Everyone… I’m freaking out. I’m terrified, things are changing and I’m swept up in a huge transition. I wanted to make this blog strictly about putting a face to the LGBTQA community, to interview others and to get closer to those I didn’t know.
What I wasn’t exactly anticipating was the questions I’d get in return…or the challenges to identify…to come out. Since my time at Duke, I haven’t put a name to my orientation. I hide safe behind my Ally card while urging others to come out to their parents, their friends, and their professors. I’ve spent a lot of time in heterosexual relationships so I don’t have to deal with questions or confrontation, prejudice or hate.
But then I met Ashe. And everything changed.
If you don’t know Ashe, you NEED to. I’m not gonna tell her story because I haven’t asked her yet. Although I don’t think she’d mind, I’m big on asking permission. So I’ll save that for another time, and just tell my side. She helped me see a ton of the inconsistencies in what I believed in: to push others to tell their parents about their sexuality while I was able to happily avoid mine. I know some people shouldn’t be pushed, some people aren’t ready to be pushed, and some people don’t respond to aggressive pushing, so it’s definitely not something that I would recommend for everyone. But it worked for me.
So on Tuesday night, I came out to my dad.
I still don’t identify with one label because I have this issue with thinking that I’m appropriating a community that isn’t entirely mine yet (Let’s work on that). I know it’ll be a process. I think the term Bisexual gets a lot of grief (which NEEDS to be talked about), and I like the term Queer a lot. Maybe if I let it marinate a little bit I might be able to use that. But I’m not there yet.
I don’t mean to commandeer this blog entry and tell the details of my coming out story because I’ve finally had to really empathize with how intimate and difficult it really is. My conversation with my dad went a lot worse than I expected…but it wasn’t horrible. It ended with a hug and an “I love you” from him, so I’m counting myself incredibly fortunate and hoping that time will help it be less difficult.
It’s hard to put this online. As I’m typing this, I’m doubting my decision to put it online….because I’m scared. But if I dare to collect stories and give peoples names and photos and personal information, then I want to be on the front lines. We need to stand in solidarity and talk about safe sex, and sexual abuse, and relationships, and transgender issues, and adoption, and so many other things.
My name is Summer Puente and I want to stand next to you, not just behind you.