The internet had been available to the public for years but I wasn’t really aware of it until my brother installed the 56K modem on our old desktop for the first time in 1998. I immediately went to AltaVista.com and searched for the words “constant craving“, “lesbian” along with “playboy” because that’s where I first read the word “lesbian” during my daily search of my brother’s closet. Oh, the irony.
“Constant Craving” came about after a few weeks of hearing it playing on the radio. The lyrics spoke to me and I wanted to know what the singer looked like. A few key strokes and AltaVista gave me pictures of K.D Lang wearing a tuxedo and other masculine attires as the “most popular answers.” So there was someone out there, well into their adulthood who dressed masculine and was in the public eye. It felt like I had won the lottery.
From there, I researched everything about her life, and soon after that I came across an article of Ellen DeGeneres giving her some sort of an award and it ended with a picture of Ellen kissing K.D…Well, I’d have to say I was very intrigue by the reaction it caused my body to have. Prior to this, I have had some idea of how I was different from other kids but I didn’t quite know what to call myself. So now I had the word but I was still uncomfortable about applying it to myself.
A year later, I turned 15. I told myself I need to settle this and soon, so I stood in front of a mirror and mouthed just one word while staring at my own face: Lesbian…over and over, thinking to myself, is this the face of a lesbian? Finally, I no longer mouth the word, I whispered it to myself, then louder and louder, trying to have it penetrate my skull through my ears and having my tongue roll and taste the word.
In hindsight, I should have known that if it had taken me that long to convince myself to use the word lesbian, it just wasn’t for me–many years later, I came out as gender nonconforming.