Sunday, April 24, 2011

Coming out

Everyone has their own coming out stories. For some of my friends, it was simply not to deny that they were lesbians. For others, it was what I called the weekend lesbian warriors, which consisted of going to a gay/lesbian club on Friday and Saturday nights.

For me, however, coming out meant screaming it from the rooftops and I didn’t have a rooftop high enough or a voice loud enough so I did the next best thing. I came out on the front page of the Miami Herald, October 16th, 1983 (hey, no comments about the year) Sunday edition. This is the picture the news reporter used, which is also my favorite photo.


Can you imagine the exhilaration I felt? Everyone, everywhere would know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had accepted who I was. I bought dozens of newspapers, not including the free copies the Miami Herald gave me, and distributed them everywhere I went. Yup, that was me, parading around like a proud rooster on that warm, sunny day.

My all-to-full-of-myself-attitude lasted for about as long as it took for my distraught family to call me, insisting that the newspaper had made a mistake. It never occurred to me that my Cuban family would ever see the American newspaper and the last thing I wanted to do was to hurt my grandmother.

There I was on the phone explaining that the news reporter was right. That I was in fact, a lesbian, and that now, everyone knew it. It broke my heart that my grandma found out that way. I was so caught up in doing the right thing by my community that I neglected to think about the right thing for myself.

Do I regret coming out the way I did? Yes and no. Yes because I wanted to be and should have been the one to personally tell my grandma. She shouldn’t have found out from her neighbor. And no because it was something that I needed to do to start claiming my own individuality.

Fear not, my grandma loves me very much, and excluding my parents of course, the rest of my family is extremely accepting, especially since I have a wifey they all love. Shit, now they call to speak to her, instead of me. Go figure. LOL

My lesson? Think through the consequences of my actions – a lesson that has stuck with me for the last 28 years.

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