Finding My Own Voice
In honor of National Coming Out Day this Thursday, we’ve decided to run a series of blog posts from staff and volunteers about coming out. This installment is from staffer Kiki Poe.
In 1999, I went to Wisconsin along with 5 other students from San Francisco State University as student representatives of their on-campus housing community. We were up for program of the year and the team of us was to do a presentation to the board who would be deciding the winner. Our program was National Coming Out Week and our presentation consisted of us explaining things like the Stonewall riots, Harvey Milk, the difference between transsexual and transgendered among other notable topics.
Each of us was expected to discuss a portion of the presentation and I had to talk about queer identity, of course. At the time I was VERY closeted but was very aware of my attraction to females, had been for years. My best friend was my roommate during the conference and the only straight person in our group. I was terrified she would figure out my secret so I tested my acting skills and pretended to be super straight and played the uncomfortable role all weekend. I thought if I seemed too comfortable around “them” she’d guess it was because I was one of “them”. As a Black female in a historically Black sorority, I just wasn’t ready to deal with it all.
There was a party the last night of the conference and I had this intense urge to talk to someone, to finally say out loud that I liked women. It was time. Perfect enough the organizer of National Coming Out Week at the SFSU campus was also on the trip so I sought her out and poured my guts out! I felt so relieved. It still took me a year to come out to my closest friends and family but I started feeling a little more comfortable after building some friendships with a few supportive lesbian women. They helped me feel more comfortable in my skin.
I’m now a strong activist for the LGBTQ community after 13 years of finding my own voice. Coming out isn’t easy and I respect everyone’s journey. Thank you for sharing mine!