To be or not to be straight, that is the question

Hannah Smith, Associate Editor

Coming out as gay was hard to do, but coming out as straight was even harder. smith_hannah

After growing up lesbian, it took me until I was nearly 19 years old to realize that I was straight.

I had just broken up with my long-term girlfriend when I moved to Santa Barbara a year ago. A boy came into my work one night and asked me out on a date.

I knew right then that whatever answer came out of my mouth would change my life forever.

Before I answered him, I flashed back on my life and how everything I knew to be “normal” could change in an instant.

I said yes.

After I came home from my first date with this boy, I went into my mom’s room and started crying.

Thinking that the date went horribly, my mother consoled me by saying, “Boys are stupid, honey.”

With tears streaming down my face I explained to her the date went really well and I’m afraid that I wasn’t a lesbian anymore.

Coming out is a difficult process. It happens in stages, like these:

“The denial” came first.

I just spent the last 6 years of my life becoming the most stereotypical lesbian possible, there was no way in hell I could ever be straight. I loved rainbows, cats and flannel shirts. I just couldn’t possibly imagine a life of pink, dogs and dresses.

“The realization,” came next.

Plenty of crying happened during this stage. I didn’t want to let go of the homosexual life I had created, but I knew that it was no longer where I belonged. Does this mean that everything I ever knew was a lie?

“The burning” came after.

Yes, everything was a lie. I must gather all of my lesbian belongings, from my Birkenstocks to my 6 season collection of “The L Word,” and burn them. I never wanted to think about being a lesbian again.

And finally, “the blissful acceptance.”

It took a while, but I finally believed that a person can have a change of heart. It doesn’t mean that I was wrong or mistaken before; it just means that I’m evolving.

I had known I was a lesbian. I was never so sure about anything in my entire life.

I attended every gay pride parade and drag queen show in California.

I quickly became the spokeswoman for the gay youth in my tiny hometown. I made speeches, I started clubs and support groups; I wanted everyone to feel as comfortable with their sexuality as I did.

As a freshman in high school, I even fought, and somehow survived, the Prop 8 debates.

I was out and I was proud.

I never had a boyfriend before I came out as lesbian. I didn’t need to “try” guys, I knew I loved girls.

It’s rare to find a 13-year-old who is so certain about their identity. But I was gay and nothing could ever change that.

That was the case until a blissfully ignorant boy fell for me.

I’ll never know what caused the switch. Maybe it was lucky timing, maybe a change in hormones or maybe it really is “just a phase.”

Regardless, I knew I was lesbian when I was lesbian and I know I’m straight now that I’m straight.

All I can do is stop wondering why all of this happened and embrace my newfound sexuality.