FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: I Came Out in a Minivan on the Way to New York, How About You?

In this week’s Supergirl, Nia came out to Kara as trans in the car at the beginning of a road trip, and it made me think of my decision to come out to my parents while we were in my mom’s minivan going 70 mph on the highway, about two hours into a four-hour ride from Boston to New York. It retrospect, not my brightest plan.

Remembering this lead me to thinking about all the other places I’ve come out. Because as you all know, despite the way we often pick one of the times we came out as the date we “came out” officially, as queer and/or trans people, we’re coming out all the time. Movies and TV usually depicts all the planned or serious or dramatic ways we come out, the upsetting outings or the heartfelt acceptances. And while those types of scenes are usually true to life for some people, sometimes when we come out, especially after that first time…it’s kind of hilarious.

waverly gay

For example, once after spending the day playing field day games in a park in the mud, my friends and I all went to the closest bar that didn’t mind that we were filthy and took over the jukebox. At one point I took a break from dancing and sat with my friend who was also gay and we talked about coming out to our parents, because it was pretty fresh for both of us at the time. When I got back on the dance floor, my friend Jess asked me what we had been talking about and I said, “Oh we were bonding about coming out.” And she said, “Well bonding usually means you have something in common.” I looked at her, confused. “Yes. We are both gay, therefore, we bonded.” She stopped dancing. Her eyebrows furrowed. “No, you’re not gay, you’re dating Dennis.” Laughter ensued, because I am most certainly gay, and I was most certainly not dating Dennis. It was one of the first times I came out without having decided first (mostly because I genuinely thought she already knew…most of our conversations up to that point had been about Pretty Little Liars) and it was pretty hilarious.

There was also the time I was at a work retreat on a YMCA campground drinking contraband liquor in a cabin and the girls I was standing with were talking about whether or not they wanted to get married in a church. I made some joke about how probably I wasn’t gonna do that since I’m a lesbian, and just then, the song that was playing ended, and in the moment of silence before the next one began, one girl turned to me and said, quite loudly, “You’re a lesbian?!” And everyone laughed and was chill about it, the timing amusing us all. One girl even came FLYING out of the cabin’s bedroom with a towel in her hair, fresh from the shower, yelling, “WHO’S A LESBIAN?”

So a dive bar covered in mud while Journey played on the jukebox and a cabin on a lake with coworkers are two of my most random places I’ve ever come out. I want to hear your stories!

Tell me about the silly, funny, did-that-just-happen coming out stories we don’t see enough of on TV. Times people found out in a random and hilarious way, not in a cruel or non-consensual way. Did you get your memory wiped then tell your best friend, “I think I’m kinda gay?” Did you find yourself in a burning barn in an alternate universe and call your fiance and say, “I think I’m gay, call you later!”? Did you get so excited that the person you were into was also queer that you blurted, “Gay! Me gay!”?

Spill!


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Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 250 articles for us.

146 Comments

  1. I was closeted in High School and told only a few of my High School friends afterwards. Until we had a class reunion.

    Not even 5 minutes in, everyone is chatting loudly so my best friend leans in and askes ‘so who here doesn’t know?’. Coincidentally the table had just gone silent and my friend was the only one speaking so everyone looked at us curiously and goes ‘uuh what don’t we know?’.

    I made them guess, they all thought I was pregnant… ha ha ha

  2. I’m super late to this but I wasn’t sure I wanted to share since my story was traumatic. I didn’t realize I was gay until I was 25. Up until then I thought I was asexual. I first came out to a woman I had fallen helplessly for (and I thought she felt the same) but she rejected and I was devastated. Not just because she rejected me but also because part of me hoped that if she felt the same it would legitimize my gayness and I’d have something to hold on to when and if I had to come out to my religious family. Being so wrong about her made me question being gay and my existence so much that I fell into a deep depression.

    My dad is a southern baptist minister but we were still close despite me inching slowly away from religion. When I would talk to my parents or visit, they expressed their worry and I could see they hurt for me especially after I started drastically losing weight. I’d gone back home to help my parents clean out my room because they were moving into a retirement community. I was down 40+ lbs and rail thin. When I got tired from lifting just a few things, my mom started sobbing and my parents begged me to tell them what they could do to help me.

    I was the golden child. I’d never been in any trouble or let them down in any way. I knew me being gay would shatter all of that. They both told me they feared I would die of the pain they saw sitting on my soul if I didn’t reconcile it and said they could feel me wasting away. I felt it too. They capped it off by saying that they loved me and only wanted what was best for me. I began crying just feeling the love they had for me but also out of fear and hope. Hope that maybe being gay wouldn’t stop that love from pouring out and maybe just maybe I would have something to hold on to. I took the risk that everything that I’d been indoctrinated with by my father and his church would be cast aside because they loved me and I spoke the words out loud. In a matter of nanoseconds my mother’s tear soaked face changed from hurt and anguish to something close to disgust.

    Annndddd that’s all I’m willing to share. It’s still so fresh 7 years later.

  3. Well I don’t know if my story is really funny or not, but it was definitely unexpected and emotional.
    When I came out to my dad, he actually came out to me as well! It wasn’t too much of a surprise to hear the news, but I definitely didn’t expect it to happen when I was coming out to him. We went out for ice cream afterwards and bonded about our new common ground (I was 26 years old at the time). :)

  4. I hate that I got so triggered by the title of the article that I didn’t even read the article to know that the stories were supposed to be silly or awkward. My bad.

    Here’s one of many

    My bff was deployed in the middle east most of my coming out period and we didn’t talk much at all. Plus I felt coming out to him when he was literally at war was kind of insensitive. He’d been back for a few weeks and we were hanging out by the pool at his apartment when I blurted it out.

    Him: Yeah I suspected.
    Me: How?
    Him: It’s the way you walk.
    Me: What does how I walk have to do with anything?
    Him: You walk like my ex who’s gay now
    Me: What?
    Him: You remember my ex [name], right?
    Me: Yeah (knew of her but we never met)
    Him: She’s gay and you walk just like her.
    Me: That doesn’t make any sense.
    Him: You walk the same and you’re both gay. Makes sense to me. I think I still have her number if you want it (takes out his phone). We only ever did over the clothes stuff so it won’t be weird if you hook up. Or maybe it will. I dunno. I wouldn’t be weirded out so you shouldn’t be.
    My phone dings. He texted me her number along with a photo (she’s really cute).
    Him: She’s a good girl. You should go for it.
    Me: Because we walk the same?
    Him: No because you’re both gay as fuck, she’s hot, you ain’t half bad and I’m trying to be all about happy shit now.

    Then he changed the subject to how he was certain that at least 20 people in that pool every day.

  5. Because I am apparently a living lesbian stereotype, the first time I ever came out to anyone was to my best friend over the phone after attending an Indigo Girls concert solo. Once J stopped laughing and could breathe again (and got their then-girlfriend to stop cackling and teasing me in the background) they were awesome and very much, “I’ve known, but didn’t want to stress you out. I love you!”

    The second time I came out it was to a friend and former college roommate. We’d had a serious falling out a couple of years earlier that I thought kind of centered on her “gays are going to hell” boyfriend-of-the-time (it did, but not in the way I thought) and I was incredibly nervous that telling her was going to undermine our still-recovering friendship. I can still vividly remember sitting at the top of the stairwell of the geography building and trying very hard to believe that this wasn’t about to completely derail our friendship again. It definitely didn’t as my friend immediately announced, “I’m going to hug you right now!” and told me that, yeah, she’d kinda known but was really honored that I’d trusted her enough to tell her given all the bs that had happened before. I can happily report that our friendship is way better off now than it ever was then (undergrad was a mess, ya’ll).

    When my dad died I hadn’t actually come out to my parents or anyone in my family, and actually didn’t get the chance to come out to my mom because she beat me to the punch. I was greeted the morning after arriving back home for dad’s funeral with, “Just because you’re a lesbian doesn’t mean you can wear an ugly shirt to your dad’s funeral.” (I was barely awake and did NOT react well to any part of that statement.) I still maintain the shirt I intended to wear is great, thank you, and that plaid is perfectly acceptable at most occasions.

  6. Valerie this is such a good open thread! I LOVE reading everyone’s stories — it’s so fun to remember that not every coming out needs to be stressful or traumatic (though it’s definitely fine if they are) but sometimes it’s just silly or goofy or NBD!

    I used to feel the need to out myself all the time because I’m femme and people often read me as straight and it would bother me. So my funny coming out stories are like, all the times I worked it into conversation very unnecessarily — like buying a book at the bookstore, “THANKS SO MUCH THIS IS A GIFT FOR MY GIRLFRIEND SHE IS A GIRL!!!!!” or to my next door neighbor “HI GOOD TO SEE YOU SORRY I’M IN A RUSH HEADING OUT TO MY GIRLFRIEND’S HOUSE, I’M GAY!!!!” etc etc etc.

    Now I don’t even preface it, I just tell new people I’m a dyke within the first few minutes of conversation. It’s my favorite thing about myself, why not front load all future interactions with it?? 🌈🌈🌈

  7. For the most part my coming-outs haven’t been that interesting, but this was one of my favourites, on the phone to a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while:

    Me: So… I have a girlfriend.
    Her: Omg!! Really?!
    Me: Yep
    Her: …I want a girlfriend!

  8. I had come out to my parents as a trans woman a year earlier so I knew coming out as bi would be whatever in comparison. So, instead of having a big huge speech prepared or waiting for the perfect time or anything like that, I waited till a commercial break during Jeopardy.

    Me: mom, dad, I’m bisexual.
    Dad: what does that mean?
    (I give brief explanation)
    Mom: does this mean you’re not trans anymore?
    Me: sorry to disappoint, I’m still trans. They’re not mutually exclusive.

  9. Last week at the doctor:

    Dr: Have you ever been pregnant?

    Me: God no!

    Dr: Do you use birth control?

    Me: Yes.

    Dr: What kind of birth control do you use?

    Me: I fuck women.

    Dr: Obviously, it’s been effective.

    Me: And rewarding, very rewarding.

  10. I never really ‘came out’. I’m also convinced my mom at least had to know or have some idea. The summer of my junior year of college my gf got into a bad car accident and broke her collarbone. Which led to me spending basically every day at her house (we both still lived at home and none of our family knew we were dating).

    My mom couldn’t understand why I wanted to spend every day at her house or why I was so upset and then in the hopes that I would open up to them they threatened to send me to Florida to stay with my grandma the rest of the summer (I unfortunately lost her the following February) and while I was arguing with them about not going I wrote on a piece of paper that we were dating and gave it to my parents — I’m a little emotionally stunted.

    And that was kind of it. Some arguments after the fact and them having to realize that things would be different than they thought but they’ve always been accepting of me and my gf. Going on 9 years now and my nephew calls her aunt

    As for anybody else important in my life, after my gf’s parents found out and stopped her from seeing me it was more or less blurted out in the midst of tears to little fanfare. I’ve been lucky that nobody in my life has ever made it an issue, including my ultra Catholic grandpa

  11. Ooh that’s tough. I think the best was in a student film i created in eighth grade that got shown to the entire school, and then was shown at a student film festival in my city that a relatively famous museum out on for the first time. (It is a relatively well known museum, especially for international tourists so i won’t name it in case they still have it) I was already out to my school simce seventh grade, and my parents so when they were like “hey how do you feel about submitting your film” I was like “yeah fine whatever”. But there were maybe fifty people in that auditorium who were mostly other students and there parents and i had to go up with my partner and make a speech and aaaaaa. Then the part in the film came where i said i was gay and i was embarrassed because it was such a bad piece of filmmaking in hindsight. The lighting the voiceover just ugh. But my dad started crying and my mom started hugging me so that made my artistic mortification a lot better. Some parents in that audience where sure surprised though.

  12. Oh wow. Well, there was the time I was hella drunk in Venice in the middle of the night and came out to my best friend by telling her I was in love with her. (I do not recommend.)

    Then there was telling Mum, to get an “I always thought it would be hip to have a lesbian daughter.” Cool cool cool, well, would have been nice to know that being queer was even an option before I hit my teens but yeah. I told Dad late one night and all he said was “I know.” Cue me bursting into tears.

    My sister was via email, she, having harassed me for a couple of years to give her a nibling, replied with “oh, so no nieces or nephews for me :sadface:” to which I then had to explain what my turkey baster response meant.

    Then there was the time I was telling Mum that I was stressing as I didn’t know if I needed to or should come out to my grandmother. Ol Mum drops the bomb the next time she speaks to her, doesn’t she; “Oh, did you know [I’m] gay?” Thanks, Mum. Luckily the answer was yes, but still.

    Twice I outed myself to gay guy friends while talking about them being gay, only for both to be surprised at my forwardness as neither of them was out yet. Whoops, but hey my gaydar was on point.

    The best was my current group of friends a couple of months after meeting them. I’d been out for years but only just moved overseas. I didn’t think I needed to come out because I was pretty freakin gay by then. The sexuality spectrum came up in convo and I said I was homoflexible, and a roaring cheer erupted from my now-bestie going “I knew you weren’t straight!” and everybody burst out laughing at her excessive excitement.

  13. On the phone with my parents…

    Me: So, you know I’m bisexual, right?
    Dad: What?
    Me: Wait, you didn’t?
    Dad: I mean, we love and support you uncondi—
    Me: OMG DAAAAAAAD I knew that already, don’t insult yourself like that
    Dad: —tionally!

    In hindsight, I’m not sure why I thought it was so obvious…

  14. I only recently came out at the age of 33.

    After months of psyching myself up, I finally sat down to tell my Mum. Instead of the reaction I was expecting (best case scenario being disappointment), she just said to me ‘oh yes love, Ive known that for quite a while’ (seemingly before I even realised myself!)

    And then she went on to say that she has always suspected that she herself might be a lesbian, as she had fallen in love with a few women in her lifetime!

    Such an anticlimax! Lol

  15. My most random was when talking with a house inspector about a house we were thinking about buying. He said he would be happy to go over the report with my husband, and I said well my wife, but my mom would be the one most likely to possibly have questions.

    He said, “Did you just say what I think you said?” And I paused trying to make sure I remembered correctly what I had said. Then he added that you just don’t hear people say that very often. And it ended up that his son was gay. But for a moment I was a bit worried.

    I don’t necessarily ping as queer, so I do try to mention my wife when relevant, especially as we live in a relatively rural, Midwestern town and greater queer visibility is good!

  16. Coming out as not straight was easy. I can’t even remember coming out, I was like 12 and had an openly gay uncle who was the greatest ever so I was lucky to not have to worry about that.

    I had to come out as a lesbian to my (male) fiancee.

    My college roommate and I were both lesbians and I accidentally found out because her username for the thing I was helping her with had lesbian in it. Later that day I literally pulled my rainbow flag out of the closet and attempted to flirt with a very pretty girl who is now one of my best friends (And also pan and could probably benchpress me.) Half the floor I was living on was not straight in some manner and it was beautiful. One big queer family. And I am going to miss them all so much.

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