Even though I knew that I was a lesbian early on in my childhood, everyone comes to their own self-discovery at different points and stages in your life. You might even go through several stages of discovering and coming to terms with your sexual identity before you’re sure of who you are and that’s totally ok!
While there’s no such thing as an official checklist to follow when it comes to knowing if you're lesbian, gay, or anywhere along the spectrum, I did want to share my experiences and the signs in my life that helped me come to terms with my identity.
1. I had my first real crush on a girl
In 3rd grade, I had my first crush on a girl. She was older (a 6th grader) and the President of Student Council at the time (so super smart) and really pretty.
I would daydream scenarios in my head where I would accidentally run into her in the open school courtyard while she was carrying a stack of books.
Her books would fall onto the floor and little chivalrous me would help her pick them up and strike up a flirty conversation using my 3rd grader charms.
How did I come up with this vivid, imaginary scene? I have no idea...but this would be the beginning of me falling in love with girls for the rest of my life.
2. I only wanted to be in relationships with girls
Once I realized that I was attracted to girls at an early age, I also realized that I was attracted to them in a way that was more than just an objective, “Oh I think she’s pretty,” but a deeper type of emotional, physical and romantic attraction that I never had with boys.
I wanted to be in actual relationships with and date the girls I had crushes on.
While I did also date and have relationships with guys, it was always out of the desire to “fake it until you make it” and conform with what other girls were doing.
None of the relationships I ever had with guys felt meaningful because of a lack of emotional investment in them.
3. I scoured the internet for any type of lesbian content I could find
I devoured whatever I could find at that time (even lesbian movies with terrible endings).
Some of these VHS tapes are probably still secretly hidden in my childhood bedroom...
4. All of my celebrity crushes were women
I was a huge Britney Spears fan growing up. Note that this was during the early 90s when she could still be seen as a role model for girls and before she went crazy.
I remember a time when I was browsing the magazine section at my local grocery store and there was a group of teenage girls holding a Just for Teens (J-14) magazine with Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake on the cover.
They were upset that Justin was dating Britney and started saying mean things about her.
I, on the other hand, was upset that Britney was dating a dude!
5. I watched rom-coms for the girl
While most of my female friends were talking about how cute the male actor in the latest rom-com was and how they would love to be the female love interest, I was always thinking about the opposite.
I wanted to be that guy in the movie that got the girl.
I would daydream and reenact the cheesy, romantic scenes in my head with the main female character in the movie as my love interest and secretly hope that one day I could actually live out my love story in real life.
I was a hopeless romantic.
Thankfully, I’ve now found the love of my life and reality is better than any rom-com I could've ever imagined.
6. I wanted to be the best girlfriend a girl could ask for
Growing up, I saw a lot of the women that I cared about in my life being treated terribly by their husbands and boyfriends. Of course, this is not a necessary precursor to being gay and it's definitely NOT to say that all men are terrible–I have some great guys in my life that I really respect.
For me personally, one of the signs I noticed early on was a strong desire to want to treat women really well.
I realized that what I truly enjoyed was going the extra mile to make a girl I liked happy.
More than anything, I wanted to be in a relationship with a girl and be able to give her everything she deserved while being the best girlfriend/partner she could have.
It was easy for me to think of the endless romantic things and thoughtful acts of service that I would do for a girl that I was dating.
And again, I never had these same desires for guys.
7. I would only be heartbroken by girls
Whenever I listened to a sad song about heartbreak or unrequited love, I would imagine the girl that I had a crush on.
I couldn’t care less if a guy I was dating at the time didn’t call or text me, but I would overanalyze every word a girl I liked texted me and agonize for days if she stopped talking to or texting me.
I never got jealous if any of my boyfriends liked another girl, but I would be heartbroken whenever a girl I liked started dating a guy.
8. I kissed a girl and I loved it
Eventually, I had my first relationship with a girl in high school and when I had my first kiss with her, it felt like I was finally myself. And that just sealed the deal.
Other Little Hints
Growing up, I was also a tomboy and dressed like one until peer pressure and bullying happened.
I was also athletic and loved playing sports (basketball, football, baseball, etc.).
This is definitely not to say that being a tomboy and liking sports makes you gay, and I can only speak from my personal experience, but these were some additional things that always made me different from many of my other female peers and served as more hints to myself that I might be gay.
Knowing You’re Lesbian and Coming Out are Different Things
Even though you think you might be gay, you still might not want to fully admit it and come out to yourself until later and that’s absolutely ok.
For example, while I knew at a young age that I was a lesbian, I also knew that it wasn’t something that was “normal” or “acceptable” to tell anyone about and more than anything, I didn't want to disappoint my mom and bring shame to our family.
I was willing to sacrifice my own happiness at that time for theirs.
Thus, coming out to my friends and family came at a much later time for me.
Similarly, for Chia, she knew she was a lesbian even earlier than I did (and I thought 3rd grade was young!), but she didn’t come out to herself until much later in college and even later to her family and friends.
Like I mentioned earlier, there’s no set list of criteria and interests that you must have before you confirm that you’re a lesbian, but hopefully, reading this was still valuable and helped you answer a few questions you might have had.
As always, if you’re having trouble navigating these issues or you just want to talk to someone, you can ask us anything here and we’ll do our best to provide you with our honest answers and experiences.
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