Are you coming out as a lesbian? How long have you been out?
It’s a common question in the land of queer; how long have you been out? Are you all the way out? Does your family know? Do your coworkers know? Do your friends know? Who knows and who doesn’t know? How committed are you to the lifestyle? Loving women and living as a woman lover?
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There are lots of unspoken rules in the land of lesbians. And depending on your knowledge of the unspoken and unwritten rules, you’ll succeed or fail in some significant ways.
Are you femme? Are you butch? Are you something in between? Have you ever been with a man? Were you married? Do you have kids? Did you like sex with a man? Do you miss it? Do you like penetration? Do you hate the idea of penetration? How many partners have you had? And on it goes.
These are just a few of the questions that come up between women in the process of exploring relationship. It all depends on your past and what’s happened. It depends on the woman on the other side of the table and what her past is about. Our experiences shape our present and determine our futures. Do guys ask these questions? Damn if I know. I’m not a guy and I haven’t been hanging out that close to gay men to find out.
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As a woman who came out later in life, I’ve met lesbians that don’t want to date me because there is an ex-husband and children. I’ve also met women that wanted to date me and in spite of my being honest and upfront about my past had issues with the ex-husband and my children as time went on.
Sometimes it feels like there is no winning for losing in some conversations. I continue to meet many women that have come out later in life. It’s a phenomenon that I think we will always see. Perhaps it will happen less when sperm donation becomes an easier and less expensive option for younger women. But it’s also going to take a lot more work being done on equal rights for both men and women to decide they don’t need to “pretend to be straight” to have a family and kids.
But what I really want to say here today is that coming out later in life is not simple. It’s not easy either. It’s definitely not what most women expect when they decide to come out. I’ve had more than a few conversations with women who had an idea in their head about what it would be like to finally come out. To leave their husbands and their marriage and risk all to be with a woman.
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