FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: When Did You First Know You Were Gay?

Hey there rockstars, you made it to the end of another week! I am so proud of you!! Not all weeks are easy to make it to the end of, you know? But, you did it! You are here! I am ready to celebrate you!

While we’re here together, celebrating and getting to know each other, I’d love to ask you a fun question: Looking back on it, when should you have first known know you were gay?

Today’s images appropriately come from the gayest baby gay movie to ever baby gay, Now & Then.

Last week I had the unbelievable good fortune of going out to a bar with our very own Valerie Anne and Heather Hogan! We drank good craft beers and laughed at our our pre-gay selves. Did you know that my high school boyfriend was a “sensitive” theatre geek, like me, who also grew up to be gay? Well, now you do! We used to go to Rocky Horror Picture Show every month! We both painted our nails. We sang RENT’s soundtrack at the top of our lungs while hanging out in his car after school! HA! And now I know why!

Sometimes we like to think of our “coming out” in terms of “before” and “after” – and I get it! It’s linear, and easy to digest. Today I want to talk about something a little messier: What are those times in the “before” that are now completely different than how we first remember them? What are the funny stories of your pre-gay childhood? Your complicated college years? Were you like Emily Fields in Pretty Little Liars and loved Beyoncé a little too much in middle school? (Trick Question! There is no such thing as loving Beyoncé too much!) Were you smack dab in the middle of your high school’s softball team drama? Really, isn’t all “softball team drama” dyke drama anyway?

We recognize our own when we see it.

When I was a wee ‘tween, I loved Angelina Jolie. Lots of girls loved Angelina Jolie, but… ahem… not the way I did (wink wink). Gia Angelina Jolie. Girl, Interrupted Angelina Jolie. Everyone else was putting boy band posters on the wall, and I was daydreaming about Angelina’s pillowy lips! Of course I didn’t think anything of it at the time. All girls admire female celebrities and their Cosmo covers? Right? Riiiiiiight.

I’m not alone! Nearly a decade ago, Autostraddle ran a three part roundtable series, “When I Knew I Was Gay.” Our dear editors followed that gem up with, “Top Ten ‘90s Movies Beloved by Girls Who Turned Out Gay” (in case you were wondering, I ranked 7/10 on that little list. #NowAndThenFOREVER!). Last year, Kayla bared her soul with “The 25 Gayest Things I Did When I Still Thought I Was Straight” AND “The Gayest Friendship Fights I Had as a Closeted Baby Lesbian”!

“Logan was in the middle school yearbook club, and I was the editor in chief, so she would suck up to me in order to get good assignments. So I asked her to french braid my hair every day in yearbook class, and she did.” – Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, girl this is so real.

Tell me! What are your most cherished, funny, awkward gay stories from before you knew you were gay? What’s that one moment you look back on, shake your head at your former self, and go “Ohhh, honey!”? Who were your secret crushes? Your favorite obviously gay movies? Friends that you desperately wanted to be more than friends with? SUPER GAY HOBBIES that you pretended weren’t gay at all?

I bet you have some great tales to spin! I can’t wait to laugh and cry and reminisce along with you!

Let’s keep the ball rolling! How was the rest of your week? Did you finally get that iced latte you’ve been craving? A hard day at work? Did you catch up on your sleep? Oh! Did you have a Reese’s Cup?? I love Reese’s Cups!

Baby Gay Little Me Can’t Wait To Hear From You!

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Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle's Editor-in-Chief and a Black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 515 articles for us.


  1. 8th grade, after seeing the movie “Little Darlings” for the first time.

    Why “Little Darlings”? Kristy McNichol.

    Incidentally, this is what (my now) girlfriend looked like when she was 16-17, which was around the time that Little Darlings came out:

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