"... I fell completely in love with her."
Hi fellow blog readers! I’ll preface this with my general story. When I was about 15, I had this best friend. We spent all of our time dancing together and would have really intense conversations about all of our thoughts and feelings, so we eventually started to talk about girls. She was the first person I came out to, and I was the first person she came out to. Although I technically came out as “maybe I AM interested in girls? Unless you aren’t, then that’s totally weird.” We grew really close because of that, and to no one’s surprise I fell completely in love with her. Then she got a boyfriend, and I wanted to punch him in the face. Long story short, she chose the boyfriend, and I went through my very first heartbreak. That’s the very beginning of my gay story, anyway. I guess in the grand scheme it’s still the beginning; I’m now 18.
Since then, I’ve moved cities, come out to my family and friends, managed to get my heart broken again, and am just on the verge of becoming a professional ballet dancer. Life is exciting, but that’s not to say it’s been smooth sailing. I chose to come out to my peers right off the bat when I joined a new pre-professional school one year ago. It made the coming out process less painful for me overall, but it opened the door to many, many jokes at my expense. At worst, I was treated as a novelty. I’ve been ridiculed, called names (dyke being a popular choice), and put in extremely uncomfortable situations by my peers. I’m not particularly femme, so I was certainly teased for the way I dress. It’s important to note that I never felt unsafe around teachers and artistic staff— although I’m not sure how many of them know I’m gay— but it was a small number of my classmates who were responsible for my worst experiences. At best, though, I got to make a new life for myself away from my hometown where I could be independent and wonderfully, authentically myself. I’ve made some of the closest friends I’ve ever had— friends who truly understand me because they listened when I shared my experiences and love me for all that I am. They’re funny, genuine people who I love dearly. For me, it was an easy choice to make. As many of you know, the burden of hiding who you are is often harder to bear than the repercussions you might face when you tell the truth.
I wanted to write this to thank not only Lauren for creating this amazing and necessary community but also the other female (or otherwise not cis, gay, male) dancers who are out right now. I am incredibly grateful for the gift of visibility that social media has granted us in this day and age. As has been said before, “representation is everything.” Thank you to the dancers who post their pictures at pride, who have little rainbows in their bios, and who practically speak in code to let me and others know you’re queer (i.e. girl in red). To those of you who are my age: I see you, and we’re in this together.
After I decided to pursue a career in ballet knowing I would be one of the few lesbian dancers, I developed this weird fantasy where I’d pull a Sue Bird and come out to the dance world at the peak of my career in a shocking Pointe Magazine article or something. But this is good, too. :) This way, I get to start my career knowing that there is a wonderful community of queer women in ballet out there. Through this blog, I get to hear your stories and share my own.
Right now, I’m going to sign anonymously because I’m feeling tentative about being officially out on social media, but I’ll get there sooner rather than later. I am beyond grateful for those of you reading, writing, and being a part of this blog. Over and out!