Monday, 5 June 2017

A Big Queeroversary!


You know what? 2017 is a significant milestone for me -- it marks 30 years since I came out! Yes, in 1987 I was a young 'n tender Baby Dyke, all fresh and dewy-eyed. And now here I am, a mere 3 decades later, a crusty 'n cantankerous Old Dyke who's been around the block more times than I care to remember, thank you very much!


I was 30 years of age when I came out. That seems so old now when I look back, certainly compared to young kids today who come out when they're teens or even younger! However, members of my Baby Boom generation typically came out later, often not until early adulthood or even middle age.

Partly it was because the oppressive silence, erasure and condemnation that surrounded homosexuality in those days made it harder for us to recognize, come to terms with and be comfortable with who we were until we were more mature adults. I first realized my same-sex attraction to women in 1976 when I was 19. It scared me to death.

And partly it was because we were the first generation in history to come out en masse. Even in the 1980s, coming out was still pretty uncharted territory, a scary and hazardous thing to do. You had to be prepared to lose everything in those days. Even if you were super lucky and didn't lose your family, friends, job, career, apartment, physical security (through bashing) or your health (through the new AIDS crisis), you still had to be emotionally prepared in case you did.

But you know what? Coming out was and is always worth it!


Looking back, I can honestly say that coming out was the Best Decision of my Life! There is no substitute for fully and freely living your life as who you truly are. So 30 years later, I am still celebrating!


47 comments:

LL Cool Joe said...

I can imagine that 30 years ago it was a much tougher thing to come out than it is today. 30 years ago being trans didn't even exist!

DEZMOND said...

Woohoo! Congrats on three lesbifriendly decades of life! Were you with your current lady all that time, or were there other lasses in your CV :) Coming out is still something almost nobody does here in my country, unless one lives in a very very urban area or maybe not even then. We have less than five open gay people in the public scene, but we might get our first lesbi prime minister this month, since there is a lesbi minister who seems like she's ready to act as a puppet for our dictator (whom we call Pussylips because that is how his lips look like) so she might get the job.

Kay G. said...

Now I will be giggling all day when I think of that rainbow person reclining on that sofa!
Our friend and neighbor "came out" unexpectedly when a calendar was delivered to this place of work (the library) when it was a rainy day and the kind mailman didn't want to leave it at his home (just down the same street.) All mail was opened and delivered to each department and since it had male nude photos, his co workers were shocked and surprised! So, he was outed quite unexpectedly. He is good now but you can just imagine what this must have been like for him.

Marie Smith said...

Celebrate who you are with pride, Debra. Great post!

Bob Slatten said...

Happy Outage!
And, yeah, it really is better out here!

mshatch said...

I can only imagine how hard it was to come out back then. When I was in high school there was absolutely no one who was gay and admitting it. Maybe in another 30 years we'll finally be at a place where being gay is no big deal.

Mark said...

I know someone who, by the time he came out, had married a woman and fathered a child with her. I'm sure that came as quite a surprise. That kind of thing really isn't heard of these days though. As you said, people are having an easier time coming out now. There's still the occasional late bloomer who might not realise until they're older, but long gone are the days of people living their whole lives in the closet.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

@ Kay G -- Yikes! That is every closeted person's worst nightmare. I'm glad everything worked out for your friend and neighbour but my gawd, there's nothing worse than being outed against your will before you're emotionally ready to handle it.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

@ Dezmond -- My Rare One and I have been together for 14 years so yes, nearly half my lesbi-life! I had a few other girlfriends before her. The only ex I've mentioned here on my blog is Big Bad Butch though.

I hope things get easier for LGBT people in your country, Dezzy. There's still so far to go in much of the world.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

To be who we are - whoever that may be and in whatever form - is the best we can be. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to have to present myself to others who might find me offensive and/or dangerous to their way of thinking - the bravery it would require. To live in an accepting world should be the goal for all of us - the reward for each person. Tolerance would be the best gift we can give ourselves and others. Have a grand week ahead.

Harry Hamid said...

Congrats on the big anniversary!

It's certainly been a momentous 3 decades for LGBT throughout the world. I can remember the half-witted myths and rumors I used to hear (up in my suburban community) about LGBT.

When I talk to young people, I have to believe that the next couple decades is going to really, really change our preconceived notions about sex and gender, maybe even to the point where things get too fluid for the some older LGBT.

I think that's great. I can only hope that our world continues to get better and more free and fair for everyone.

Rain said...

Good for you Debra. I was in high school in the 80's and I remember how awful people still were regarding anyone who even seemed gay. They were alienated, accused to nasty things and assumed they had AIDS and nobody wanted to touch them...even if they weren't gay. It was awful. My first boyfriend back then had really long hair and he was very effeminate, he got mistaken for a girl a lot of the time. People would actually stop their cars to yell "lesbian freaks" at us when we were holding hands together. They were the freaks!

Susan said...

Congratulations on 30 years of being you! My best friend in high school was gay and it was so painful and frustrating to witness all the angst he went through, trying to stifle his true self.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i can't imagine not being able to be who you truly are. i'm so glad you have been able to be out for so long! girls do smell nice! big game tonight....go syd!!!

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

"a crusty 'n cantankerous Old Dyke" 😂🤣😂 I had a good laugh with that one!

Congrats on 30 years! Hopefully one day everyone will be free to just be who they are and love whoever they want without any fear. I have great faith that the next generation will do even better. My own two daughters and all their friends are some of the young people leading the way. It makes me proud.

mistress maddie said...

Well I certainly hope you took the body suit off long enough to wash it dear!!!! I'm glad to know your coming out story. Not much to say on my end. I came out gay...slid out of the womb on glitter wearing marabou!!!!! I knew I was gay early, and was out in high school when 9th grade hit. Unlike many, I was treat not different, thank goodness. So it's nice to encourage others to come out when ready.

Leeanna Henderson said...

Congrats on your 30th anniversary. I was wondering, How does Rainbow Man see anything much less breathe?

Lynn said...

I was the first person my friend Steven came out to - and I've never seen such relief on someone's face when I reacted the way I did. He had been acting oddly and had lost a lot of weight. I insisted he tell me what was going on. When he did (after making me promise I wouldn't tell anyone else), I said, "Oh thank God - I was afraid you were addicted to heroin!" :) We still laugh about that.

Toni said...

Great Day to remind yourself of your own courage. It's always freeing to be able to be genuinely yourself.

I don't see the 'crusty and cantankerous' in you, just the wise, joyful and lovely.

bill lisleman said...

It's good that this subject is discussed more openly today. I'll admit I still wonder if a teen (you were just leaving teenage I guess) knows/understands their sexuality that well. Everyone matures at different rates and I believe girls do mature quicker. Allowing the freedom to be open about it certainly makes life better. I think about tragic suffering infected on Alan Turing. Being prosecuted for your sexuality is like being prosecuted for being alive.

Willym said...

Great post. Thirty years a Dyke - hmm sounds like a book title. LOL

For me, if you don't count lusting after Charles Atlas on the back page of the Superman comics, it's been 50 years since I decided the world should know. I was actively gay when I was 13 - and I mean actively, there really must have been something in the water in my neighbourhood. However between having flings with guys on the football team and in the church basement I also did the girl dating thing - in the early 1960s you could only push things so far. It wasn't until I was 21 that I "came out" and by then I was working for an airline where let's admit it if they had got rid of all the gays it would have been self-service.

It was still not a great time to be gay and out. I lost a promotion and was told in no uncertain terms that it was because I was gay. A year after I moved to Ottawa there was a gigantic witch hunt to "clean up the queers" before the Olympics. I was dating a guy from the Armed Forces and I was investigated - they threatened to go to my employer. I think I may have used that "self-service" line at that point. We were photographed coming in and out of the three or four gay bars in town. Undercover RCMP came to gay parties - and many I'm sure enjoyed themselves while "working". People I knew were outed and lost their jobs, their families, and in many cases their non-gay friends. At least three I know of committed suicide. And even many years later when this sort of thing was suppose to be a thing of the past I was given as a reference on a friends Top Secret clearance. One of the questions I was asked was if my friend was gay; first I told him it was illegal to ask that question; then like Tallulah Bankhead I said - I don't know you'd better ask him but I can tell you he's never sucked my dick.

Would I do it all again - you betcha.

Debi said...

And you have your very own month to party ! So now what is there to fret about? huge hugs 🤗

Janie Junebug said...

I would love to have the perks of being a lesbian, but I don't have the desire in me. Oh, well. I guess I'm stuck with heterosexuality.

Love,
Janie

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Much love to you! We just ended Pride week here - a whirlwind indeed! xoxo

e said...

Coming out is still a big deal. In some places people still lose everything. In the future, nobody will give a rat's fart about the sexual orientation of others... unless they want to get jiggy.

Sylvie D said...

Thank you for your very honest post. I love reading stories like this and enjoy your coming out anniversary!

anne marie in philly said...

I wish everyone could be out and proud without the fear of losing family/friends/job/house/life.

imagine a world where all people could just be themselves and be free.

Frank said...

Can relate to all you said (except lesbian perks). You beat me in 1987 by a couple of months. What a glorious time it was.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

@ Willym -- That's a saga worthy of a TV miniseries! What a great story -- but WHO would portray you in the starring role?

Debra She Who Seeks said...

@ e -- From your lips to the Goddess' ear! Especially those poor LGBTs in Muslim countries.

Adam said...

It's still hard for a lot of folks. But think the progress is coming. Nobody really cares what famous person is gay like they did back in the 90s and early 2000s. Some just like drama but the people who really cared probably wanted to know to laugh and point. Like Barry Manilow, he came out not long ago and everyone was like "...okay" and even older people I knew did not care AT ALL either way.

Willym said...

@Debra - Shirley MacLaine?????

Sparkless said...

Happy Queeroversary! There is nothing better than being your true self.

JACKIESUE said...

personally I think there should be pins for this occasion..like for AA members who go a year get a year chip..so you should get a 30 year pin or chip to celebrate..congratulations..

Anne Johnson said...

The generation that takes on the stigma and defeats it at great cost makes it so much easier for subsequent generations. You did that. Blessed be.

Missy George said...

Happy anniversary! Enjoy those perks!

Magaly Guerrero said...

Every one of our years should be spent becoming more gay.

I am so glad that coming out has gotten easier. And I am thankful for those who found the bravery to do it when saying who one was and "easy" could not even be comfortably placed in the same sentence.

Jono said...

It makes me deliriously happy that people can be themselves and not suffer for it. I know it must have been difficult back then. It was difficult for my brother, but he could never tell our parents. At least I could be there for him and I am glad I was. Life is tough enough without everyone else throwing their two cents worth of judgement on you.
My only personal objection to women being lesbians is that it removed them from the potential dating pool and with someone like me the pool isn't very deep. On the other hand, it takes the pressure off of some great friendships.
Happy 30th!

Guillaume said...

Happy queeroversary! And this straight man totally understands your attraction to women. Okay, lame joke which you must have heard a thousand times.

Insomniac's Attic said...

Happy Anniversary, Debra! Here's to another 30 years of being your authentic self ... cantankerous or not. I think not. ;)

baili said...

Wow!
You are amazingly daring Debra!and I am proud of you for sharing this today .one thing that strikes most through your writing is "freedom "and wish all people can experience the same life with all choices they make for themselves

Onevikinggirl said...

Thanks for being yourself!

Miss Val's Creations said...

Luckily it is so much easier for people to come out of the closet at a younger age today. Although it is still really difficult for many in certain regions. I can't imagine what it may be like to not be yourself in day to day life.

HBF said...

Love love love <3 Ya make me want to visit "Old Dyke's" coffee shoppe or pub! I see some marvelous t-shirts and mugs and glasses evolving from this concept... and cake. Lots of cake. *tangent* Congrats and joy to you :o)

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Debra! This was a poignant post. I can't begin to imagine how difficult it must be to come to the realization that one is gay and then to have to come out to be yourself openly. I've had a nephew on each side of my family grapple with that in the last decade. I remember when I was last going to church regularly. Our minister, paster, priest ~ whatever ~ beat his 17 year old son up after he told his father he was gay. The minister had to leave the church not too long after that. That does not mean that the church was welcoming to gay people, just that they felt for appearances sake they had to let the minister go. It was intolerance and hate toward gay people that largely drove me from the church, that and the push to impose their religious ideas on others through the ballot box. Kudos to you for finding your courage and not forever wandering in the back of a wardrobe looking for Narnia.

Fearsome Beard said...

Cheers to many many more years of circling that block!

Magic Love Crow said...

Congrats Debra!! Happy Anniversary!!! You are so right, there is no substitute for fully and freely living your life as who you truly are! Big Hugs!