July 05, 2011


Denise, age 5
Chicago, Illinois (1963)

I would have thought that being thrown out of the Girl Scouts when I was 8 -
for being caught in my sleeping bag with one of my female camp counselors - would have tipped someone off!

Like many before me, I knew early on I was "different" but so afraid to name it.
I didn't want to be a disappointment to my parents and family. Growing up in a large Italian family was tough enough.

Being a lesbian would have destroyed them. Or so I thought. Of course, like most Italian families, we didn't dare talk about such things!

I tried to be correct in my clothes choices and my dating, etc. Although always in sports (clue #2), I pretty much stuck to myself except for the occasional date with a guy to keep my family happy.

I eventually met a nice man named James.
And he put up with a lot from me.

James and I married, and I struggled the entire marriage to make it feel "right." And I wanted to be "normal" in the worst way. We finally divorced and went our separate ways when I met a woman at work, who turned my world upside down.

I officially came out to my family then. And guess what? They weren't surprised!
I was prepared for drama that never came; only love for me through my journey.

I eventually met my current partner in 1983. And we have been friends, lovers, and partners in life ever since. We have 2 beautiful teenage sons, own our own businesses, and a home in Denver, CO. And although our state doesn’t recognize our relationship, all the people that matter and mean the most to us, do.

One day, hopefully soon, we may be able to get legally married.
So my message is this: It does get better. Stay true to you.

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the island guy said...

Awe great story!

Laura said...

Denise, thanks for your story. I can "identify" in so many ways. Its good to know I'm not alone. Laura

Just Two Chicks said...

Love it!!!

Nonnieyrissa said...

*I do realize now that my father was right in this instance, what I saw as a relationship was actually a predator preying on an insecure teen, as I am sure you realized about the scout counselor in your situation, and it is important to distinguish between relationship and molestation and not glorify pedophilia because of the harm it does both to the children involved and society in general, as well as the stigma to the LGBTQ community by people that try to connect LGBTQ and pedophilia. The two have nothing in common. Pedophiles come in every sexuality including hetero. It was hard for me to not look back on her and the time we shared fondly because it was the first time I could completely express myself to another human-being and not fear judgement.

Nonnieyrissa said...

Sorry, that was even longer than I expected and apparently my browser even fell asleep a few times because my comments are posted out of order. :/

DJ Paul V. said...

Nonnieyrissa - please do not use the comments section to post something that long. If you'd like to write up something as an official submission, that's fine. I'm sorry, but I had to delete the rest - Paul

Anonymous said...

Now you can get legally married in Colorado! (Well, civil union-ed, but it's at least a step!)