January 29, 2011


Teresa, age 8
Bloomington, CA (1984)

I remember as a kid, I was always a tomboy. I always hung around boys - or girls that were tomboys. I spent the most time with my uncle who's only 5 years older than me. He was always more like my brother than my uncle. I loved playing all sports with him, including tackle football.

"I was never a girlie girl"
I guess I always knew I was different from the girlie girls, and my favorite past times were catching lizards, climbing trees (I climbed ones that even the boys wouldn't, because they were afraid of spiders!), and I loved going fishing with my grandpa.

When I was about 4 years old I asked my mom, 'Are you sure I'm not a boy?' My mom tried very hard to make me a girlie girl, but it never worked. Although, once she entered me in a local beauty pageant when I was 10, and I won 2nd runner-up Queen.

Coming out to my parents was a very negative experience for me. I've learned over the years to just not bring up the fact that I'm a lesbian to them.

But I now have a wonderful life partner. We just celebrated our 13th anniversary together, and we have a 7-year old daughter that we adopted together.

Fortunately, my partner's family is very supportive of our relationship, and our daughter is able to grow up having a typical grandparent relationship with them.

I've found in my life that I have been very fortunate to have wonderful supportive friends that I consider my family. My partner, daughter and I are very involved in our Unitarian Universalist church, and we have many wonderful close friends in our congregation that we consider family as well.

My advise for young people struggling with coming out is: Be yourself, you're beautiful just the way you are, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If coming out is a negative experience for you, I can understand what you're going through. I've learned in my life to just surround myself with those that accept me as I am, and not who they want me to be.

I know things may be hard right now, but trust me that as you get older and surround yourself with those that love you and accept you as you are, you'll discover that the ones that didn't accept you are the ones with the problem.

You are beautiful just the way you are.

Teresa's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Nancy McKeon (Jo on "Facts Of Life")
I remember how much I loved that show because of her. She didn't care that she was different from the other girls, and wasn't afraid to just be herself.


Karen said...

Teresa, you are an inspiration to many. You are also an amazing mother and role model for your daughter because she knows she can be whatever God has in store for her and still be "good" and beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

Cyndi Archer said...

Hi Teresa, so good to hear your story of coming out! As Karen said, you are an inspiration to many people. You are an awesome parent, and one of the best friends any person could ever ask for, and I am very proud and honored to call you my friend. I love ya girl, and you are beautiful "just" as you are... and you help other gay and lesbians to come to the realization that they are beautiful just as they are too, and that being gay, bi, or lesbian is not something that a person "does" but who they/we are.... and that's okay... they/we no matter if we are gay, lesbian, bi, straight... or what ever we are, it's okay to be "us" ....we are beautiful that way!!

Anonymous said...

You know, to KNOW your kid is born a certain way, but still shame them about it, as though they WANT to be something that their Mom finds disgusting... that is the kind of parent I promise to never be. I can't share that side of myself with my family, either, and it still makes my life feel incomplete. I hope to be able to surround myself with a "family" of accepting friends like you have.

Anonymous said...

I looooooved Jo!!

Lindsey Hollands said...

I'm glad you found the Unitarian Universalists. I've grown up in the UU church in Texas and I've always found it to be an accepting family :)

Teresa said...

To anonymous: Trust me your true "family" is out there. I learned a long time ago that you don't have to be related by blood to consider someone a part of your family. Like I said my coming out experience was very bad especially because of how my mom reacted. I went a long time disliking myself because if your own mother wont accept you as you are, who will? I talk to my mom every day almost but I can never bring up the fact that I'm gay and that does hurt me but I'm at the point in my life that I feel like if someone can't accept me as I am they just don't need to be a part of my life. My partner and I have moved to another state now to be closer to her family and I've been able to see experience what it's like to be loved by people that accept me as I am.
Lindsey: The UU church is awesome. I've found them to be the most accepting of the gay community and like I said I consider the members of our congregation our "family" as well
Karen and Cyndi: You know I love you guys. You are an inspiration to me as well. You are definitely friends that I consider "family". Love ya!