In my 28 years of life, I've come out three different times. The first time as a lesbian woman, the second as a straight transgender male and the third as a queer transgender male. This is the first part in a small series where I share my experience before coming out, and how I came out through the years. This is how I've grown to be the person I am today.
This was probably the most awkward stage of them all.
During this time in my life I was really weird and sheltered. When I even started trying to be interested in anyone, men were not the first on my list. I think that's why it took me so long to find anyone that I was interested in. I was looking for the wrong person. I didn't quite know this at the time though.
I grew up a very sheltered pastor's kid. No secular radio, no cell phones, no social media. I could go to the mall with my friends from school, but I wasn't allowed to get a job so I never had any money to go shopping or buy my own clothes. I wasn't able to experience the world.
The idea of dating seemed so foreign.
Growing up my parents were divorced. The environment I was surrounded by wasn't one filled with my parents going on dates or showing affection to one another. It was quite the opposite, actually. My parents divorced when my siblings and I were at a young age and they were relatively civil to one another, but seeing mom and dad watch movies together or go on dates was not something I saw.
I remember when I was about 15 or so, I was at a water park with one of my friends and her family. Her and I decided to walk around and explore the place since I hadn't ever been there before.
Well, here goes nothing.
There was a small area under a cabana with some generic puka shell necklaces and other trinkets. The guy that was working was about 16-17 and immediately took to me. He was talking to me, asking how my day was, if we needed any help, etc. The typical stuff. But as soon as we went to leave he continued to keep talking to us. He asked if I was single, if I was from here and what area I lived in. I had never experienced anything like this. I was so awkward, I didn't know what to say.
In my opinion he certainly wasn't attractive, but I really applauded his courage. So, we eventually exchanged phone numbers and my friend and I walked off. In my mind I thought "Well, here goes nothing". I had no idea what had just happened or even what my next move was. We eventually left the water park and made our way back home. He ended up calling me that night to talk (I feel totally old saying this, because it was when landlines were a thing).
We talked for a little while, but then he began to talk down upon my religious background and about my father (who he'd certainly never met before). He also started saying things that, for the first time talking on the phone and being the age we were, was really inappropriate. So I said the only sensible thing which was "I don't think this is going to work out" and hung up on him.
That was my first "relationship" experience. I don't even think we were dating more than 5-6 hours. Let's see Britney Spears beat that record.
During this time I was trying so hard to be like my sister at the time and all of my other female friends because they were attracted to me, so I just went right along with it and assumed that was the only option. It was at this time in my life that I started to notice that something was different about me, but I had no idea what it was. This went on for the next several years. I attempted to wear make up, straighten my hair, wear more feminine clothes, bigger bras, all of it. I hated every second of it and it. As I got older, I discovered MySpace. This was a whole new world for me, and I started to realize that perhaps identifying as "straight" wasn't my thing.
YOU CAN CALL ME DANISH
Writing about my life and experiences as a white, transgender, queer male.