Being a lesbian in a Christian family - By Stephanie Vagias

It all started when I was thirteen: for the whole year, I was confused as to whether I liked girls or not. I never told or mentioned this to anyone. At the time, I wasn’t aware my parents were homophobic. There were times at school where I just really wanted to say “Hey, I’m gay,” to my friends but I always held myself back, and I never really knew why. Also, at that time I was having a bit of an identity crisis, and I had labelled myself as non-binary, and I was comfortable with that for a while.

After quite a few months, I had decided to come out to my friends in probably not the best way. I had made an Instagram group chat with around ten to fifteen people that I knew I could trust to not tell anyone, not even their parents. I thought it was going to really well, which it somewhat was, and people were very accepting and supportive. It wasn’t until my best friend had read it and texted me about it that I realized that a group chat might not be a great way to come out. At the time, I thought she was going to be super supportive about it and accept me.

It wasn’t like I hoped it to be. She just repeatedly told me that I wasn’t gay because I like some celebrities. She listed female celebrities that we both like and told me that just because I like them doesn’t mean I am in love with them or that I am in any way gay. It went on like that for a while until she started crying. She told me that I was making her cry and the one thing she kept on saying was “Stephanie, you’re Greek; you can’t be gay.” That was like a real kick in the guts, and I absolutely had no idea what to say, so I just ignored her. It was around 9pm, so I had to go to bed anyway. But, there was one person on that chat that I had no idea that they had told their parents. I didn’t realise that their parents were going to tell mine.

It was then that I realised that I maybe should have told my parents first. I was lying in my bed and my mum had come to say goodnight and she mentioned that I came out to several people online on a group chat. She asked me if I wanted to sleep with girls. I replied with a “no” and I proceeded to tell her that there was more than that to a same-sex relationship. I said to her that it’s exactly like how a straight couple have a relationship except we’re the same sex. She told me that I was too young, and then she made me tell those several people that I was just confused. My best friend was so happy about that, and she told me that she knew all along I was never gay, and that I was just too young to be thinking like that. She said it was just because I go to a girl school anyway. But, I still wasn’t sure that I wasn’t actually gay; I still felt like I liked girls.

When I was fourteen, I confirmed to my friends that I am, in fact, comfortable with the terms she/her. In that whole year, I had problems thinking about my sexuality. I forced myself to like guys even though I really didn’t, but at times I thought that I may be bisexual or pansexual. For that whole time, I just questioned my sexuality, until the end of the year. I was sitting with a bunch of people who I was friends with at the time. I briefly told them my past experiences with figuring out my sexuality and I decided to come out as bisexual to them. After I shared that, my friend came out as pansexual and bigender to us, and everyone was super accepting and supportive about it. I kept that a secret from my best friend and my parents. Also, in that same year my other best friend came out as transgender FTM to me, and I accept and support him.

When I was fifteen (I’m still fifteen, but I’m turning sixteen soon) I became quite confused again and it was just back and forth. I talked to my pan and bigender friend about it a lot, and she was super helpful about all of it. After quite a while of being really confused about my sexuality, I finally rested on the fact that I am lesbian, and this time I was 100% certain, and nobody could tell me otherwise. It was around the middle of the year that I had confirmed to all of my friends that I am lesbian. I decided that I was confident to tell my best friend again that I am a lesbian, and I got my other friend to help me. I told her this time I was 100% certain, and she said the exact same thing she said 2 years ago, but she didn’t cry. A week later, I decided to come out to my parents again and my mom asked once again “Do you want to sleep with girls?” and this time I said yes, but not yet. She did proceed to ask me questions, but they were different ones this time like, “Who put these ideas into your head?” “Do I have to move you schools?” “What do you mean you’re gay?” “What if you lose your friends?” then she said stuff like, “Don’t just go around telling others.” “Don’t tell your grandma; she’ll be upset.”

This was also around the time Australia decided to send out a plebiscite for same-sex marriage to be legalised. My mum was monitoring me a lot at that time, and I had gotten into a lot of trans youtubers and my mum wanted to know who they all were. She finally worked out who they and what they identified as, and my mum had come up to me and told me that if I ever came out as trans, she would never let me transition. That I must admit, did hurt me quite a lot, to think that if I could have come out as trans, I would never be able to be myself or be accepted in the family.

When the news came out that there were more yes votes than not for the same-sex marriage, I was so happy. But, I did know for a fact that my mum had voted no, and that my dad didn’t vote. When it was then legalised, I was even more happy, and I shared it on my Instagram and snapchat and overall got positive reviews. However, I know that my parents weren’t happy for that happening, and my mum had made a few stupid comments about. In the end of that whole year, people told me to stop being friends with my best friend, and as much as I agreed to do that, I can’t. It’s not safe for me to do that when my parents could find out, and it wouldn’t be very good environment to be in.

So now that I’ve reached this year, I am absolutely certain I am a lesbian, and I in fact have a crush on someone who is in the year above me. Me and my friends are all happy, and we share gay memes around to each other every now and then.

Now that I’m writing this article, I have just come out to my friends as non-binary again and I want to be able to wear a binder. As I told my friends that, they were all supportive about it. My trans best friend is going to help me get a visa, and my bigender and a selection of my straight friends are willing to allow me to ship the binder off to their house so my parents don’t see or find out. I know that I’ve got more years to come with more things to experience, but it’s been a long ride so far, and I am happy with where I’m at right now. We just have to remember that it will all work out in the end.

-  Stephanie Vagias

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