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[coming out stories]

Barbara Hathaway
High School Life Skills Teacher at ASDB, Tucson, AZ
October 11, 2004


I have been a lesbian since I was 16 years old in high school. Before I went to Gallaudet University in 1981, I had no clue what "lesbian or gay" really meant. I have never seen word, "lesbian or gay" itself. I guess I grew up in a "backward" country up in Montana.

I did date several men back then. I was able to be friends with them but when it comes more than that like making love, foreplay, or having sex. I had a hard time enjoying sex with men. I felt more like a fag when I made love to a man. Then in the fall of 1982, I made several female friends and I had no idea they were either bisexuals or lesbians.

There was a small private group on campus at Gallaudet University and I was invited to join into their group. Our group was named as "MMP". It was a promise by this group that we do not prevail of what it stands for. I was dragged into a dark room in Benson Hall by two gals (lucky, they were my friends!) and place in front of a "XXXX" candle in front. The leaders were behind the candles and stared at me, asking if I would be faithful to my friends if they invite me into their group. (I had no clue they had a private group of their own.) Again, I had no clue what they were talking about. I said, YEAH! Well, after I went through "probation" where I had to do what they say or I wouldn't make it in. It sure wasn't easy task they gave me. Mostly task were embarrassing in front of public on campus! Once I passed the tests.

We all got the chance to get together again in a circle on the floor to introduce to each other once again. There were 15 gals and guys. We were told to say our name and what was our sexual preference. Each person had the chance to say their name and either lesbian, gay, BI, or straight. Remember, I didn't know what those signs or words meant. All I understood was when they spelled their name.

When it was my turn to say my name. I said, "My name is Barbara Hathaway. I am from Montana and I am a woman." Then this leader, Robin, said, "Oh boy, you got a long way to go to learn new things in life." Only 3 people in that group announced they were either gay or lesbian, the rest of us said Bi or straight.

Robin informed that we would all get together at the end of semester to do this again. As time went by, I had learned from friends of what the signs means and what they meant, like lesbian, gay, Bi, orgy, 69, etc... Boy, I sure did blush every time I see those signs!! These days I love it! Smile.. Then when time came to gather around. The leader had us to play "ice breaker". We all were nervous because we knew what was happening and we took oath to tell the truth. After the ice breaking game, we were able to express freely. Everyone in that group was either gay or lesbian and only one wanted to stay as a straight person. I announced that night that I rather be a lesbian. The one who announced that she wanted to stay straight was my former roommate, Mary Bird. She was a damn good educator. She was the one that taught me about life.

I came out to my parents when I was 22 years old before moving to Colorado in 1984. My mother and father was fine with it but the very next day, they both freaked out. My father to these days had mentioned from time to time to my deceased mom and currently wife that he rather have a lesbian daughter than a junkie (involve with drugs).

I am currently an officer for Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf (RAD) as a vice president and have been with my partner, Karen L. Rosenthal, for ten years.


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