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Coming Out Story LGBTQ

Erica’s Coming Out Story: The Parents

Photo by Arie Wubben on Unsplash

It was the June 26th of 2010 in Chicago. I took Belmont to the Kennedy Expressway south on my way to Jackson Park in my teal Chevy Cavalier. I don’t remember the meetup spot, but I remember the girl with a Jack Russell Terrier in a carrier on the back of her motorcycle. I followed her to the Dyke March and sought her out to meet her “casually.”

She was my first girlfriend. It didn’t last very long, but long enough to officially make my way out of the closet.

I was visiting with my parents in my childhood living room. They were sitting in one corner, my mom on the end of the couch and my dad in the rocking chair next to her. I sat in the other corner, in the swivel chair by the TV. We were talking about what I was going to do about my car that had just broken down.

There was a lull in the conversation and I thought, “Well, now is as good of a time as ever to tell them.”

“I need to tell you something.” My heart was pounding. “I’m dating a woman.”

Silence.

Then my mom said, “Well maybe your brother, Ben, can fix your car. Y’know, he used to work at the gas station.”

My mother is terribly hard of hearing. She had a cochlear implant in one ear and had 15% hearing in the other. She often misses discussions and has been known to have her own conversations with people who are trying to talk to her about something else. Once my friend asked where the garbage was and she responded that there were Cokes and Sprites in the basement fridge.

“Joan, your daughter just said she is dating a woman.”

“I know,” my mom responded. “I just thought maybe Ben might be able to help. I know she’s short on funds right now.”

I didn’t expect a celebration. I didn’t expect an explosion, either — my p’s are pretty hip people. But the complete lack of non-attention to the fact that I was dating a woman was surprisingly perfect.

It’s 12 years later and I live in Reno with my partner of almost 10 years. We just moved here and are exploring the city’s LGBTQ culture slowly. I hope to share that with you. Thank you for reading. Please subscribe to hear about all my LGBTQ adventures in Reno.

By Erica Pionke

Erica Pionke moved to Reno/Sparks, Nevada in March 2020 and is finally now getting out into the world and exploring all of its queer offerings with her hilarious and loving partner of 10 years, Debbie.

Erica is an avid outdoorsperson and a self-inflicted seeker of education. She works for the government, in realty, and has a history going back to her earlier years in law school, in real estate, zoning, and land management.

2 replies on “Erica’s Coming Out Story: The Parents”

Brave story, Erica. Being vulnerable is not the easiest thing in the world. I’m glad that society is moving in a place where we can just be ourselves, it’s slow, but we are getting there.

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