Before I knew what a lesbian was, I knew of my attraction to girls but it seemed only natural and complementary to my attraction to boys. My continual interest in art gave me a nice excuse to have pictures of nude women up on my wall, and I punched my guy friends in high school for telling me that my new haircut made me look like a dyke.
It wasn’t until I got to college that I met intelligent, attractive and out queer friends. When I learned that a friend of mine was queer, I asked many questions to try and figure out if I might also be queer. During my sophomore year, my suitemates were a gay male couple. They were probably the biggest influence on my coming out, since I knew that they had only come out a year earlier. It was their example that was inspiring and comforting.
Coming out at college wasn’t the big deal to be honest. I found my first girlfriend within a few months of my coming out and at my liberal college, the news was certainly talked about. But if anything, the reactions were extremely positive.
Last year when I went to Beijing to do research and study Chinese, I was curious to explore the queer scene. I met lots of queer men and women and felt extremely nourished by getting to talk to so many Asian queer folk. Then when I got to the queer capital of Asia, A.K.A. Taipei, Taiwan, I entered an incredibly positive and welcoming queer scene. I first discovered the lesbian specialty shop and meditation center, Love Boat (http://lesloveboat.com/) and from there got to know dozens of Taiwanese and foreigner lesbians, including my Taiwanese girlfriend.
Nine months later, and eight months into a relationship with a Taiwanese woman, I decided I needed to tell my parents. I’m back in the U.S. which is important because I wanted to make sure I told them face to face. I did a lot of research for tips on how to come out to conservative and Asian parents. Finally, I chose the date and went into it expecting the worst. To my surprise they were supportive, calm and really great about it. That’s the thing; you never know what will happen unless you try it. You can image how liberated I feel and now that I’ve gone over this hurdle, I can do just about anything! Not too surprising, given the fact that prior to coming out to my parents, I had to live two separate lives: one that was parents friendly, the other for my friends and lover.