How old were you when you first knew?
For those of you with orientations other than straight, how old were you when you first knew that something about you was different? How did it present itself?
For those of you with heterosexual orientations, how old were you when you had your first serious crush? What was their name?
Personally, I knew something was different from a pretty young age when I'd volunteer to play the Daddy in games of "House". My first kiss was with a female childhood friend - although neither of us knew the significance of what we were doing. I didn't really like boys in younger grades, had no really meaningful romantic relationships with boys when I got older, and eventually came out to myself, friends, and family when I turned 18.
My first real crush was in high school. Her name was Kate.
I find that even in the gay community (myself included), we don't always take younger people seriously when they say they're gay because we dismiss their conclusion without the experience of age. On the other hand, many adults who self-identify as gay knew something of it at a younger age.
So how old were you?
I just spent a half hour explaining my vote and all kinds of deep old memories and the post disappeared.
Anyway, I voted for the earliest memory category.
Nutshell version why:
I remember being 3 or 4 and longing for my cousin's girlfriend who was about 18 or 20. I was feeling sexual desire, though I didn't know what it was at the time of course, just an intense feeling that I needed to be around her and touch her. I wanted to hold her hand, kiss her, protect her, and be her hero.
I had similar crushes on many many girls and young women - used to cut wildflowers for them, and crawl onto their laps to put the flowers in their hair. I remember wanting to marry them. :rainbow:
But I didn't know there was anything unusual about feeling that way for your own sex until I was 6. That's when I became aware of the gay marriage furor. It took me about 15 seconds to recognize what was going on there, and I remembered that I would grow up to be an activist. Well except that when I was 6, it was such a long time til I would turn 18 I was 95% sure gay marriage would be legalized long before I reached 18. :rolleyes:
Anyway, it was that moment when my friend told me about the gay marriage stuff , that I said to myself, "Well, I am going to marry whoever is the most spiritual partner - whether it's a man or a woman." Which, as far as I'm concerned, means that I knew I was bisexual already before then. Too bad for the internal homophobia that followed and made me go round in circles about my orientation for years and years. :rolleyes:
Knowing and Knowing
I believe there is knowing and then there is knowing- a big difference- if you will.
In my case, I was attracted to men when I was young- a 4th grade teacher comes to mind -Mr. Casper- but I certainly didn't think of myself as gay- that word wasn't part of my world yet. It was only later, after hearing snatches of conversations from other kids, that I realized that what I was experiencing was outside the 'norm'. I shut down at that point- wanting to fit in.
After years of hiding my feelings from myself and others- easy to do during my adolescence in the church- I had graduated from my Alma Mater (Evangel College) and was sitting in a service there when I found myself locking eyes with a current student. Voila. That 4th grad feeling was right there waiting for me. That's when I really, really knew. I wrestled with it, pushed it away, pushed him away.
I often wonder what became of him- the one who woke me up and gave me back to myself.
His name was Doug.
Oh, yeah yeah yeah!!!
What Daniel said!!
I answered the poll according to when I remember feeling romantic attractions for women, but I could answer a few other different ways too according to what you mean by "knowing".
When I heard about homosexuals at age 6 I thought I probably was one, but no one would give me a clear answer what a homosexual was, so I was going on instinct and suspicion until I could find out for sure.
When I first labelled myself as homosexual with a fair amount of certainty I was 10. That was also the moment when I pushed awareness of same-sex attractions back into some dark void at the back of my mind. I remember being so scared of what could happen to me if I was gay I fainted. 10 years old.
Then in college the campus was full of gay activists. I held them in some awe, but was afraid of them too. But on February 15th, 1995, at quarter to ten in the morning I walked past a beautiful girl (she was 20) in the student center and then I [I]knew.[I] It was at that moment that I thought:
"Run, Zerbie. Run far away from this girl, or you'll never be able to hide it from yourself again." And the funny thing is, I *DID* run! I chose to continue the internal homophobia thing and smash it down again, though it was terribly painful and gut-wrenchingly difficult to do so. But the even funnier thing is, she was going to the same meeting I was going to! When she walked through that door, sat directly across from me and smiled, I was done for. Then at the end of the hour as several of us were standing around talking she mentioned something about people being uncomfortable and rejecting her for who she was. I was astounded and asked why on earth people would treat her that way. She said, "well, some people are uncomfortable with the fact that I'm a lesbian." I cannot possibly convey how ecstatic I felt to hear her say she was lesbian! I immediately asked her out and she accepted! :D
knew I was weird, or queer?
Hopscotch, 4-square, jumprope and tether-ball must have signaled something to my elementary teachers, but not me. I never liked my mom's hose and still road-killed my sister's barbies with trucks, but I also took over directing all the home plays (coming up with a great I Dream of Jeanie talcom powder puff of smoke when she exited her bottle) and on that fateful day, finding my dad's Playboys, gravitated toward the couple of Hustlers. Not because they were more graphic, but because they had MEN in them.
"Gay" didn't attach itself to "Me" until Jr. High when I noticed becoming aware of a jealously toward the little ladies stealing away the attention of my buddies, and them in turn pointing out that this or that one liked me, "in that way." I liked them too, but not one of them in "that" way... Uh oh! DING-deep bells, whistles, those broadway arrows appeared over my head flashing SISSY! HOMO! Damned FAG HERE! and I discovered pot...(cue gurgleing bong water sounds- Aahhhhuhhh whewwww. Gay? Me? Nuh Uh... and the drugged up denial begins.)
The first time I said "I'm gay" to another soul (my hag before I knew what one was) was about half way through my senior year in HS. The gut wrentching, painfully delayed confession was immediately followed with a resounding, melodic "well Duhhh. We know that." She said, as if it were common knowledge, affirming all the suspicions of behind my back gossip. The innocent, ridiculous thought "well why didn't you tell me?" sunk in unspoken. It was not the response I expected or wanted... I had been hiding it so well... Things change, we had had joy we had had fun we had had seasons in the sun... Now for the family...:eek:
I knew when...
I knew when a 16 year old volleyball player entered my 10th grade World History class and I was a 26 year old, pregnant, married, teacher. I was immediately drawn to her and the attraction scared me to death. I spent the next 12 years in fierce denial, repetitively calling our relationship everything but what it was, and finally in desperation, I came out to God, myself, and to her and now we are happily married, and I am glad I have the love of my life in my life. ;)
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