On these pages you'll read coming out stories of the lives of real people from the greater Fox Valley.
It’s an age-old question: Should you tell someone you're gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered? Or in other words Should you come out of the closet? How do you come of of
the closet? Chances are (since most of us have been there!) that you've felt forced to keep your sexual orientation secret from others. We’re devoting space to share some coming out stories. We'd like to hear your stories.
How did you "come out"?
Let us know. Send a few lines or a couple of paragraphs to email@example.com . Include as much of your name and locale as you feel comfortable revealing: i.e., "Ralph -- Antigo" or "B.D. -- Kewaunee County." We'll post your stories below.
Theresa Weise-Green Bay
My story begins after I ended a heterosexual relationship of 13 years. I decided it would be in my best interest to take some time to find myself. So I moved into "my" first duplex and attempted to do so. About a year later, I began doing more and more with a co-worker, well actually my boss. Our friendship gradually grew, until that magical day when it all made sense. I guess somewhere deep down I knew I was attracted to women, but until this time it
never transpired. Before we became a couple, I knew I was getting interested by my jealousy, my desire to speak to her daily, and my excitement to see her. It all makes sense now, but at the time I was quite scared. What would my family think, would I be treated badly, would there be violence against me,like I had seen on TV. But we took the chance and it has been 4+ years and growing each day. I have never felt so happy in a relationship. Finally, my soulmate, who would have
thought it would have been a woman.
So anyway when I told my sister she said " I know", my cousin was excited, and my mom, well she was very quiet. It took her awhile to accept this transition. She would ask me " is it because of the way men have treated you?" and "what if you broke up would you go back to men?'. I guess she called my sister one
day and vented to her, asking her questions and easing her confusion. Even my religious sister said " I don't agree with it, but you are my sister and nothing will change that." So I have been very fortunate that my family and friends have been supportive. Even at my workplaces people have been accepting. The only discrimination I have had was a nasty religious flyer put on our fence at home. Besides that, I feel very grateful for the understanding. Green Bay can
be quite conservative, but I have not personally been victim to it.
Since then my partner (still not quite use to that word) Julie and I have had a commitment ceremony in Maui, it was beautiful. We have purchased a beautiful old home in what I am learning is GB's gay district, and we are the proud parents of two dogs, Romeo and Juliette, and a cat named Dante.
I hope my fortune can help someone else come out to their family or friends. Oh yeah, and I had to quit my job where Julie and I worked, but it was sooo worth it.
John Olski -- Door County
At work, the YMCA Board of Directors disbanded after a morning meeting. A passing
coworker said she didn't know why anyone would devote volunteer time to dull meetings. I offered that meetings wouldn't be dull if one believed in the organization, a point with which another coworker agreed. I then remembered having seen the second coworker's photo in the local paper, in conjunction with an organization for which she is a board member. She looked surprised when I mentioned it, but was pleased to explain the organization to the first woman.
Only then did it occur to me that I also serve on a board of directors. I mentioned this, and both of my coworkers looked surprised, like grade-schoolers encountering a teacher in the supermarket and realizing that he also has to shop. I said that the organization is Positive Voice and added that it serves gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in Northeast Wisconsin. The following silence was a moment of
hesitation that occurs when coming out: people are taught that "gay" is controversial, and they don't want to say the wrong thing. I helped out by adding that it isn't easy to find resources and meet people in a rural area, to which the first coworker replied "Isn't that true."
If I didn't say "I'm gay," I think I suggested it. At the very least, I
revealed myself to be more than just a desk clerk, because I support GLBT people.