keep wearing dresses, keep your hair long, and wear high heels. Doing these things does not make you straight, and you don’t have to stop doing these things if you’re gay.
• You can have a family and be a mom if you’re gay. This is important to know now 18-year-old Sarah, but I’m going need you to remind 22-year-old Sarah of this too. Realizing you’re gay does not mean you have to kiss your future goodbye. You CAN get married, have a kid, and have the life you dream of having.
• Today, year 2014 this is, Mom and Dad are fine with having a gay daughter. But you have to remember, it’s a process for them too: be patient and go easy on them.
So I think that’s it in a nutshell, Sarah. Just realize that I’m writing to you now as a happily engaged, out-of-the-closet lesbian. I have that cute apartment you always wanted, and a cute fiancé who lives there too. Enjoy college, and when you start figuring things out, just CALM DOWN. It’s going to be ok!
If I only knew then that the feelings I was having was not just a “girl-crush”. Most confusing phrase ever to a not-yet-figured-it-out lesbian.
If I only knew then the importance of having access to and going to a LGBT group. It would have been life changing to talk to people who have gone through what I was going through and have their support. Geez, the internal turmoil that might have saved!
If I only knew then that what I thought I “knew” about lesbians were stereotypes. I had absolutely no idea that a lesbian could be girly. It took me years, and I mean YEARS to realize that just because I was feminine doesn’t mean I’m straight. I was so sure that lesbians feel uncomfortable in dresses, etc., which meant there was no way I would be gay. Oh man, breaking down that stereotype for myself was a long and confusing experience.
If I only knew then that I could be gay and have a future. Maybe I should merge the last statement together with this one: If I only knew of any lesbian role models. I genuinely had no idea that I could have a family, wear a pretty wedding dress, be successful, have kids and continue to be who I am if I was gay. If I had only KNOWN of any lesbians who were my age and/or 10, 20, 30 years older, I can’t even imagine the impact that would have had on my life. Seeing feminine, successful lesbians with families when I had been 18 or so would have totally changed the following five years of my life.
If I only knew then that things would be ok. My parents, my sister and my life would all be ok. Having reassurance that that process wasn’t going to last forever, and I just needed to be patient and calm down, would have been invaluable!