If you’ve been keeping up, you’ve seen both Drew’s and Chris’s coming out stories featured on our blog this month. My story follows Chris’s for a reason — I didn’t come out until he broke the ice first with my mom. Sorry, Chris.
Me being gay was obvious to pretty much everyone growing up, except for me. I was always a tomboy, I fought my mom every morning if she wanted to put me in a dress or a pink outfit, I refused to play with barbies, played every sport imaginable and wore a tie on “dress up days” at school. But, even with all of those clues, I still thought I had to fit into the straight narrative that most of us are taught growing up.
Fast forward to my formative tomboy years leading up to my senior year of high school. Boys didn’t look twice at me (my Thomas Jefferson low ponytail might’ve had something to do with that) but I didn’t mind because I wasn’t interested in them. I went a long time not even thinking about love, romance or sex, those things honestly never even crossed my mind. I lived in a blissfully ignorant bubble where I went to school, played sports, and hung out at my best friend’s house on the weekends…there was no time for dating, especially if I had to date boys. I eventually got to the point where I had accepted my inevitable asexuality and just decided I wasn’t worried about it.
My identical twin, Chris, hadn’t come out but I knew that he had been dating girls since our freshman year of high school. I had initially reacted with disgust (internalized homophobia, much??) but accepted it and didn’t think much of it. Turns out we’re IDENTICAL identical though, because my senior year of high school was when everything changed.
The team manager of our basketball team was a pretty little blonde thing, she was a sophomore and she was beautiful. I didn’t really know what was different about her, or what had changed in my body/mind, but all of a sudden everything clicked. No wonder I wasn’t interested in boys…I was gay, or at least I was gay for her. We dated all through the rest of my senior year and into college. I carried on the charade that my sexuality was heteroflexible with my girlfriend being the exception to my overall “straightness”. Even though I was insistent on this being a “one-time thing” or a phase, my twin ruined all of my plans and came out to our mom (thanks a lot, Chris). I was terrified that my mom would put all of her straight eggs in my basket, so I called her crying and told her about my foray into lady loving. I cried, assured her that I wasn’t totally gay, and said maybe one day I would end up with my prince charming.
That lasted about a week. I went ahead and did the gayest thing possible and joined the women’s rugby team at my school. At our first away game, we headed to Lubbock, TX and had our social at a gay bar. Shocking, I know, but Lubbock does have a gay bar and it was AWESOME. I’d never been to a gay bar (or any bar for that matter) and I had never really ever even drank, but I was surrounded by my teammates and the theme was lumberjack attire, so I joined in on the fun.
Right before we headed out, a girl from my team that I hadn’t really interacted with yet came up to me and said “So, what’s your deal?”
I replied with a confused look and she clarified “You’re gay right?”
I laughed and said “No, I have a girlfriend, but she’s an ~exception~”
She looked back at me and laughed before saying, “Yeah, right. You’re the gayest motherfucker I’ve ever met.”
That girl would go on to be my second girlfriend.
College was a huge growing period for me, I finally learned that I preferred to wear mens clothing over women’s. I (kind of) figured out my hair after a lot of hat-wearing, I kissed a lot of girls, had a couple more girlfriends and got more and more comfortable with myself. My mom held out some hope that I might change my mind one day and end up with a man, partially my fault for slipping in that lie when I “came out” to her, but I never looked back and she eventually came around to be the most supportive mom I could ask for.
All of those years of feeling left out and undesirable were 100% because I didn’t even know that I had another choice. Lesbian representation was scarce in the 90s when I was growing up, but maybe things would have been different if there had been more visibility.
I left the closet behind 9 years ago. I’ve dated a handful of women, and I’m happily living with my girlfriend, Kristen, these days. 5-year-old Courtney would look up to 27-year-old Courtney without a doubt and I continue to be visible and proudly out for those 5-year-olds skating around their driveways in baseball caps who will never get over the thought that boys have cooties.