• Charmaine Lang

Journey to Me: How I Came Out to Myself and Embraced All of Me [For Harriet]

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

I was considered the good daughter. The one who did everything she was supposed to do.

So, I paraded around as a heterosexual Black woman until I decided that I no longer wanted to deny my queer identity.

I saw her sitting in the room during a morning break at a conference. Beautiful, with big hair framing her face. I was drawn to this woman. I had, before then, never been instantly drawn to anyone, especially a woman.

She was sitting at the table with two other women of color, and a white woman. I went over and introduced myself. I would see her throughout the conference, almost as if something was bringing us together. I wanted to get closer to her. And, at the same time, I did not want to get closer, for fear of what it would mean to my pretense as a straight woman.

She invited me to dinner the next day, and I gave her every excuse as to why I could not accept her invitation. At the time, I didn’t even know her intentions. I didn’t know if she was attracted to me, or just wanted someone to accompany her to a restaurant. At dinner she stared at me. Making me even more uncomfortable. I would not return her gaze, though I admired her beauty from my peripheral vision, and quietly wondered how it would feel to hold her hand, or run my fingers through her hair.

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