My girl, C, has been out forever. Gold Star. Most of you know I was married before to a guy.
The other night we went to dinner with a couple. I'll call them Jamie and Beth. Like C, Jamie has been out "forever" and Beth was also married to a bloke and has only been out over the past few years.
So we were talking about gay people, and a particular friend who isn't a lesbian and we're not sure if she considers herself bisexual or something else (having dated one woman).
"She might be pansexual" I said.
C and Jamie looked at me, completely confused.
"Panwhat?" Jamie asked me.
"Pansexual," Beth confirmed. "You know, you fall in love with the person, not the gender?"
C and Jamie shook their heads and grinned at us.
For two newbies, we seem to know so much about the lesbian culture that our Gold Star partners aren't aware of. Perhaps because we read lots, or perhaps because the culture has changed over the years.
I read so much about lesbian culture as I was coming out, learning "how to be" a lesbian and fit into the culture. C and I often talk about the sheer amount of research one of her exes did, and how I was similar. On the other hand, she just started dating girls.
I was just reading Sasha's post How To Be A Lesbian and thought the advice was good - make friends and realise that the LGBT community isn't scary. I read lots, I made friends, and finally I felt comfortable enough to say "yes, I am gay". Like the author of that post, it took me a while to move from the "I'm bi" category to the "I'm gay" category. It wasn't that I was interested in men, it was just that I had dated men for so long that I didn't even know being with women and not men at all was an option for me.
Note I'm saying "for me". I'm not saying I was that naive I didn't realise lesbians existed. I just didn't think that it was an option for me... I believed I had to be with men. I'm not sure why - my feminity? my socialisation? my history? the fact I didn't listen to myself?
I don't have any regrets. My mum was very supportive, but slightly concerned I might realise that I wasn't gay after coming out to everyone and regret it. Of course, that didn't happen. Instead my only regret was that I didn't come out earlier and take advantage of dating loads of women. As C says, however, I met her at the right time. I'm marrying my first girlfriend, and being with women has been nothing but positive for me.