Identify Yourself - Proud To Be Gay

by GEM Magazine / May 15, 2015 / Comments

Coming out was the easy part; “Well, maybe you’re just bi,” and “Maybe it’s just a phase,” were some of the initial reactions. But I knew with every part of me that those responses were wrong, and they solidified within me what I’d already come to realize. I am a lesbian.

I knew once I expressed this realization to the people in my life with complete confidence, their only choice would be to accept it. The reactions were varied but the end result was always the same. I received nothing but support from my family and friends. I did not fear the reaction of these people and I am blessed to be surrounded by those who just want me to be happy.

'Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter" Dr Seuss

The hard part was figuring it out. So hard, in fact, that it took me thirty years. And to think that I believed I knew who I was all that time only to be proved wrong? Unsettling is an understatement.

In my time on this planet I have come to be extremely confident and self-assured in who I am, so to look back at all the ways that I ignored or justified the signs baffled me.

My lifelong crush on The Little Mermaid? Everyone has a favourite Disney Princess. That Trish Stratus poster I bought in high school and kept on my wall for years? Motivation to go to the gym. All the Maxim magazines, in particular the ones with Jaime Pressly and Elisha Cuthbert on the cover? All girls have an appreciation for the female body, right? I even remember asking a good girlfriend of mine why I liked making out with girls so much. She said it was because as women we know how we like to be kissed, and I just accepted it.

I couldn’t understand how I could have been in such denial when I have never seen anything wrong with same-sex relationships. Why was I convinced I was straight for so long?

Maybe one day the answer will come to me. For now I have chosen to focus on the fact that I have accepted it, and what a blessing that has been. It took being asked out by a woman for the first time in my life to make me realize that I could (and did) develop feelings for a woman.

Unfortunately, it ended after only a short time and left me feeling completely lost. I was devastated; however, in hindsight I was more upset at having had my sexual exploration (if you will) cut short. I was left wondering if it was just her, or all women? But of course, it was not her responsibility to help me figure this out. And before long I knew that this journey would be far more fulfilling and exciting if I went on my own.

The best part of all of this has been finally understanding what was wrong for so long. My lack of interest in men was starting to really worry me. Being in promotions, I meet tons of amazing people on a weekly basis and many who are “on paper” ideal mates. But either I had zero interest beyond friendship, or I just never seemed to care when it didn’t work out the rare times I did try dating. For the most part, I managed to keep these guys as friends and that suited me just fine. To be honest, I wanted to be “one of the boys” more often than I wanted to date one.

The other reason this has been such an amazing experience is how my eyes have been opened to the struggle that so many people in the LGBTQ community go through. I was already so lucky that my two best friends are gay and bisexual, so they were an amazing support system for me when I started to make my realization. Since coming out I’ve met so many awesome people within the community, who have played a huge part in helping me figure out my own identity. To all of these people I am extremely grateful.

Right now I am in a place where I still feel I have much to experience and much to learn, and I want to surround myself by as many strong, inspirational people as I can.

I wanted to share my story as I've had some younger women in my life ask me, “How did you know?” And if my own experiences can help in any way, I’ll consider that a blessing.

By Eva Patenaude

Eva is a proud 31-year-old lesbian who balances building a career in promotions with a busy social life and keeping active. She works with electronics by day, is Promotions Manager at Velvet Exotic Nightclub by night, and is very excited to start working with the Victoria Pride Society. She believes that life is better when you are kind and thoughtful to others.

Photo credit to pbj/foto

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