• Lauren Flower

Coming Out: My Journey

Updated: Sep 1

Happy Monday Everyone!


Today, I wanted to share with you all my journey on coming out. To anyone who has also come out, who has yet to come out, or is in the process of discovering their gender and/or sexual identity, I believe that sharing stories of our own personal journeys will allow the possibilities for each of us to feel closer within a community. I now find the importance of this more than ever because I struggled with finding a community during that time in my life. So, with sharing my story with you all, I hope this brings comfort in knowing that you are not alone.


When I was 16 years old, I was living in Houston, Texas while training with Houston Ballet II. It was an exciting two years surrounded by memorable experiences and beautiful friendships. I learned a lot about myself being away from home while facing the independency that came along with it. During my teenage years, I started noticing something different about myself. It was something that I hadn’t really thought too much about before leaving home. I began finding myself thinking around the ideas of girl crushes, the thoughts of kissing a girl, and the giddiness that was forming inside; the whole shebang! It was a feeling that was incredibly new to me and something I had not fully grasped onto at the time. But, as the years came to an end in Houston, I noticed that all of those feelings continued to grow within me. Ultimately, I became really confused as to what was happening.

With Houston leaving me full of unforgettable memories, I landed back in my home state where I then joined Ballet Arizona. While dancing with them, more friendships had blossomed and my feelings towards women were still on the rise. I started to notice that the girl crushes I was having were multiplying, the thoughts of kissing a girl was regularly on my mind, and the idea of being with a woman was growing. I was then 20 years old when I began shifting my focus towards discovering my sexual identity. Within that time, I finally decided to explore those feelings that I was having about women. Though, it was quickly apparent to me that I could not relate to any one girl at the time within the dance community. So naturally, I decided not to talk about any of such feelings to any of my friends or family. I was petrified and extremely fearful that people would look at me differently if they knew I was attracted to women. I never heard many conversations about queer women in the dance world or amongst any of my friend groups. It was also not a common conversation within my upbringing, so I didn't have much of a platform to feel connected to. All I wanted to do was shy away from what I was feeling and process everything on my own, in a rather secretive way.

As another year went by, I started using online dating apps like Bumble and Tinder to hopefully meet other women in the LGBTQ+ community. I had an immense need of feeling seen, while still trying to keep it hidden. It ultimately transpired into a beautiful time in my life with being able to connect and form relationships with other queer women outside of the dance world. This was finally a moment and realization within myself in which I felt completely whole inside. It was as if everything was lining up correctly and the beginning stages of accepting my sexuality was happening. Along the way, I met beautiful and inspiring women who helped me find the confidence to come out of the closet. If I hadn’t found this community outside of the ballet world, I am not sure I would have had the courage to openly start talking about being a lesbian. These women reiterated to me that what matters most in our lives’ is being able to be true to ourselves, regardless of the opinions that may come from other people. Living a life in fear of being seen for who we truly are is not much of a life full of living. So, with the courage building up inside over time, I was able to really hone in on the life that belonged to me. My life in which now says, "I'm gay!"

I fully came out when I was 22 years old. It was a time in my life that was held onto tightly with a bundle of nerves but became one of the most liberating moments I had ever faced. During that time, I was also on the move to Boston to join the Boston Ballet. With myself recently having come out of the closet, I knew that was the perfect time to shine a light on my gayness. I felt invincible! My time spent in Boston was truly what I needed. What a feeling it was for the first time to really understand the freedom of being out and proud. With experiencing my life in a new and authentic way, it now has led me to where I am today. Among my present eye, I find liberation in expressing who I am in its entirety while being proud of my truest self of expression. It is wonderful to have a clearer vision in seeing and recognizing that there are many other women just like me in this world.


Throughout this journey of mine, I have become more aware on how important it is to use my voice. There is a loving drive and passion within me to spread hope and encouragement to others who are struggling with coming out and accepting who they are. We are amongst a dance world in which queer women are misrepresented more often than not and it is difficult to notice the lack of recognition amongst our authentic selves. It is now, because of my own journey, that I am wanting to build a stronger community for all LGBTQ+ women in the dance world. My journey has ultimately led me to connect with each and every one of you. To share our stories together and continue to inspire.


Be proud of YOU.


Your gay friend,

Lauren









526 views1 comment
 

© 2020 Queer Women Dancers. All rights reserved.