The 25 Gayest Things I Did When I Still Thought I Was Straight

Do you ever wish you could travel back in time and scream at your younger self to open their eyes? When straight people ask me their favorite little question (“when did you know?”), I briefly go catatonic as I contemplate the wonders of time-travel as well as the wonders of a fantasy world where I don’t have to constantly explain and contextualize my queerness for straight people. Then I’ll babble some answer that will shut them up, like, “When I first masturbated to a Jennifer Lopez music video.” The truth is, I always knew, but I also didn’t know. I was a tiny gay idiot, blinded by denial and fear. In retrospect, my queerness was on full display all the time always. I mean, have you seen the photos?! I was so, so bad at pretending to be straight, but also apparently so good at it that I had convinced even myself that it was true!

Alas, I remained oblivious. But looking back, it’s hard to imagine how I — along with everyone I ever encountered — “didn’t know.” I choose to believe I always knew, just under the surface. Now, we can all laugh about it together. Here are the gayest things I did when I still thought I was straight:

  • Told my parents I was changing my name to Olivia Newton-John in first grade
  • Asked my friend Anna, during recess in second grade, why we couldn’t get married
  • Choreographed a dance to Spice Girl’s “2 Become 1″ with my best friend Kelsey
  • Used my family camcorder to film a scene-by-scene reenactment of the Disney Channel Original Movie Cheetah Girls, as performed by me and my best friend Kelsey (between the two of us, we played every single character)
  • Regarded all of my female teachers as goddesses or high priestesses
  • Nearly had a heart attack when a group of girls at a middle school party performed a choreographed dance (on chairs?!) to a Kelly Clarkson song
  • Had pictures of Topanga Lawrence taped to my bedroom door
  • Had pictures of Jennifer Garner in my high school locker
  • Started wearing vests because of Jennifer Morrison on House M.D.
  • Generally was in love with every famous Jennifer
  • Looooooved watching the girls soccer team in middle school…because I was a sports fan, obviously
  • Watched The L Word in secret
  • Apparently shipped Thirteen and Cuddy on House M.D.?!
  • Used my flip phone to text my best friends real-time reactions I had during every episode of Glee’s first season
  • Called The Ellen Degeneres Show’s toll-free hotline every day for a year in high school, hoping she would call me back
  • Screamed at a boy on the bus in high school for saying Angelina Jolie isn’t pretty (we’re both gay now)
  • Watched Ciara’s “Ride” music video almost every day my freshman year of college
  • Talked about Alison Brie’s boobs, like, way too much
  • Named my cat after a character from the television show Charmed
  • Pretended to like The Beatles for a girl
  • Wore a lotta gauchos
  • Had a lotta frenemies
  • Took a girl (who I definitely wanted to be more than friends with) to prom and homecoming AS FRIENDS
  • Went to the Hamptons with a boy and secretly made out with his friend Alice at a party
  • Formed crushes strictly on boys who were completely unavailable
  • Said “I know, right?” when people said they thought I was gay
  • Had sex with women
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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 870 articles for us.


  1. This is great.
    Before I knew about gender like I do now, I assigned family relationships between my dolls & the members of my family. It was regardless of gender & sex, just to do with my ‘hierarchy of family members’ (as I didn’t put it then, I was about three). I was the mummy, mum was the daddy and dad was the grandma. I wonder what my parents thought about that (I guess my dad might have been pretty insulted that the hierarchy twice implies he’s less important than my mum but tbh he wasn’t/isn’t as good at parenting as my mum).
    It doesn’t count because I’m trans masc not lesbian but when I was about 11 I got upset as ppl started to get into kissing. I thought I had to go back to ‘being a girl’ as girls kissed boys etc. I figured I only had a limited time left so went round flirting with every girl in my class and saying how pretty they all were… I did have a crush on a boy too and acted really femme around him, overly so lol. I was camp around guys I liked for about 4 years and now all the guys I like are camp. Someone actually asked ‘Liam you’re a boy, are you and John gay because you’re never with anyone else’, nah he was just my best friend, we hadn’t been dating for four years when we were ten lol.

  2. Omg I did so much gay stuff way before I figured I was queer. Like apparently from the minute I was born, I hated going near men and wouldn’t let them near me or I cried because little baby. In high school I had a boyfriend who I refused to be remotely intimate with and we went to see High School Musical and I remember everyone saying how cute Zac Efron was and I was like ‘who cares about Zac Efron when there’s this really cute girl like right there????’ That was probably also one of the biggest signs! Lol! And I watched the L word in college and was like ‘oh shit I think I’m gay’ and I think my housemates knew even though I wouldn’t admit it to myself. Le sigh. I’m out and proud now but omg so many gay moments. I also definitely had a thing for Kristen Stewart in high school. There’s probably more though. Haha.

  3. You pretended to like the Beatles? The Beatles, you decided to pretend to like them. Well, you are so dead to me now.

    You don’t just pretend to like the Beatles. It’s the Beatles, it’s considered Blasphemy in England to pretend to like them.

    • Girl chill. Like,I’m in fucking Liverpool right now and I think they’d be fine with me telling them “I don’t fancy the Beatles”.

      You know as long as you don’t say “I voted Tories”.

  4. In the 7th grade I spent at least a day, maybe a week, trying to come up with the perfect word or phrase to describe this girl’s butt in my art class. (Squish. I came up with squish butt. In my defense, I was 12.)

    I just smiled and nodded when my female friends in high school started talking about some boy’s cute butt or how fine this or that boy looked in his skinny jeans. (I’m bi but women’s butts are just so much more interesting to me. I’m not sure I was even aware that the boys had butts).

  5. I think the gayest thing I did while I still thought I was straight was the time my dance teacher caught me staring really intently at her ass during warm ups. We were doing hip isolations, 11 year old me (apparently) couldn’t help herself. Cue my dance teacher giving me a look in the mirror that very quickly conveyed I needed to avert my gaze, and an overwhelming feeling of embarrassment that I didn’t quite understand at the time.

  6. I have this same feeling when looking back on a variety of childhood actions and feelings. Like, how did I not know??? I had a crush on many girls as a little kid that I just labeled as ‘reeeally wanting to be their friend.’ Whilst also writing their name all over my notebooks. Also, at 5, I cried when I got chosen to dance with Prince Charming at Disneyland (it was Cinderella who picked me out of the crowd and held my hand! No fair changing it up like that).

    • Do you mind if I share your story with my gf next time she’s on about how she was chosen to sing any song at Disney & chose Barbie girl and was told no? Yours is way worse. Heteronormativity right there.

  7. Was definitely waaay into the L Word. And Sugar Rush. And Willow and Tara. I basically didn’t think I was bi because I hadn’t ever had a relationship with a girl, and also kissing girls was a thing everyone did at parties so I didn’t figure it was anything weird. I do remember getting really upset after kissing my friend at a party, then asking her in a game of truth or dare whether me or my other friend was better. She said my friend was better and I was SO UPSET. I wish I had figured it out sooner!!!

  8. “Went to the Hamptons with a boy and secretly made out with his friend Alice at a party”

    …would you mind if I wrote this as a screenplay and then yelled at everyone in Hollywood until someone produced it? i need this coming of age gay romcom like, yesterday.

    Other people knew I was gay before I did, tbh. This one girl that I really liked could totally tell and was fully homophobic about it, but I still didn’t understand why she called it “sketch” whenever I told her she was pretty or that I understood what this one guy saw in her…

  9. Ooh I have two really good ones.
    1. My sisters and I were obsessed with cats the musical and we always assigned who was what character in movies and stuff and my sisters chose super pretty cats for themselves and I was real adamant about being Mr. Mistoffolees. (I was probably 6 or 7).
    2. During middle school summers, I watched the gay/bi versions of MTV’s dating shows in the middle of the night with the volume as low as possible/sitting as close to the TV as possible and just wept. (I grew up in an evangelical church, so ya know)

    • I ALSO INSISTED ON BEING MISTOFFELEES! apparently I embarrassed my younger sisters when I continued with using him as costume material well into high school ?

  10. I remember stuttering and blushing around pretty girls as far back as elementary school. In high school and later in my 20s, I had strong feelings for female friends where I literally admitted to myself I’d like to kiss them “just to see what it was like”, and yet I still managed to avoid thinking of myself as anything other than straight until I was 32.

    Also my classmates cast me as Miss Casewell (a “strange, aloof, masculine woman”) in a high school production of The Mousetrap, and I wore my own clothes for the character. Apparently they knew me better than I did.

  11. I knew I was gay when I was about 13, so I never really had any of those “I can’t believe I did these things when I thought I was straight!” moments. But if you want to go way, way back, I have a few.

    1. I was a flower girl when I was 6 and keep in mind this was 1990. I have zero memory of this, but the story is that my mom’s cousin was actually marrying a woman (who presented male, so may be trans by now? I’m not sure, they divorced a long time ago). My mom decided it was best to tell me that it was actually two women getting married and my reaction was “That’s so cool!” or something to that effect.

    2. My mom took me to see Fried Green Tomatoes in theaters (1991, so I was 7) and I was OBSESSED. My first celeb crush was Mary Louise Parker and after I begged for the video I probably watched it every day for a year. I wanted to be Idgie Threadgood.

    3. Xena. I was 12 when I started watching it and it was all downhill from there!

  12. 1. Had a huge crush on my fourth grade teacher and took it as a personal offense when she got married

    2. The stories I wrote in middle/high school were THE GAYEST and I always included a basic straight boy as the love interest even though all the sexual tension was between the main girl and a hot female villain

    2b. The main girls also always had some gender neutral name like Taylor or Alex or Jordan or Sam

    3. All I wanted IN LIFE was a pair of f*ckboy basketball shorts but my parents wouldn’t let me (I now own seven)

    4. Regularly sought out gay content to be “supportive” of the “community”

    4b. PANICKED when anybody suspected I had any actual interest in these things

    5. Always did the lesbian thing in beer pong because it was “easier” (ALL my friends in college were gay).


      • Oh Lord, idek, like when the ball is stuck spinning around the top of the cup, guys are supposed to “finger” it out and girls are supposed to “blow” it? So if you’re a girl and you do the guy thing you’re definitely gay. OR SO I WAS TOLD.

        • OH man! Never heard this one! It’s like the “how do you look at your fingernails?” thing ?

          • That fingernail thing never made sense to me. I do it the girl way, because my nails are short so that’s the only way I can see them.

  13. Shout out to staring and girl butts and thinking about kissing your friends “just to see what it would be like”!

    this article + comments is an in your face, blast from the past, bittersweet trip down memory lane ? ?

  14. When I was in jr. high, high school, and undergrad, I would “fantasize” about dating boys, but the entirety of these fantasies would be us getting in a fight and then me being comforted by his mom or a hot family friend.

    I did not figure out I was gay until I was 27.

    What I’m saying is, I feel you. So, so much.

  15. You are so gay. Congratulations.

    I spent my entire childhood trying to impress girls. I wasn’t very smooth though. I mostly made an idiot out of myself.

    I did stare at pictures of Martina Navrotilova’s muscles a lot. I watched women’s tennis much like I watch women’s soccer today.

  16. Just now coming out to everyone in my mid-30s, so this content is so relevant. Things I did that should have tipped me off much, much sooner:

    – Saw a sign at a sleepover/swim party that said “no swimming (suits) after dark” and then swam naked the rest of the evening. I was 9 or 10. A few other girls removed their swim tops, but I was the only girl who went full monty. Thought it was funny that other girls were uncomfortable with my nudity.

    – Hated every boy my best friends ever dated throughout HS/college. Tried to break up said relationships. Could not figure out why being friends with me wasn’t “enough” for them. Imagined that we would all live together after husbands tragically died.

    – Refused to EVER dress in stereotypical “girl” costumes for Halloween. Previous costume selections include Robin Hood, two U.S. Presidents, and a “gangster” who wanted to pack a Nintendo Zapper (said accessory choice was vetoed by my mother).

    – Always played “husband” in pretend family at summer camp. Had unacknowledged crush on girl who always played “wife” who had gone through early puberty. She showed me her boobs one time, and it blew my mind.

    – Dated a guy for nine months and only kissed him once. Incredibly, he gave me a promise ring. Accepted promise ring and wore on left hand at his request before then shifting ring to other hand and hoping he wouldn’t notice. 0/10 would not recommend.

    – Used to pose for pictures as a kid with one hand tucked in my jacket like a gentleman in an 18th-century painting because I thought it looked cool.

  17. “Used my family camcorder to film a scene-by-scene reenactment of the Disney Channel Original Movie Cheetah Girls, as performed by me and my best friend Kelsey (between the two of us, we played every single character)”

    Ok that’s just pure DEDICATION right there. It sounds amazing.

    Like a lot of you, looking back I have discovered many, many obvious moments that should’ve been huge clues, but the two biggest moments that stand out to me are thus:

    1. Having an ENORMOUS crush on Taylor Hanson and being secretly devasted upon finding out that he wasn’t a girl (I was 7)

    2. Despite my being obsessed with Leonardo DiCaprio at the time, my absolute favorite moment of Titanic is, to this day, the scene where he draws Kate Winslet naked. I was fascinated by it as a 9 year old but never really thought about why….

    • My suspiciously theatrical obsession with Leo was definitely a subconscious beard for my true obsession with Kate Winslet. I once brought a framed photo of her to summer camp.

  18. Yes! Topanga Lawrence was definitely my first TV crush (also Rachel from Friends). I recorded every episode of Boy Meets World on VHS so I could go back and watch over and over again.

    Also feel you re: female celebrity posters in lockers. I had an entire bulletin board in my bedroom with pictures I’d cut out of J-14 of Pink and Avril Lavigne. And yet, my mom was somehow still surprised when I came out in college?

    A few from my own list:
    – Default “truth” question in truth or dare games with my friends was “if you were a lesbian and had to date someone in this room, who would it be”–my friends were surprisingly v. chill answering this question (…and, half of us have come out since then, so, that was probably pretty telling)
    – Wore 2 sports bras to flatten my chest as much as possible all through middle school and freshman year
    – In high school, after my best friend would sleep over at my house, would use the pillow she used the next night because I liked the smell of her perfume (this sounds creepier to me now than it seemed to me at the time)

  19. I secretely read autowin before I knew. I also had sex with women, but that could have been like a drunken experimental thing (it was not), autowin should have seriously been a clue.

  20. I’m bi, but there were definitely childhood tells:
    Played “house” in 2nd grade with a tomboy named Danni where we would definitely practice kissing as the mom and the dad.
    Cut my hair off really short in 4th grade and wanted everyone to start calling me JC instead of Jackie.
    When I was 9 my mom had this friend who I thought was so pretty and one day I dissolved in to tears and told her I was hopelessly in love with her.
    Developed an obsession with Laetitia Casta from my dads Victoria’s Secret magazines.
    Did everyone watch Charmed to see Alyssa Milano in the tiniest outfits?

    • That’s def one of the reasons I watched Charmed. Also all of them wore leather pants at some point

    • OMG yes Laetitia, I used to like fly flip through the VS catalog when it came to find her pictures!

  21. When I first realized I was gay, I actually made of list titled “I should have realized I was gay when…” Gayest items on that list?

    1. Age 9, I pretended to de asleep while secretly watch big my camp counsellors get dressed.

    2. Age 16, I spent way too much time staring down my math tutors shirt while was was trying to help me understand fractions.

    3. Age 9, I refused to wear a dress when I was the maid of honour at my aunts wedding; age 13, I refused to wear a dress to my own bat mitzvah; age pretty much always, I refused to ever, EVER wear the colour pink.

    Yeaaaaah. I should have figured it out looong before age 20. Whoops. Heteronormativity strikes again!

  22. In high school this dude was really into one of my friends. We decided that the best way for her to show she was not interested in him was to receive texts from her “boyfriend,” which was really just me under some pseudonym texting her all these couple-esque things. So whenever this dude tried to hit her up she would just be like “Oh my God, look at this funny thing my boyfriend sent me!” The guy eventually got the hint, and I eventually realized I had a crush on my friend.

  23. I’m still kind of a baby gay. I knew I was not straight in my late twentie, but after an abusive relationship with a guy, I realized men were not.. but women were yes! Now I’m definitely bi but my attraction to men is pretty much limited to Chris evans, otherwise suuuuper gay

  24. Oh gosh I understand all of this so much! I remember playing SIMS URBZ (cool urban sims lmao?) on my GameCube and when I realized I could get my female character to kiss other ladies I would close the door to my room, lower the volume, turn the tv towards the wall slightly and get my sim to kiss other girls. ?

    • All of my Sims were lesbian families. My favorite family was Xena and Gabrielle.
      Every so often I would create a male character but I would quickly get bored and he would just stay there hungry, pooping his pants and crying

  25. When I was in elementary school my friend would pretend to be a princess, and I would make her get kidnapped by the evil prince so that I could be her guard and come rescue her

  26. I used to go to the downtown library in Ashevile and look up lesbian and homosexual in the card catalog (I’m old). I was very covert about it like a spy. I made sure nobody could look to see what cards I was looking at. I’m not sure why I thought somebody would but there was a lot of fear. Then I would walk up and down the aisles and casually look at the books. Making sure nobody could see me. Even then I knew I was very gay.

  27. This list was so relatable, it compelled me to register an account and comment for the first time. Hindsight would point out that there were so many “signs” of my inevitable queerness that it’s a wonder I didn’t come out of the womb surfing a giant rainbow. But, heteronormativity being what it is, I made an earnest effort to be the straightest girl I could by:

    – crying in preschool because I wasn’t allowed to wear swim trunks and had to wear a girl’s bathing suit instead

    – banishing my Ken dolls to the role of long-distance truck drivers so they could be conveniently absent while all my Barbie dolls had extended sleepovers together

    – Defending the honor of Mulan as the greatest Disney character ever

    – Rationalizing that the weird feeling in my chest every time I saw a pretty picture of a girl was “jealousy” because I wanted to look like them (Sure Jan.gif)

    – Videotaping every episode of Xena and keep a carefully curated collection of VHS tapes under my bed (so no one would record over them)

    – Making out with/sleeping with girls in undergrad to “prove” I wasn’t actually gay

    • Wow, every episode of Xena?? I am impressed! I recorded all of my favorite episodes and to this day I can still recite most of Fins, Femmes and Gems.

      • Ha, it may not have been every episode, but it was pretty close. The show was in syndication where I lived and by the time I started watching it was already a few seasons in and old episodes aired daily. I spent a good chunk of my allowance on blank VHS tapes to feed my habit. I feel like there are worse vices for a 13 year-old girl to have.

        • I remember needing to buy packs of 3 VHS tapes because I kept running out. I can’t remember how many episodes I had in the end (probably only 10), but I would also tape favorite scenes during the reruns. Times were much simpler back then! Kids today really are missing out…

    • Oh yes I extremely relate to this last one. AND WELCOME TO THE COMMENTS

  28. I should have known when my (female) friend and I got put in do different classes between second and third grade and I cried for hours upon finding out like my heart had just been ripped out of chest.

  29. Before I knew I was gay, in high school, I went to Governor’s School (an academic summer program). I met a girl who was a really good singer and I asked her to sing “All I Ask of You” with me. (If you don’t know, it’s from The Phantom of the Opera, and it’s a dramatic love song at night on a roof between the female lead Christine and the dude she likes Raoul.)

    Anyway, I asked maybe three times. The girl said no each time. I was so confused because she’d been completely willing to sing a solo… She also kept bringing up her boyfriend who she wanted to marry, which seemed completely irrelevant?

  30. In retrospect, there were definitely signs of bi-ness.

    Middle school, in my aunt’s wedding, made faces the entire time I had to touch the guy I was walking down the aisle with and faked illness to avoid dancing with him at the reception.

    Xena was appointment television throughout college. Gabby and Aphrodite were my favorites–and I’ve never gotten over the sadness at hearing that Aphrodite’s bosoms were not truly that well endowed.

    Speaking of bosoms, totally, madly in love with A League of Their Own.

    I was obsessed with Willow and Tara.

    Also MTV’s Undressed, because of the very occasional lesbian storylines.

    Fantasized about David Duchovny, except, whoops! Somehow he was suddenly Gillian Anderson.

    It was a lot easier to accept that I was a nerd. :P Now I embrace that I am a nerd and have also gone out on my first date with a lady, go me.

  31. I always put my husband peg in the very back seat of my car when I played The Game of Life with my family. I didn’t want his blue plastic body anywhere near me.

    I also had a legit shrine to my best friend when I was five. I had a little table draped with a blanket and underneath I had a cardboard box pedestal where I put her framed kindergarten school photo (who gave that to me? and why??). When I missed her I would crawl under there and cry and gently stroke the photo, Helga Pataki-style.

  32. My friend and I would film music videos on her camcorder in elementary school and I would always just “forget to aim” the camera at her and end up filming the cleavage of Britney Spears from a poster that was in our studio (basement). V uncomfortable when we showed the music videos to her parents

  33. Oh, yes, this is too close to home.

    Let’s see.

    -Only wanted to make out with the girls during truth or dare
    -Secretly watched the L word
    -Read lesbian erotica about sleepovers with friends turning…erotic (I MEAN WHAT??)
    -Told a few of my female best friends I loved them (HOW???)
    -Fantasized about having sex with women while having sex with men (WHYYYYYYYYY???)
    -Had sex with women (AND YET HMM WHAT HAPPENED THERE BRAIN???)

    Really, though. 25 and only in the past few years am I fully coming into (well, out!) myself openly. I’ve known for as long as I can remember, but went through about a decade of serious stigma mitigation – better known as aggressively sleeping around with men, letting them take advantage of me, walling off any and all emotions, presenting very femme, in an attempt to run and hide from my fears.

    Soooo happy to be free. xx

  34. 1. Wore denim overalls, unironically.

    2. Pretended to have a crush on Tiger Woods and to like golf because I thought I needed an athlete crush like all my friends

    3. Got engaged and almost married to a dude

    4. Lifetime habit of really intense female friendships where I became obsessed with them and spent all my time being jealous of their boyfriends

    5. Told all my friends I was going to be a crazy cat lady and never get married

    • yeah I used to tell my mom all the time that I wasn’t gonna get married when what I actually meant was that I wasn’t gonna marry a man

  35. Recently came out (in my 30’s) after being in a straight relationship for 16 years. Was blissfully unaware of my gayness despite the following:

    – As a child the pool scene in Christmas Vacation made me feel such a way I refused to watch it for YEARS and would fast forward that scene any time I watched it.

    – When I was 12 I was obsessed with Larisa Oleynik from the Secret World of Alex Mack and had her posters all over my room (??)

    – The first time I ever kissed a boy I felt such deep shame and alarming wrongness that I went home and cried

    – Angelina Jolie was the desktop background on my computer all the way through high school and college

    – When A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila originally aired I would watch it completely googley eyed over Dani Campbell BECAUSE SHE WAS A NICE PERSON, OK?

    – I thought every straight girl fantasized about other women and would stare at my straight friends with bewilderment when they would describe their satisfying sex lives

    – Also the part where I made out with women when I was drunk

    Dat heteronormativity got me good, guys.

    • “I thought every straight girl fantasized about other women”

      OMG, as a teen, I really thought all women looked at other women’s butts (because who wouldn’t)

      • my mom (lol) totally tried to convince like 12 year old me that just because i thought women were sexy, didn’t mean i was gay. I think she ended up convincing both of us that actually she wasn’t all that straight hahahhhhh.

  36. -When I was in fifth grade, I was obsessed with a girl in my music class, and I asked a friend, “Have you ever, like, really wanted to be friends with someone?” She said, “Well, I have a cousin who I only see a few times a year, and I wish we were closer,” and I said, “No, not like that” (I didn’t know what I was looking for but I knew it wasn’t that), and she kept coming up with examples and I kept shooting them down, and finally she said, “Okay, who is it?” and I was like NO ONE, IT’S JUST A HYPOTHETICAL QUESTION, which was VERY convincing, I’m sure.

    -Also in fifth grade, my friends decided to make a poetry book or magazine or something, and they wanted it to have chapters on different themes, and one of the chapters would have a love theme (they clearly meant romantic love). They told me I should write a poem for their book, and I was like “Okay what kind of poem should I write?” and they were like “a LOVE poem” and so I wrote a love poem about the aforementioned girl in my music class (though fortunately I didn’t mention her by name).

    -In sixth grade, I was friends with a girl in my class (not the same as the love poem one), and she gave me a birthday card, and I SLEPT WITH IT UNDER MY PILLOW. Note: she hadn’t died or anything, she was perfectly fine and I still saw her every day at school while this was going on.

    -Sometime probably in middle school, maybe seventh or eighth grade, I found some queer YA books at a friend’s house (Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez, and The Geography Club by Brent Hartinger) and started reading them and was RIVETED by them but didn’t know why.

  37. Loving everybody’s stories so much, and also very jealous of/impressed by all the copious and wanton make-out sessions with women that many of you seem to have managed to enjoy while “straight”.

  38. Omg aged 17 I had a crush on a german support teacher who was probably 21ish. She did speaking lessons with us in groups of 2 or 3 and it was basically an hour a week of me trying to impress her and make her laugh. For christmas she gave us each a small bag of german biscuits wrapped up all neatly. I took a crappy picture of this gift and made it my phones homescreen. I remember doing it like, why does this mean so much to me. God it makes me cringe so much in hindsight!

  39. This is all so wonderful.

    I recently stumbled upon a list I wrote in my childhood journal of the “Top 10 Reasons I love Clay Aiken” which included how he looked like he gave a great hug. Talk about weird attempts at straight crushes.

  40. There were many indicators of my queerness but my favorite was convincing my best friend (girl) in high school that we should kiss/make out but only for the sake of “practicing” so that we knew what we were doing when we ultimately kissed guys. Afterwards she told me she knew I was enjoying it. Oops. Also, taking a guy to a gay club in my early twenties only to end up in my bra on the dance floor making out with one of my gal friends who I thought was really attractive.

  41. 1. The only boys I ever wanted to hang out with as a child and adolescent were obviously gay
    2. The first time I saw the music video for Oops (Oh My) by Tweet and Missy Elliot in 3rd grade I thought about it for WEEKS on end for reasons I didn’t quite understand
    3. I had my first panic attack the first week of middle school when I realized I would have to change in front of other girls in gym class–I was afraid they would find out I liked girls and think I was creepy even though I was making a concerted effort to not even glance at them :(

  42. Okay here is a picture of “totally straight” me and my actually straight best friend at our high school prom. I’m going to be her maid of honor next spring ?

  43. The line about knowing but not knowing is so true. I think back all the time to whatever weird things I did before I transitioned. Especially in childhood like crushing on Ellen, getting upset someone told me we couldn’t date when they came out, being obsessed with Murphy Brown and Murder She Wrote (I was 5), my heroes were Clarissa, Alex Mack and Daria. I think I destroyed evidence (gender was awful as a teenager) but I performed Come to my Window in a talent show when I was 8 or 9.

    Somewhere I was always a wlw, I was just more oblivious than anything else

    My dad asked me once why I formed friendship/mentorships with older women. I think I yelled idk and ran off and cried. At least now I know I wasn’t screwed up, just impossibly gay

  44. Some things I nonchalantly did before finally realising in my 30s that I might like girls.

    – practiced making a baby naked with my (girl)friend aged 7 (definitely my idea)
    – never fantasized about getting married. Could imagine being pregnant and having kids on my own, but there was never a husband in the picture
    – loved Anne of green gables and nancy drew and feisty heroines generally
    – In HS, refused to participate learning the dances and impersonating BSB, because I was too cool for that girly stuff. So I always offered to videotape my friends dancing!
    – played touch football and rugby
    – prided myself on not being a “silly girl” around boys and remaining level-headed
    – had very intense female friendships where we platonically cuddled lots and I was jealous of their stupid boyfriends
    – experimented kissing all these same girls one evening. Thought this made me “liberated” and “easy-going”, but definitely not bi, because that was for attention-seekers, and definitely not gay, because that wasn’t possible.
    – secretly masturbated while on the phone w best friend
    – prided myself on being the only straight girl who could fit in with my only lesbian friend’s sports friends — since I was just so open-minded
    – long-term bf asked me if I was a lesbian, since I had “given up on fashion” (I still love fashion, I was just depressed. But he was still on to something)
    – managed to avoid giving same bf a blowjob throughout 5 year relationship, but loved receiving
    – when propositioned for a threesome, said I was only interested in the girl and then was disappointed when all we did was kiss. Then I promptly repressed the whole thing for several more years.
    – wore converse, skinny jeans, button down shirts, keys on a carabiner and bought a subaru so that I could go camping
    – saw ani difranco in concert approx 6 times (it was the 90s) – did not understand that she was gay until approx 2005
    – consistently found myself realising halfway through a new (male) friend hangout that it was actually a date in their mind. Found clever excuses to not date them.
    – flaunted my naked body at a full moon party in front of the lesbians, trying to attract their attention, while pretending not to.
    – remained happily single for years, using men for sex but attributing my lack of relationships to my (fully coincidental) proclivity for only liking people who lived on different continents
    – resigned myself to not marrying but being the “cool single aunt” without too much regret

    Despite the above, if I hadn’t met a woman I was magnetically attracted to, I think I’d still believe I was straight and just picky about men.

  45. In my first year of college I read a TON of gay blogs because I “wanted to learn” and “be a supportive ally”. Also one time I went to a party, and I wasn’t drinking because I was coming down with a cold, but everyone else was, and I flirted a lot with the girl hosting the party (who was very gay) but insisted I was “just being friendly!!”. Even when she started petting my hair and I put my head on her lap and whined when she stopped. It was another year or so before I admitted I was bi.

  46. Great article!! Ooooh, the memories it brings–I was also SERIOUSLY good at repression and denial until I was 17 or so, hahaha. Some of the undeniable evidence of my gayness:

    -When I was about 14, one of my friends put up all these posters of shirtless guys in her room. When my friends and I would sleep over at her house, they would talk about how hot the guys were and gush about their biceps and dude-pecs, etc. I honestly thought they were KIDDING and just trying to impress each other, because no WAY could they find those bodies sexually attractive!

    -My boyfriends were all extremely effeminate

    -I legitimately didn’t understand why people wanted to start having (straight) sex in high school with all the risks that went with it. It was SO easy for me to wait…and wait… and wait…

    -When I was 16 or 17, I saw that famous poster “The Kiss” for the first time (it’s two women kissing in white t-shirts and underwear…please do yourself a favor and look it up if you haven’t seen it). I was standing in Spencer’s staring at it and I could NOT look away. I just stood there in front of the poster for much too long, telling myself how I was merely admiring the artistic value of the shot.

    The moment I couldn’t deny my gayness anymore came when I had to share a bed with this girl during my Freshman year of college after we’d hung out all night. We were standing there talking, just about ready to get into bed, when I felt like I was hit by a lightening-bolt of desire. It was completely breath-taking and overwhelming (which I’d certainly never felt with a guy). So of course I chose not to act on it and slept as far away from her as possible in the bed, haha.

    However, I soon felt brave enough to chase my rainbow and later admitted to myself that I am an enormous lesbian. My wife and I got married (in the woods, lol) 3 weeks ago, so there was a happy ending!

  47. 5 is so me. I loved all my female teachers. Had mad crushes on them. 12 is my girlfriend ?? i watched glee. Didn’t know about The L Wors

  48. this is so real, also i laughed so hard at the last thing on this list! it is very affirming to see that so many other people did things i was totally ashamed of for a long time!!

    my gayest moments before i realized it was possible to not be straight:
    •drawing pictures of myself kissing women and hiding them so my family wouldn’t find out
    •feeling some type of way when my best friend said “if i was a boy i would ask you out” and writing ~5 pages about it in my diary
    •leaving a secret letter to the girl I had a crush on in her locker at church (!!!) that was made up of cut-and-pasted letters from a magazine, like a ransom note, and called myself her “secret admirer”

  49. – Touched tongues with my best friend and told everyone it meant we are married

    – vivid memories of starring at a very athletic girl in day camp (bought the same black speedo as her bc I thought she was the coolest person ever. One time we hung out and I kept trying to peek at her underwear.

    – obsessed with a league of their own , showed it at my birthday parties

    – wore monochrome outfits with basket ball shorts all summer

    – showed up to each school year in NB sneakers felt weird when other boys had the same pair

    – was very upset when I started growing mini breasts bc you couldn’t see my chest muscles

    – cant remember one boys name from day camp but memorized everything about the girls

    – quickly chose the most obvious safe choice when girls asked me which boy I liked in our grade

    – drew pictures of girls with huge breasts for boys in my class

    – chose to go to an all girls school because I liked that it had a reputation for being gay

    – everyone joked that I was gay

    – constantly cuddled with my friends and rested on their chests

    – bragged and applauded my friend group that we had more interesting things to talk about then boys

    – first time I kissed was for practice

    – showed my friends my clit to help them find theirs in a totally non sexual way

    – organized a nude painting group between my close artistic friends, spent a lot of time naked posing and painting them

    – searched big breasts on youtube

    – got very excited when I heard a gay girl thought I was cute but didn’t make it happen

    – followed pictures of a cool group of lesbians and learned everything about their friend group via social media

    – was always envious of my friends who were in lesbian relationships

    – came up a million reasons why I wouldn’t marry my straight male partner to my religious friends and community

    – became anti marriage on principal

    – went through a 10 year relationship never giving my male partner head for more then two seconds

    – refused to have p in v sex for the last 4 years of my relationship

    – memorized everything about the wnba

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