Lesbian/Gay (she/her) // Colorado Springs, CO // Rafting enthusiast. Organizer for Queer Friends Colorado Springs. Foodie.
With the infinite possibilities of gender identity and expression when did you know?
“If I really look back, I knew it pretty much at puberty. That was who I was looking at, I wasn’t looking at guys. But I don’t think I really let myself accept that until a couple of years ago. (I’m 27 now, so I think I was 24).”
On her coming out experience…
“I knew I was gay and interested in girls, before I came out. I think that’s pretty common. Coming out was OK. I had switched jobs, still the same career, but just different locations. And I had decided that with that next job I was just going to be open about it. And I wasn’t gonna…. I was just going to be upfront with it with people. And that really helped to have a whole work family that accepted it, but I still hadn’t come out to anyone in my family. All of my friends pretty much knew, I was pretty open about with them but my family didn’t know yet. Then, it was probably a year later that I went out to dinner with my Mom. And I remember, we were at a Chili’s. We were there one night and all of a sudden, I just felt this overwhelming urge, and I was like, I can’t keep it in anymore. I don’t even remember what we were talking about, and all of a sudden, I was like ‘Mom I’m gay’. And she took a deep breath and was like, ‘Yeah, I kinda figured…’. And I was like ‘Wait, what? What do you mean you figured this? I didn’t even figure this until a year ago, how did you know?’ She said, ‘Well, when I was your age, I was really into finding a husband and having kids and getting married and settling down… and I just don’t see that in you.’ Not that she doesn’t see that I want to settle down. ‘…I just don’t see you wanting to find a husband and stuff’. And I was like ‘Yeah there’s a reason for that…’.
What was your biggest fear/concern with coming out?
“I pretty much knew that my mom and stepdad would accept me, because they had voiced it in the past. So I wasn’t necessarily concerned about that. But I come from… my mom’s side of the family is very conservative. So I was really nervous about not being welcome at family events or just being cut off completely and I don’t know, I felt kind of silly for feeling that way because I know a lot of people have a lot less family than that when they come out, but that fear was definitely there.”
Has your family been supportive/accepting?
“I kind of put it on my mom, I was like ‘Whoever you want to tell you’re welcome to, just don’t tell Grandma’ – Because my grandma was dying at the time, she was 92 and already confused so it was just going to confuse her more to do that. But she told two of my aunts and they both came back accepting. We don’t talk about it, but I’m still invited to things. I only know that one cousin knows for sure, because I guess my aunts decided to let me come out to them. So I only have one cousin that knows right now. I have had some negative interactions with some family members because of it. I have definitely seen some distance put between me and some family members because of my sexuality, but I count myself lucky that I was pretty much accepted.”
What do you feel is your favorite thing about being a part of the LGBTQ+ community?
“…the community. Just the amount of love and everything; friendships and family, the support that I’ve gotten from it and all, the friends that I’ve made. It’s like an extended family.”
“I think for me, because, until I cut my hair, I did come off as really feminine. I don’t know, It’s just different because people will talk about things that may not talk about in front of people that necessarily look like the stereotype of gay. So you have to learn when to bite your tongue, and which battles to pick. But just being judged, I think. It’s silly in this day and age to be as judged as we are. But I feel like it’s a double-edged sword because I have the ability to be chameleon and blend in with heteronormative society when I want to. But then at the same time, when I want to be like ‘No really, I’m gay.’ it’s hard sometimes.”
Advice to younger you, or to anyone who feels they can’t come out, or don’t have a community to be a part of?
“I would tell them to reach out and find the community… because I feel like even when I found our group [Queer Friends Colorado Springs FB group], that helped me so much. Feels like a family… Feels like I’m accepted… Feels like it’s OK to be who I am. So I wish I would have reached out and kind of explored it, and really let myself be who I was… and not just necessarily be who my parents thought I should be.
… a lot of us do know that struggle of not being able to come out, or not being able to come out when you want to. You can still find someone to talk to that knows what you’re going through.”
What in your life are you most proud of?
“I had a foster daughter for a while and that is hands down the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. It was the happiest time of my life and definitely the best thing.”
With the state of the world/nation, if you could change one thing what would it be?
“Our President, just kidding… Well…l I probably would, to be honest. Honestly, I just wish that people would think before they talked, and actually got to know the people that they’re judging before they judge them. Because there are people on both sides that are judging people, maybe unfairly. Maybe if we could all come to an understanding it would be a lot better world.”
Who was your first celebrity/person that made you question your sexuality?
“Definitely a girl I worked with that was the awakening… I was like, “yep”. Celebrity would definitely be Nicole da Silva, because that’s my crush. She’s in Wentworth, which is basically the Australian version of Orange is the New Black.”