When I was in high school in the 80’s, nobody was out of the closet. There were people you might have guessed were gay — gaydar is a thing after all. But no one was willing to admit it.
Growing up in a Texas suburb, being queer wasn’t safe.
Everyday life was closely interwoven with the dominant religious doctrine of the area. And while teenagers would rebel with drinking or sex. Admitting you were gay was crossing an invisible line from safety to danger. And almost no one dared.
It’s no wonder I wasn’t able to consciously recognize my own queerness back then. On some level I knew I was a lesbian. I remember having an undeniable crush on a girl during my sophomore year. But I somehow rationalized it away because being gay just wasn’t an option.
I had been taught — and wholeheartedly believed — that being queer was fundamentally bad. My...