Melissa’s Series, Part 8: Coming Out, Bit by Bit

Part 8 of Melissa’s story, Unwrapping the Onion, is now posted. This one is titled Coming Out, Bit by Bit.  Here is an excerpt:

The summer of 2011 was significant in another way too. I had arranged to meet up with a friend that I had made over the internet, and I was planning on maybe coming out to her if it felt right. It would be the first time I had told anyone I knew about our journey, and I made my pick carefully. Libby Anne had grown up in a similar Christian conservative environment, and had changed a lot of what she believed over time. She seemed very open and friendly, and she was an atheist, so I had hopes that she wouldn’t condemn me unheard. We met in person with Libby and her husband, and hit it off just fine. I broached the topic of LGBTQ rights and she seemed very caring and open. Before I told her our secret, I reminded myself that she was someone I had just met, and if she reacted in a really hateful way, I didn’t have to see her ever again. That gave me the courage to just come out and say it. But she was completely accepting of our story, and she became someone I could chat with about all the questions. It was a relief to be completely open with someone, and it seemed to bolster my courage.

Did you see that, did you see that? I get a mention! I now count Melissa as a dear friend and we frequently correspond via email and phone. :-)

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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Incongruous Circumspection

    Wicked awesome.

  • Charlesbartley

    I wasn’t surprised at the friend being you, or at your reaction to her revelation. Hugs to both of you. It is an enthalling story of love, and I am so thankful for her sharing it with us.

    The more I leave Christianity behind, the more I feel open to love and to the amazing diversity that is humanity. I keep learning that “Everyone isn’t like me” is something to be celebrated not feared and ostracized.

    • MrPopularSentiment

      I find it interesting that you say that. I used to love studying history when I was in High School, and I remember noticing a pattern – that whenever something terrible happened in a society and the people were shocked and afraid, religion suddenly becomes very legalistic and intolerant of diversity. We saw it in Israel after the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and the Christians were suddenly persecuted and denied the right to worship among other Jews (since they really were still Jews at the time). We see it again just after 9/11. And we see it on a more subtle scale where countries seem to take religion less seriously the better the quality of life is.

      I’ve always wondered how much of religion is actually just an emotional response to feeling insecure. Religion offers a complete worldview, free from the unknowns of withholding judgement until the evidence is in. Religion offers a system, a rational way for the universe to work, and an assumption of consistency. Abrahamic religions reduce the world into predictable and easily recognizable “sides” – everything good is Godly, everything we don’t like is from Satan.

      So it makes sense that as you move away from religion, you start to feel more comfortable in your encounters with the “Other” – and, I would assume, it’s something of a feedback loop. You’re leaving B&W thinking behind which is making otherness seem less threatening which is making you feel more confident in leaving B&W thinking behind…

      In any case, I’m really enjoying Melissa’s story. How amazing is it that she, as a woman who is secretly attracted to women, would just happen to be in a marriage with a man who secretly feels like he is/should be a woman? And how wonderful that they’ve been able to explore themselves and each other together, and mutually support each other as they heal and become the people they need to be!

      • Eamon Knight

        How amazing is it that she, as a woman who is secretly attracted to women, would just happen to be in a marriage with a man who secretly feels like he is/should be a woman?
        Statistics says it has to happen occasionally — just think of all the straight+cis people whose spouses, over time, figure out that they’re not quite who everyone thought they were, but they just break up quietly and never blog about it. But, yeah, somehow I gotta figure that Melissa’s covert lesbian recognized his covert woman, and that’s why they hit it off so well.

    • Paula G V aka Yukimi

      Seeing the mostly positive responses she is getting is warming my heart too ^^

      I didn’t imagine that Libby Anne had known about this from so long ago, this makes me wonder if the trans woman she knew was Melissa’s spouse. I’m too curious heheh. Anyway I’m glad Libby Anne was there to support her =)

      • Libby Anne

        Heh. Yes. It was. I “met” a trans woman in an internet forum a few years ago, but Melissa’s spouse is the first I’d ever actually met or had any contact with in person. But yeah, I’ve known what was going on with Melissa and all since last summer. And then I got to watch the last bit unfold and be there for Melissa to email dump on me. :-)

      • Melissa@Permission to Live

        Yes, thank goodness! I’ve appreciated our friendship so much, somehow it’s hard to express that in a paragragh in a blogpost. :)

      • Libby Anne