Revisiting My Coming Out Story

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

I posted my coming out story last year, and thought I’d revisit it again today in light of the meanderings in my head of what it means to come out of the closet. Sometimes it seems like it was so long ago, it might as well be someone else’s story. And then as I read, I can smell the fear on my upper lip as the words trembled out of my mouth and into my father’s ears…

I invited my father into my apartment, like I did every Sunday afternoon. He’d just come from Church and his crisp white dress shirt was no longer crisp, thanks to the 90-degree Spring sun that blessed the San Fernando Valley that afternoon. I felt the wet of sweat beneath my own shirt, but it wasn’t due to the hot sun outside. The cause of my overactive sweat glands? All morning I’d been coming out to my father in my head.

I closed the door behind him and my father sat on the couch, where my black and white tuxedo cat immediately jumped into his lap. My father ran his finger’s through Sly’s fur and we marveled at how quickly a cat’s purr motor goes from zero to sixty.

We started with small talk: How are you? How’s your week been? What time is your softball game tomorrow night, Dian? Oh God, he brought up softball…this is where I’m supposed to talk about Tricia now… My heart felt like it was going to thump itself right out of my chest.

I stumbled through the words I’d been rehearsing all morning, and they somehow found their way out of the safety of the padded room in my head and into the air between my father and I. She’s not just my friend, Dad…. He sunk deep into my couch. His hands paused through Sly’s fur. He looked at me, dumbfounded. Said he’d wondered about the “nature” of our relationship. Said he’d wondered how he would react if I ever told him…”you know”. Said he’d wondered about me, but he didn’t want to think “that” of me so he put it out of his mind.

We spent the next hour trying to understand each other. At least, that’s what we told ourselves. As I look back, I wasn’t trying to understand him any more than he was trying to understand me. What we were trying to do was prove our respective points.

He would quote me a piece of the bible. I would remind him that I don’t hole myself up, away from the rest of the world while I’m on my period because I’m unclean…some rules are just out of date. He would tell me that men were simply made to be with women. I would tell him I felt no more comfortable being with a man that he did. We went back and forth like this for nearly an hour before my father said, “Well, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree about this, Dian.”

And thus began our uncommunication about my sexuality.

Over the course of the next five years, my father and I rarely spoke about politics, religion or sexuality. Which was very difficult for either of us to do during the Bush years. But politics led to religion, which led to sexuality, and vice-vice-versa. So ix-nay on the olitics-pay.

Until he got sick. Until he got so sick he was almost already dead.

So on a night that ended up being about two weeks before his death, as my father sat on my grandparents’ rustic 70’s velveteen couch just before Christmas, 2005, I told him that I was tired of him not asking about my girlfriend. Tired of him referring to her as my “friend”. Tired of him omitting my sexuality out of his life.

What I’ve realized since then is that it wasn’t just my father omitting my sexuality from his life. It was also me omitting his religion from my life. When he suggested that we agree to disagree, I didn’t like it. But I didn’t do anything about it, either.

Now that my father is no longer alive, I wish I’d have shared more of me with him. I wish I’d asked him to share more of him with me. I wish we hadn’t been so focused on who was right and who was wrong. I wish I’d gotten to know him better. And still, the past is the past, and I can only move forward. Because my father and I were able to air some things out before his death in January 2006, I’m completely at peace with his passing.

Communicating is not always easy. But it’s always good for my soul.

I’m putting together an eBook on Coming Out. Mostly dealing with my own experience in the hopes that it gets in the hands of someone who’s struggling with coming out and finds some sort of comfort in my words, my experience. I’ll share more about that eBook as I get closer to launching it. If you’d like more information, please let me know and I’ll keep you personally posted.

Note: If you are coming out and fear for your physical or emotional safety in doing so, you can get help and support from your local Gay and Lesbian Center. Or give me a call. Let’s talk.

  • I would love to get more information about your coming out and your ebook! There are so many wonderful people out there suffering from hiding and putting up with silence…around them and inside of them. Thank you for sharing your story. It will encourage a lot of people to find their own way!
    Warmly – Gila Joy
    ( owner at Coaching For The Soul)

    • Thank you Gila Joy =) I’ll keep you posted as I get closer to launching. It’s so crazy to me that we have to teach ourselves again how to just be who we are. And yet, this is my truth, too. We’re born as babies who know nothing other than authenticity, and then we grow up and learn how to hide everything that’s not appealing to others, from a messy room to tv shows & music, to saying something nice or not at all to our own sexuality, to religion & spirituality … oh, it goes on and on the way we hide ourselves!

      Thanks for stopping by, and even more so for sharing your comment, thoughts & interest =)

Previous post:

Next post:

© Authentic Realities 2009-2013 (All content unless otherwise noted). All Rights Reserved.