"oh my god your life is a slim erotic novel..."
January 29, 2015 1:50 PM   Subscribe

"Realizing you were gay/bi" - Anecdotes shared via Twitter to Mallory Ortberg (The Toast, @mallelis) about realizing the first time that you were gay or bisexual. This is a Storify piece assembled by AKATheReader (@akaTheReader).
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (87 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
 
The day I realized that I was more attracted to Helen Hunt than Paul Reiser. True story.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:52 PM on January 29, 2015 [8 favorites]


(This is the full tweet text of the header, I couldn't fit it all in..)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 1:52 PM on January 29, 2015


aw mine didn't make the storify. i had so much fun reading these last night and talking to the people who were being retweeted onto her timeline.
posted by nadawi at 1:56 PM on January 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I had a friend in 7th grade who would tease me about my crushes on androgynous male celebrities and tell me "one of these days you're going to get a crush on a woman". Sure enough, a girl in my class got a really flattering haircut and 13 year old capricorn was suddenly VERY INTERESTED.

The funny part is that while - being a nerdy, awkward teen in a fairly conservative school environment - I obviously didn't ever tell her, she made some comments to me including calling me sexy and complimenting me on my figure (yeah, I was a miserable 7th grader with a D cup) that made me think, in retrospect, perhaps all of my oh god I liiiiiike her and she will never knooooow I'm so aloooone pining was... a bit unwarranted?
posted by capricorn at 1:59 PM on January 29, 2015 [12 favorites]


I was enjoying reading these last night. Glad someone's put them all together. Impressive amount of pop culture references that would never have occurred to me (aside from all the Gillian Anderson.)
posted by gingerbeer at 1:59 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


one of the things i loved about reading this was how technology has changed some things while the impetus is exactly the same - for instance, there's a guy who got the jc penny's catalog and just looked at all the underwear ads and decided, "yep, guess it's guys!" while a woman many years later searched "girls kissing" on youtube and watched hours of videos when she was like 10 or 11. functionally the same thing, but wow the differences.
posted by nadawi at 2:02 PM on January 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


"that was when i was 16 and basically i was constantly covered in glitter" is a punchline that doesn't even need a setup.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:05 PM on January 29, 2015 [16 favorites]


The day I realized that I was more attracted to Helen Hunt than Paul Reiser. True story.

I've got you beat by like ten years.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:07 PM on January 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


mudpuppie, I was just coming here to post that. The glitter thing, I mean.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:10 PM on January 29, 2015


oh, mine were :

in elementary i put my hand over my crush's book that she was reading and she bit me. hard. i traced her teeth outline for hours

and, my dad probably realized i was queer when he yelled from the computer room, "stop reading stories about lesbians tied up w/ rope!" - and on that day i learned how to clear my history in netscape.
posted by nadawi at 2:13 PM on January 29, 2015 [60 favorites]


Normally I mute a flood like that in my timeline, but those were pretty fun to read.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:17 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Always knew I was attracted to girls but didn't figure out it was gay until my WoW guild realized that *I'm* a girl before I did

I've been one of the online friends in that situation (longtime friend we all assumed was a girl at first, turns out yep, we were right, she just didn't know it yet. Partly because she didn't realize it was an option until, she was, like, 25). It was the least surprising coming-out I've ever seen.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:18 PM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm having a ball reading these. I mean, I don't quite get some of them, since girls are weird. Like, Jadzia Dax? She was badass. But so was Kira Nerys. I'd totally love to meet 'em. But women are strange fruit.

Anyway, in my case, it was fairly straightforward. My high school girlfriend asked me after we got to college if I thought our relationship would be different if we were both one or the other. Didn't have an answer for her. Did notice after we broke up shortly thereafter that all my crushes were on boys.

Started to realize maybe the reason little happened between us wasn't because of my very devout Catholic upbringing.
posted by qcubed at 2:18 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Gillian Anderson Made Everyone Gay
posted by The Whelk at 2:22 PM on January 29, 2015 [42 favorites]


apparently no one else figured out their queerness from taping Kate Moennig's performance in "Young Americans" oh well

Heh, even though my early queerness was all about Ezri Dax, the summer I watched the L Word in grad school and fell head over heels for Shane had a lot to do with my accepting my queerness.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:25 PM on January 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Madonna's Like a Prayer video. Not ashamed.
posted by KathrynT at 2:29 PM on January 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I had a massive crush on my dorm roommate in university, and I spent a lot of time lying on his bed while he studied. One day, I remarked "your sheets smell good" and then he turned around from his textbook and gave me a long hard stare.

oh shit
posted by Conspire at 2:29 PM on January 29, 2015 [20 favorites]


aw mine didn't make the storify

Aw, neither did mine. I literally needed to be smacked in the head--via walking into a door when my OH SO GORGEOUS and OH SO STRAIGHT--high school crush said hi to me in the hall to realize "oh, yeah, this isn't just because it's so much less effort getting naked with other boys. Huh."

(Coda, he was an awesome awesome guy and when I came out to him the only thing he was upset about was that we were friends and friends shouldn't lie to each other. Hell of a guy.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:32 PM on January 29, 2015 [14 favorites]


well grade 7 and 8 in all boy's school helped. but growing up with mormon missionaries. but also grace jones. and gillian anderson. oh, and the double sex scene b/w rocky and brad/janet. also, susan sarandon, which lead me to the hunger, which lead me to belle du jour. plus tilda in orlando, plus the women who helped mom raise me (women named mike and fred), plus seeing pictures of the cockettes in gay history books, plus most of the cast of john waters crybaby, plus realizing that i wanted to sleep with both men and women in the bored suburban cul de sacs of my youth.
posted by PinkMoose at 2:32 PM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh god, I was so obvious but so oblivious. There were so many things. People started joking about me being a lesbian years before I noticed anything. Looking back, though, I'd always felt a bit weird about the way I fell madly love with Taylor Hanson a microsecond after I found out he wasn't actually a girl. I met a girl who looked just like him once. I barely talked to her, I never saw her again, but for weeks after, I felt all these feelings. I still didn't realise, though. I'd have been about 8. Then one day, when I was 12, I filled out some survey on some website and it actually asked me and I just thought about it for the first time and put down 'bisexual'.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 2:33 PM on January 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


Hey, I'm in there! Fun times. I too can claim a deep, abiding teenage love for Gillian Anderson, but I knew I was gay by then.
posted by fiercecupcake at 2:34 PM on January 29, 2015


It's crazy how much a tiny fragment of an image can stick with you. Like, I remember seeing a play with my parents when I was a kid and one of the actors was briefly in his underwear in one scene, and being like "huh, this is interesting for some reason" but not really thinking about it much past that. And then a couple years later, puberty happened and I was like "OK SO I FOUND THE REASON"
posted by en forme de poire at 2:34 PM on January 29, 2015 [20 favorites]


also, from the article: "I was 7 when I first shared a bag of chips with a girl classmate and I realized that I wanted this for the rest of my life", help, my heart has just melted into a small puddle
posted by en forme de poire at 2:36 PM on January 29, 2015 [28 favorites]


I think this is one of the funniest selected for inclusion in that storify piece:
"from my journal: 'i love her like a sister, but more than that, it's complicated' (it wasn't complicated)"
Also, this is sweet:
"I was 7 when I first shared a bag of chips with a girl classmate and I realized that I wanted this for the rest of my life"
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:36 PM on January 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh and Wil Wheaton in spandex on TNG, Danny Pintauro on Who's The Boss, and Jonathan Brandis in everything gave tween me all the strange feels.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:37 PM on January 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


I just rewatched Clueless on Netflix a couple weeks ago and had this blush-inducing moment of "oh...THAT'S what those feelings were."
posted by fast ein Maedchen at 2:37 PM on January 29, 2015


HA I was 5? maybe 6? and had A Moment watching reruns of Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman. I watched every episode with a fierce and disturbing intensity.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:38 PM on January 29, 2015 [9 favorites]


> Oh and Wil Wheaton in spandex on TNG, Danny Pintauro on Who's The Boss, and Jonathan Brandis in everything gave tween me all the strange feels.

...oh my god. Wil Wheaton, too. I never really thought about it until I learned that Asians could be gay, but holy cow.

There is a scene in an episode of Tales from the Crypt, about some fraternity. And Wil Wheaton is in his undies. I remember that very well. The rest of that episode, not so much.
posted by qcubed at 2:38 PM on January 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


(jinx en forme de poire!)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:39 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Count me as oblivious and obvious as well.

I didn't notice until the last presidental race when I started watching clips of Maddow. Which is sort of embarrassing, really. The teasing I got for being a lesbian in school made me resistant to the idea.
posted by Trifling at 2:40 PM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


In high school, I was following around a friend of mine from jazz choir - which should have tipped me off by itself - and we were in the Japanese classroom, which had a square of tatami mats on the floor where a girl he liked (sigh) was doing homework. He bent down at the waist to put his elbows on the mats in a way designed to get her attention, but I got the brunt of it from right behind him. Something in my brain went nnngggggghhhhh. I remember thinking to myself in the next moment well, I can't pretend THAT didn't happen. (Though I did anyway.)
posted by Rinku at 2:41 PM on January 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


I never really thought about it until I learned that Asians could be gay

See that was the WEIRD thing. My uncle is gay, two of my older sister's best friends in-and-just-after high school were gay, I went to a performing arts highschool ffs. 'Queer positive' was absolutely part of my upbringing. It just seemed like something that happened to other people.

And Wil Wheaton is in his undies

Toy Soldiers. Oh, and Ladybugs (that was Brandis). Pretty much the only thing I ever noticed in that movie was him shirtless. I was 13, is my only excuse.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:43 PM on January 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


So, this Toy Soldiers. Worth watching? For nostalgia's sake, obviously.
posted by qcubed at 2:46 PM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I met some trans people and started asking myself if I was really a guy or not (answer: not) and after that it seemed like a good time to start asking myself if I was really just into women (also no)
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:48 PM on January 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


(I love this thread.)
posted by mochapickle at 2:51 PM on January 29, 2015 [9 favorites]


So, I went to a boarding high school, and people were allowed to sunbath on the lawn between my wing of the dorm and the next wing of the dorm (it's a former hospital and the older buildings are shaped funny), and I realized I was just as interested in the chicks in bikinis as I was the guys. "Why am I checking out... oh. Well, okay." I filed that away as interesting, came out as bi the summer after my freshman year in college, and I've been happily interested in anyone with brains since then (though it took a couple years after high school to realize I could do anything about it, which is hysterical to me since, HELLO, I went to a boarding high school and could have done ALL OF THE THINGS about it, living in a women's dorm. 17 year old Joyce was pretty dense.)

(The second amusing thing is that my wife also went to the same high school and didn't realize/fought against the idea that she was into women until college. We'd been friends since high school, in off and on contact, and got married last year at the age of 37. As she likes to put it, she went around the world in the Army and ended up marrying a girl from the county over [we ran a couple track meets against each other before ending up at the boarding school.] Life has a spectacular sense of humor, y'all. :) )
posted by joycehealy at 2:53 PM on January 29, 2015 [14 favorites]


I wish I could point to a Damascus road experience, but I think I always knew I was different to the other boys. I had a crush on Grizzly Adams before I knew what crushes were. And Michael Landon, of Pa Ingalls fame. I was left with a love of nature and strong hairy arms.

I remember leafing through an encyclopaedia aged about 9 or 10, looking for rude things (I had a sheltered upbringing) and coming across the entry for homosexuality. That was when I actually put a name to what I was, but I knew long before that.
posted by Solomon at 3:05 PM on January 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Impressive amount of pop culture references that would never have occurred to me (aside from all the Gillian Anderson.)

My all-encompassing twitterpation (no relation to Twitter, hah) for both her and David Duchovny had me convinced for many many years that I was bi, enough that I was comfortable saying so. But I literally was never attracted to another woman again. It's just Gillian. Still don't know what to make of it.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:18 PM on January 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's just Gillian Jack. Still don't know what to make of it.

Ianto, is that you?
posted by joycehealy at 3:24 PM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wil Wheaton in TNG! Until wandering into this thread, I'd thought I was the only one!
posted by treepour at 3:24 PM on January 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ianto, is that you?

OH MY GOD get out of my head get out of my head. Jack Harkness is the very burning core of my complete and utter adulthood straightness.

This is the best:

What I'm not IN love with Indiana Jones I want to BE Indiana Jones because he's so brave and strong and oh god I'm gay I love him.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:29 PM on January 29, 2015 [9 favorites]


I liked him enough to a) not hate Journey's End, and b) sign up for an account at Suicide Girls to see his column there for a while. As was the case with the few encounters with Playboy I had, I was indeed just in it for the articles.

As far as Jack Harkness. He's so pretty... Him and the 10th Doctor.
posted by qcubed at 3:30 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had this weird upbringing where I was quite butch and my family was super queer-friendly, so they and classmates, etc., basically were like, "little hardcheese, you're probably a lesbian." And I was like all right, that seems like a thing, and also I assumed lesbians had huge giant sexy crushes on gorgeous dudes all the time and then I was like hold up a minute.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:35 PM on January 29, 2015 [17 favorites]


And Michael Landon, of Pa Ingalls fame. I was left with a love of nature and strong hairy arms.

Could never really take Pa Ingalls seriously. He was always losing fights. Mr. Garvey had to come along and kick some ass to help him out.

Hmm. Mr Garvey.

To quote my favourite tweet in the list, "Anyway later I was gay."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:16 PM on January 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


i kept realizing and forcing myself to forget over and over again - getting my arm bit by marie-claire was one of the first, but certainly not the last. there were also the times my friends and i played "house" with a heavy focus on getting our tops off and kissing. never mind that, shove shove shove.

there was the time i was sitting in sacrament meeting and i it suddenly dawned on me that all that stuff they had been saying about the sinful gays applied to women! which meant it applied to girls! no girls kissing girls! which meant me! at first i was so shocked and hurt and embarrassed. that was also the first crack in the mormon shield as it happens...i started thinking, wait - i was very definitely taught that god and satan couldn't hang out in your soul together and that if you did something sinful satan would be there - but, i had felt no guilt until i was told to feel guilty. nevermind, ignore it, shove shove shove.

then came the period where i just tried to figure out why boys were cute - i would grill my boycrazy friends and pretty much take notes, "smile, hands, shoulders, eyes, laugh...these are things 10 year old girls find attractive in boys. good. ok." and then i'd find a crush and obsess about him. i started forming really intense friendships with pretty girls who were super religious - they never kissed boys, but they wanted to and they'd never kiss me, but they'd lay in bed with me and we'd talk. that seemed safe.

then the dreams started...i would be on a date with a boy, then it'd change to a girl, then another boy, then a gender i couldn't pinpoint immediately - we'd be making out and every time i came up for air, another face, another make up of qualities - like a super sexy version of michael jackson's black or white. by this point my aunt had come out and it had destroyed bonds in our extended family, everyone was mad at her. everyone was mean to her. they wouldn't let her girlfriend come over - a woman who was fine for us to stay with up until they came out. shove shove shove. ignore ignore ignore.

and then, i think the very last time i had to be reminded, i had to discover it, was watching mtv while laying by myself in a bed and a madonna video was followed by a tori amos video and 10 minutes later it was foolish to even try to deny it any longer.

now...realizing i liked boys and agender and genderqueer and all the colors in between - that is a whole 'nother long and tortured tale.
posted by nadawi at 4:29 PM on January 29, 2015 [13 favorites]


Nothing was more confusing to me than being 9 years old and sexually attracted to Pee Wee Herman.
posted by item at 5:22 PM on January 29, 2015 [17 favorites]


Sadly, Pee Wee Herman's only one true love is fruit salad.
posted by en forme de poire at 5:30 PM on January 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


now...realizing i liked boys and agender and genderqueer and all the colors in between - that is a whole 'nother long and tortured tale.

For me liking boys was pretty clear but what was confusing was that I consistently liked boys and boys together. Like I realized even at, I dunno, 11, that most people didn't find The Ambiguously Gay Duo to be superduper arousing but it was basically the closest thing to porn for tween me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:48 PM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I liked Donny more than Marie
posted by disclaimer at 5:55 PM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've forgotten how I realised I was gay. :(
posted by Quilford at 6:24 PM on January 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


PhoBWanKenobi ...the summer I watched the L Word in grad school and fell head over heels for Shane had a lot to do with my accepting my queerness.

I remember one specific kiss from a female friend when I was 13. It was completely unexpected. We were outside, sitting on the curb, sharing headphones listening to Nirvana, and she kissed me and I kissed her back. And then we never said anything about it again.

Fast forward 15 years and I'm watching The L Word for the first time and as soon as Shane made her first appearance, I remembered that kiss all over again, and it was the beginning of realization that I'm bisexual. And a lot of things made sense. I was 27 or 28.
posted by persephone's rant at 6:43 PM on January 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don't think I ever realized I was queer, so to speak, but I also can't remember a time when I ever thought of myself as straight. As far as I can remember the adults I grew up with were pretty "whatever you turn out to be is okay" about sexuality instead of treating me as though I were straight most of the time. When I was a teenager I received a few lectures about boys and heterosexual sex delivered with the assumption that I was straight, because I hadn't come out yet per se, but by then I was pretty confident that I was in fact not straight.

The earliest direct comment I remember someone making about my sexuality was in fifth grade when my friend's mom told me, jokingly, that she thought I was going to grow up to be a lesbian and I was like "Probably."
posted by wrabbit at 6:46 PM on January 29, 2015


End of junior high. All the girls were wearing white huarache sandals...and so was Bobby Ramirez, a beautiful, shiny boy who was popular and gorgeous enough to get away with anything. In retrospect, I imagine you probably could have cracked walnuts with his hair. I spent that summer fantasizing about crossdressing in a walk-in closet (another fantasy of mine) with him.

Realizing that all that sex I had had with men meant that I couldn't actually count myself as straight? Closer to age 33.
posted by darksasami at 6:55 PM on January 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm a kinsey 1.5 or so. I grew up in a very hetero-normative midwestern rural-ish land-o-bigots. I identified as straight through high school, since I did have a strong attraction to the opposite gender and queerness wasn't really an obvious option to me. It was not something that dared speak its name in that time and place.

The penny dropped for me when I was a sophomore in college as I read Samuel R. Delany's Dhalgren, getting turned on by some of the homoerotic scenes within. It recontextualized a few high school encounters that had seemed utterly innocent at the time, though.
posted by ursus_comiter at 7:23 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


For me liking boys was pretty clear but what was confusing was that I consistently liked boys and boys together. Like I realized even at, I dunno, 11, that most people didn't find The Ambiguously Gay Duo to be superduper arousing but it was basically the closest thing to porn for tween me.
I was like that too. There was this one particular kissing scene between two boys in Stephen Fry's book, Making History, that I must have read over and over at least a hundred times -- it was so arousing to me. Later on I would read gay slashfic from the Nifty Archive -- nothing graphic, but lots of cute guys falling for each other in school locker rooms and the like.
posted by peacheater at 7:26 PM on January 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I had to reset my pwd to comment.

+1 to Wil Wheaton in TNG, I had forgotten about that. I had warm feelings thinking about hanging out with him. It wasn't until university that I realized people hated Wesley Crusher, I assumed he was everyone's favorite.

A bit later, but also in a way Robert Sean Leonard in Dead Poets Society.
posted by dr. moot at 7:51 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I also can't exactly recall when I realized I was queer, but the first time for sure I was punished for it was after I'd been to the movies to see Victor/Victoria (first run). For the 6th time.

Dammit, still can't decide if I wanted to be Julie Andrews, or just have their wardrobe. Since I'm a pudgy baritone with a closet full of men's formal wear, evidently the drag impulse won.
posted by Dreidl at 7:55 PM on January 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Kevin Arnold AND Winnie Cooper.
posted by Mizu at 7:57 PM on January 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Did it really take my folks until my freshman year of college to figure it out?! In my mind I got in trouble by Jr High.
posted by Dreidl at 7:58 PM on January 29, 2015


There was this one particular kissing scene between two boys in Stephen Fry's book, Making History

AHA I REMEMBER NOW

I think I realised while reading the book Hero by Perry Moore?? And also some minor gay characters in space operas I read? And also I have a distinct memory of flipping open some random book (A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth) to an explicit gay sex scene?? In conclusion, books.
posted by Quilford at 9:09 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I shared my own story and my mom's version before but just recently, for the FanFare spirit of 99 series I confessed to someone The Talented Mr. Ripley was a REALLY IMPORTANT movie for me in high school and I saw it like six times they just turned and said "That explains ....so. much."
posted by The Whelk at 10:34 PM on January 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


There was a point when I realized that nobody else was into Ricky Martin as much as me.
I probably came out like three weeks after that.

(That is the shortened version of a much longer story obviously-- but Ricky Martin hitting the American scene during the World Cup, with "La Copa De La Vida," was the first time in my life that I was unambiguously infatuated with someone of my own gender)
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 10:53 PM on January 29, 2015


I wanted to be Princess Leia and Han Solo because then I would be in a relationship with Princess Leia or Han Solo. (The idea of a threesome had not quite sunk in yet - but I was like 3 at the time.)

Plus, I remember writing in my diary when I was around 11 "I want to be the one who gets flowers and gives flowers."
posted by Katemonkey at 12:56 AM on January 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'd always had inklings, but Martina Navratilova cemented it for me. I was babysitting and Wimbledon was on. Martina came out in tennis shorts. I too one look at those thighs and said "Oh."
posted by likorish at 1:26 AM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


For me liking boys was pretty clear but what was confusing was that I consistently liked boys and boys together.

Oh, Vanyel Ashkevron and your sad, silver eyes! And then the pretty-much-complete works of Mary Renault, my first fictional gay boyfriends. I was certainly reading both Mercedes Lackey and Miss Renault by the age of fifteen (why yes, I was trying to be well cool and edgy by writing my Year Ten book review on The Persian Boy, just as much as the girl who chose something by Jilly Cooper), but remained confused by the whole M/M attraction thing until discovering slash fandom at the age of twenty-two. TBH I would probably have done better in my final year of university if this hadn't happened, but in the long run I am not that bothered.
posted by Lebannen at 2:44 AM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Oh crap, you're bi," she said.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:41 AM on January 30, 2015


These are sweet and hilarious and I love that it's (mostly) positive stories. My own memories of this process some 25 years ago were much more angsty and tortured. I survived it relatively intact, but I'm not sure I have any humorous memories to savor.
posted by Nelson at 4:45 AM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Man. "Realizing you're gay" is such a weird thing in hindsight.

Looking back, there were a thousand warning bells, and I even joked "Yeah, I'm probably gay" fairly frequently, without actually internally considering "Well, yeah. I probably am."

But the thing that did it for me? Watching that scene from Wet Hot American Summer, and realizing "Wow. This is kind of hot."

I had a weird adolescence.

Oh, and in spite of my small hometown's best efforts, I am certainly grateful to have been exposed to tons of queer-positive individuals, literature, and online communities, which certainly made me to be comfortable enough to joke about exploring my sexuality (even though that sort of thing probably wasn't widely socially-acceptable at the time).

I'm so so so fortunate to have realized early on that it made no goddamn sense to hate gay people. Somehow, I absorbed that attitude from an online gaming community (on Usenet of all places!), which looking back, seems like such an implausible circumstance, especially considering what a cesspool gaming communities tend to be... The game and community are long-gone, but a few of them (most notably, Jon Blow) are still active in the industry.

At some point, I should really take the time to write about this properly, because it's pretty amazing how a few random acts of tolerance on the early internet managed to shape my person and my values....

posted by schmod at 5:15 AM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


When I was in seventh grade I had a really big crush on someone in my class which was my first conscious same-sex attraction* but I though "I'm dealing with too much stuff right now, I'm not dealing with this too." My family was pretty liberal but I'd never heard of bisexuality so in ninth grade, when I finally felt like I was in the emotional place to deal with my sexuality, I thought I was a lesbian even though I knew I'd been attracted to guys.

I called my brother's Godmother, who is a lesbian (and went to Catholic high school with my mother) to talk about it, because I didn't know who else I could talk to. She was AMAZING. She told me that it's not always simple, some people are As, and she and her partner are As, they are both absolutely lesbians, and some people are Zs, completely straight, and then there's a whole range in between and you can be anywhere in the alphabet and you don't have to decide and it might even change. It was such a phenomenal conversation and really, REALLY helped me at a time I was struggling. She was so unbelievably supportive and caring at a time that was really difficult for me and I was trying to figure out so many things. I am unbelievably lucky to have her as a member of my family. About a year ago I told her how much her support meant to me and how much it helped me and she started to cry.

It's amazing to me how much things have changed in a short amount of time, and how many more resources I feel like I would have now in the same situation (especially because of the internet), but when I was in seventh grade in 1997 it was really lonely and scary and, being bi, I could fake straight so I just hid and fought against that part of myself for years.

*So I thought; he is in fact a trans* man which when I heard that I was like "OH SHIT MAYBE I AM STRAIGHT" and the guy I was dating, now my husband, was like "This means nothing. You are definitely not straight."

Also, my first unconscious same-sex attraction might have been Jasmine in Aladdin when she's got those chains on her wrists and is wearing that red sheer outfit? I didn't know whether I wanted her or wanted to be her but it brought up a lot of interesting sensations.

posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 5:41 AM on January 30, 2015 [13 favorites]


My bi-ness is so obvious in retrospect that it seems kind of bizarre that I had a period of denial at all. Here was my brother's reaction to my coming out to him:

"Well, duh."
"Wait, you knew?"
"I've known for years."
"How did you know before I did?"
"I don't know, kyrademon, maybe it was the whole making out with both men and women thing you've been doing that whole time."
posted by kyrademon at 6:41 AM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Fifth grade, climbing up the ladder on a playground slide, looking up and there's J**** L***'s butt in snug royal blue Adidas gym shorts. And this would've been around '80 or '81, so that was when gym shorts were actually short, y'know. I maintained a massive crush on him for the next several years.

That was the lightbulb moment, but before that there'd been: Patrick Duffy in "Man From Atlantis." A drawing on the endpapers of my brother's set of Hardy Boys books of the two Hardy brothers tied up in chairs, back to back. And the CBS TV Friday night line up: Dukes of Hazard (John Schneider and Tom Wopat, tight jeans and open shirts)... Dallas with the glimpse of Patrick Duffy (again) shirtless and wet by the swimming pool, every week in the opening credits... and Falcon Crest where dark, hirsute Lorenzo Lamas spent a lot of time in the pool also.
posted by dnash at 8:18 AM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Jasmine in Aladdin when she's got those chains on her wrists and is wearing that red sheer outfit

YEAH I had this smurfs playset that came with a little cage for evil gargamel to imprison captured smurfs and I used to put smurfette inside it all the time and then like, breathe heavily.

i was the creepiest gay baby
posted by poffin boffin at 8:58 AM on January 30, 2015 [22 favorites]


why else would my pet monster have those chains unless i was supposed to put them on under my covers??
posted by nadawi at 9:03 AM on January 30, 2015


I fantasized about hanging out with She-Ra and it always somehow ended in kissing.
posted by rhiannonstone at 9:17 AM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh man She-Ra. She-Ra was definitely quite the formative influence.
posted by KathrynT at 9:43 AM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Plus, I remember writing in my diary when I was around 11 "I want to be the one who gets flowers and gives flowers."

This is heartbreakingly beautiful to me, Katemonkey.

She told me that it's not always simple, some people are As, and she and her partner are As, they are both absolutely lesbians, and some people are Zs, completely straight, and then there's a whole range in between and you can be anywhere in the alphabet and you don't have to decide and it might even change.

I really like the idea of the Kinsey scale having 26 slots as that would have been much more helpful to me. "Not quite a 6, not sure if I'm really a 5" still doesn't feel right.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:45 AM on January 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


As for my own story, I can't really remember what was the first hint was, but JC Penney catalog underwear models and John Schneider definitely speak to me specifically.

In fact, there's was a large amount of great taste among MetaFilter's baby queers.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:48 AM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean, you used to be able to pick out all the queermos at a social event just by shouting lines from Clue.
posted by The Whelk at 10:52 AM on January 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


A DJ I used to know would do that by throwing on a funky breaks remix of Respect. I mean it's basically impossible to tell whether any given candyraver likes boys, girls, or sheep most of the time. But the boys going bonkers to Aretha? OH LOOK SHERLOCK
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:33 AM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


It was a long and confusing journey, but the first thing I can remember is Shannen Doherty in Charmed. And I always kind of just really liked looking at her, she was so pretty and captivating in a way I could never put my finger on, until the day that I could. Oh...

Mind you, that was just the time I realised I liked girls, which was different from when I realised I was queer. But this tweet sums that part up pretty well.
posted by Gordafarin at 11:36 AM on January 30, 2015


sinead o'connor's nothing compares 2 u was pretty pivitol. oh, hey, a girl - with no hair, and combat boots - well, i don't know what all that means and why i can't stop watching it, but lets just file that away until empire records comes out and those memories come flooding back, k?
posted by nadawi at 11:43 AM on January 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


Interestingly, Gillian Anderson also helped to confirm that teenage-me was in fact straight. Is there nothing she can't do?

(Disclaimer: Not intended to be a "wut about the straights" derail. Just trying to be funny. These stories are wonderful and I thank the people in the article and you guys for sharing them.)
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 12:49 PM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I feel lucky to be in the camp of not really remembering because I was young enough to be at the brink of inclusivity-improvement and had such an open upbringing (the first "wedding" I was ever at, when I was probably 10 or so, was technically just the reception because they'd had to fly to Vermont to get legally married); my friends were mostly the sort of girls who claimed to want to grow up to be lesbians and all live in a big house together because THIRD WAVE FEMINISM, which sounded good to me, but they also only really talked about being attracted to male movie stars. So it was probably around 5th grade before I realized that they legitimately were only attracted to boys, which seemed like a weird distinction for them to make. </oblivious bi

In retrospect, the first obvious girl-attraction-feelings I can remember were in reaction Xena, which I watched with my dad. I was probably way too young but it turned out helpful because when I was in public high school surrounded by really homophobic Christian rural "friends" I could spend my free time with the college lesbian group and reminisce about Xena and Buffy.
posted by C. K. Dexter Haven at 1:07 PM on January 30, 2015


But the boys going bonkers to Aretha? OH LOOK SHERLOCK

What's funny is that with the advent of Benedict Cumberbatch, this sentence also works in reverse.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:12 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


then the dreams started...i would be on a date with a boy, then it'd change to a girl, then another boy, then a gender i couldn't pinpoint immediately - we'd be making out and every time i came up for air, another face, another make up of qualities - like a super sexy version of michael jackson's black or white.

Okay, this happened to me too! I had a rather religious upbringing (though my family never really fit in very well, probably because we were cool with a lot of things that religion was not) and so I actually wasn't even aware there were any other sexual orientations out there for a long time. I don't remember any defining moment where I "found out", I sort of figured it out through some sort of cultural osmosis.

Then I got really, really into Anna Paquin, this was around the second X-Men movie came out and so that was a big thing for awhile. I was on some fansite looking at pictures from some magazine photoshoot and I found one that was just.... And then I was really tired I guess and I fell asleep and the dream I had was pretty much exactly that, really sexy "black or white" style morphing. After that there was no denying it.

It's funny because years later she came out and said she was bisexual and my first reaction to that was "HOLY SHIT I ACTUALLY HAD A SHOT?????". I never had a shot.
posted by kassila at 1:52 PM on January 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


the day deep space nine premiered
posted by avocet at 5:12 PM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Victor/Victoria raised my suspicions, but it took until Hedwig and The Angry Inch to realize this wasn't a little quirk, I am thoroughly bi. (pan?)

(To the performer who played Yitzhak in LA in the early 2000's, call me!)
posted by Space Kitty at 7:22 PM on January 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


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