Earlier this month, we invited Vancity Buzz readers who identify as LGBT to submit their own ‘coming out’ stories as a way of empowering and inspiring others who may be struggling with their own sexuality.
The fourth of our reader-submitted coming out stories during Vancouver Pride Week 2015 details Kate Duncan’s journey of realization and self-acceptance.
Occupation: Furniture Designer & Maker
I grew up in a pretty small town on Vancouver Island where I didn’t even know what lesbian was. Somehow as a kid, I figured out men could be gay, but I didn’t know women could be lesbians, so the whole idea didn’t even cross my mind.
I just grew up assuming I would one day meet my prince charming, fall in love and get married.
Looking back on it now I can see some pretty glaring telltale signs that would scream baby-dyke nowadays: the men’s attire, the short hair cut, woodshop class after woodshop class and a major crush on my best friend were just a few of the lesbian stereotypes I sported as a teenager.
But I didn’t know what a baby-dyke was. Quite frankly, I didn’t know a lot.
I moved to Vancouver when I was 18 to go to university. I quickly discovered that women could be with women. I even tested the concept – I kissed a girl, and I liked it, but I really believed I had a ‘choice’.
At the age of 23, I chose to marry a man I loved after I graduated from university. I got a job at a local high school teaching woodshop, and my husband and I bought a house and fixed it up.
I was growing up, but I wasn’t happy. I immersed myself in work and a master’s degree, I went on trips around the world and sang in a choir, but I still wasn’t happy.
I was doing everything I ever wanted but happiness was fleeting at best. And then, I met her.
Just after my 26th birthday, I met a woman who shook my snow globe so fierce the figurines were knocked loose. In the beginning she warned me. She said that if I fell down this proverbial rabbit hole I might not return as quite the same. I don’t know how she knew that. But I’m sure glad she did. I’m sure glad we did.
I did fall down the rabbit hole and as she predicted I did not return quite the same, thankfully. It was a bumpy fall outta that damn closet.
My coming out story isn’t at all graceful. I unintentionally hurt some people along the way and I will always be sorry for that. But I’m not sorry for who I am. I’m queer and most importantly, I’m happy.
Vancity Buzz is a proud media partner of the 2015 Vancouver Pride Festival