By the time I was 14 I had learned three things about myself.
1. That I had a calling to be a sex worker and that would involve me having sex with predominantly men.
2. That I was a lesbian. All my friends were talking about the electricity the butterflies they felt when the boy they liked was near and I had yet to experience that. Then one day in science lab, a person leaned into me and doodled in my exercise book. I remember that moment like it was yesterday. In that instant I was sexually awake, my body was alive – and it was because of a girl.
3. That if I were to be accepted by society, by my peers, by my parents, I had to at all costs conceal my true self.
Listen: Madison talks to Mia Freedman about the differences between having sex with a man, and having sex with a woman. (Post continues after audio.)
We build closets and double lives because we value acceptance more than we value our true selves. I built mine because I wanted the approval and companionship of my friends, I wanted to be good enough for my parents, I wanted to fit in with society, I wanted to belong. The problem, however, is that while closets feel safe, they are lonely.
We speak about coming out like it’s an event, a moment in time in which we step out from the darkness into the light and then it’s done, were out. Coming out is more a process, it’s a collection of little disclosures, many moments of fear where we retreat back to the safety of the closet, but most importantly I’ve come to realise that coming out is a series of lessons we learn.