Coming out Later iN life?
Welcome, welcome, welcome! I am so glad that you are found this page. First of all, Congratulations! I am so happy that you have embarked this journey to acknowledge your sexuality and no matter where you are on this journey you are so very welcome here. I provide online support, resources and conferences for people who are coming out later in life and those who love them. If you live in the Nashville area we can meet in person!
What is later in life?
That is totally self-defined and I have worked with people as young as 25 and over 70.
I was married for 27 years to a man and I have four children. For some of us acknowledging our sexuality is a very difficult thing to do. Although I know I was attracted to women in my younger years, I thought every straight woman had these feelings and instead of acknowledging them I chose to deny. It wasn't until I was in my early 40's and read a magazine article about the fluidity of women's sexuality was I able to put words to my feelings and experiences. Over the course of 10 years I tried to come out of the closet three different times. It wasn't until I was ordained as a minister that I found the courage to let go of pieces of my life and embrace the person who I created to be and finally began to live authentically. You can read my story here
The later coming out process can be challenging as it is a reordering of how we have viewed ourselves in the world. It can be a letting go process of long term marriages and relationships. It often is a sharing of our identity with those with whom we have always sought approval, spouses, children, parents, family and friends. I have found it very helpful to look at this process through the lens of grief, because grief is our bodies physical emotional and spiritual response to loss. Conversely this also an experience of finding your tribe and perhaps falling in love with the gender that is correct for our emotional, spiritual and physical needs. It is an experience of opposites and I would not trade this experience for anything in the world. It is both difficult and easy, painful and healing, letting go and grabbing hold, bitter and so very sweet.
I am now several years out of the closet, much changed and healed by this experience. I moved from New England to Nashville, TN to live with my partner. I worked for the last decade as a chaplain in both hospitals and hospices. I also worked as a bereavement counselor and grief support group leader. I believe my previous life prepared for this moment. My partner compare coming out (she has been out for 30 years) to crossing a very deep swift flowing river, that once we are in, we cannot go back and we have to keep going until we are on the other side. I on the other side now and want to support the "newbies" and the "sort of newbies" as well as those who are just exploring their sexuality in the LGBTQ community. Confidentiality and privacy is imperative in my practice and either in one-on-one counseling or in a support group I promise to provide a safe place for YOU to be YOU.