National Coming Out Day: “My Teen Years Were the Most Challenging.”

  |  Topic: LGBTQ, My Story, Personal
By Antoinette Jones in Partnership with Georgia Equality
National Coming Out Day

I always thought it would be easy to come out to my mom because of how accepting she was to other family and friends coming out as LGBT. I think parents go by the motto, “As long as it is not my child.” The reaction I received from her made me think she was a whole different woman. She was someone who has been to New York’s PRIDE multiple times in support of her gay peers. I assumed, telling her I was a “lesbian” at the time would be easy.

I couldn’t tell if she was reacting this way because she genuinely didn’t want me to like girls or because she just married a man who was extremely Christian. For years, my mother hated the girl I dated and like most parents, she assumed that my girlfriend “turned me gay.”

My teen years were the most challenging. As I got older, I found myself more attracted to guys. I would confide in my mom about the guys I started to date because it seemed like it made her happier. It even made her happy to hear me say I am bisexual rather than lesbian. She was old school and still believed that lesbians couldn’t have children together. I felt like me talking to her about the guys would give her “hope.”

In high school all I knew was LGBT and I like everyone else, I was forced to pick one. I begin to tell my peers I don’t label myself because I didn’t know where I belonged. “Q” was added to LGBT during my last year of high school and at the time it was called “Questioning.” I wasn’t “questioning” because I knew what I liked. It wasn’t just men and women, I was attracted to everyone.

Browsing through Facebook I saw a pride post saying “Q” can stand for “questioning” or “queer.” I quickly researched what “queer” was and it was defined as a self-affirming umbrella for all. It was a term that fit me! “Queer” meant regardless of who I was attracted to I didn’t have to fit into a box. When my mom asked me, “You are dating a guy so does that mean you are straight again?” I had to come out for the second time, this time as “queer” and break down how I am attracted to whoever I want. For some reason, she was more accepting the second time around.

Antoinette Jones, 23 Atlanta Metropolitan State College
This story is published in partnership with Georgia Equality to celebrate National Coming Out Day.
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