I was 17 when I first acknowledged my attraction to females. I began identifying as bi-curious; eventually calling myself bisexual until I finally came out a lesbian when I was 19.
After the revelation, I spent several days in bed. Coming out is like going through a second puberty — there are a lot of feelings and a sudden understanding of hormones. Then, I launched my career as a lady lover with a vengeance.
When I started to tell my friends, no one believed me. When I told my mother, she told me it was a phase. For at least four years, people doubted my sexuality. I went to great lengths to prove my gay and even went as far as cutting all my hair off.
I was gay and I was proud.
The first time I fell in love — like really in love, I was 25. Love songs had meaning, every moment with this girl felt like a scene directly out of a cheesy romantic comedy and I finally experienced clichés like earth-shattering kisses and what it felt like to have my heart soar.
But she was straight — and had a boyfriend when I found her. We got over that molehill pretty quickly as she left him two weeks into hanging out with me. We became secret girlfriends shortly after that.
There was a lot of sneaking around and playing “friends” in public — under the table hand-holding and bathroom kisses. The presents I gave her were from “Kelly” and sometimes she’d tell people she was hanging out with “Kayla” — but sometimes I’d be her platonic friend Chloe. I never forced her to pick an identity and never demanded she tell anyone about who I was to her. She told me she loved me and only me, so I accepted that.
For her, I went back in the closet.
The first and only time I met her mother, I wrapped an infinity scarf around my neck twice to hide the artwork her daughter had left on my neck the night before. I joined the gym so we’d have more time together and she picked up a volunteer gig around the corner from me so she could sneak over before and after.
It was really hard for me — but I justified her choice to keep this part of her life private because I loved her and would have done anything to keep her. I was hers and she was mine, we told each other — so why should it have mattered the people in her world knew?
It did matter. Because putting yourself in a situation like that will do nothing but erode your ego and play on any kind of insecurity. Eventually, trust became an issue. I began questioning why I was being kept a secret.
She used to tell me she wasn’t gay — but she was gay for me.
I wanted so badly to believe her. But her lack of honesty to all those people close to her made me really question my significance in her life. See, I knew what it was like to come out and I simply couldn’t wrap my head around why she was struggling so hard — especially since she had someone to help her through it.
My friends all offered to help the situation. “Tell her she can talk to me,” said Kippen. Being put back in the closet wasn’t just difficult for me; it was frustrating for all the people around me. No one wants to see a close friend or a family member so sad.
If you asked her, she’d tell you she was dealing with identity issues. She probably could have handled things differently — and in retrospect, I should have made better decisions too.
Moving forward, I can only share this experience with others and advise gays to never let someone put you back in the closet. If they’re not willing to be out and proud of you, despite the amount of love they may say they have for you, it’s not worth it.