Often, I've heard it discussed that various environments make you gay: maybe you were abused as a child, or maybe, if you subscribe to Freud, you had an overbearing mother and a distant father, or maybe, just maybe, you masturbated and it made you gay.
My own mother subscribes to these beliefs, in fact.
I will be the first to admit that I had a rough childhood. My father, who is his own walking psychological study, was always angry and aggressive, and smacked my sisters and I around a bit. My mother struggles with depression and anxiety and OCD and God only knows what else. She's a perfectionist, and children are anything but perfect. Don't get me wrong--she did the best she could, and I love her very dearly, and I don't consider the way she brought me up as wrong. I'm just painting the picture of a well-off, but rough, childhood.
So, if someone were to argue that I was psychologically traumatized by events in my childhood, they'd be right, to a point. Nothing was ever severe enough to cause lasting trauma, in my opinion, but I am not a professional.
However, my attraction to women does not stem from this. I feel very comfortable saying this. When I was still trying to reconcile my attractions with my church, I tried this explanation on, and it felt wrong...wrong in much the same way that making out with a boy felt wrong.
So, we move on. What about masturbation?
According to some church authorities, masturbation can lead to homosexual thoughts and behavior. This dogma is derived, I suspect, from the same tales told a hundred years ago: that masturbation will make you blind, cause disease, or otherwise leave some lasting mark.
Well, I can safely say that my attraction to women predates any sort of masturbatory experience.
Where does that leave me?
For one thing, it gets me thinking about when, exactly, I started noticing that my world revolved around women. Many people say that they always knew they were gay, citing memories in their early childhood.
I have no such memories. I wasn't consciously aware of homosexuality at all until I was much older.
But I can definitively say that my world always revolved around women. I was drawn to girls for friendship, drawn to women for role models, was always fascinated by strong women.
I should have known when I was six or seven and fell in love with Xena (or even my earlier obsession with Princess Leia):
Sadly, these signs eluded me.
Ahem. Moving on, I can recall my first lesbian fantasy when I was twelve or so. I had known my best friend for about a year. And, interestingly enough, my lesbian fantasy went roughly like this:
I was hanging out with my friend at her house, in her room. She had a rough home life, with a domineering mother, and we would often talk about it. So, we're talking, and I'm consoling her, arms around her, and she looks up from having her face nuzzled in my shoulder. Our eyes meet. She kisses me. I am at once thrilled and alarmed. I break away and tell her that I can't, because it's wrong, but I would still be her friend.
Right. And I still had no idea.
Shortly after that, when I was thirteen, I developed what, in hindsight, I can say was my first, official girl crush. With this crush, I (still oblivious) bordered on creepy Twilight obsession territory.
Not this bad, I hope. I still feel bad about it, though.
So, this crush lasted all year, but I passed it off as just wanting to be like this girl. I tried to so hard to bond with her, to be into the things that she was into, and be a fantastic friend. I did not, however, have fantasies of the sort described above. And anyway, I was distracted with a boy from the band, so I didn't really have time to think of it as a crush, anyway.
This was my last close friendship with a girl for several years. I had my group of friends, but no girl crushes. This period in my life, from fourteen to sixteen, were my most devout years in the LDS church.
Then, I hit college. And I met Her.
She and I quickly became fast friends. I started thinking about it a bit--about how close we were, and how I really, really, REALLY liked her and then it hit me: I liked her. Then, I went into denial, until a boy snagged her (admittedly, the boy was a major Dick), at which point I sank into a major depression which took almost two years to pull myself out of, while slowly coming to grips with the fact that I liked women.
I slowly came to terms with it, and then, I met the woman who became the love of my life. The first time I kissed her, everything inside me clicked. It felt so perfect and so right, like that was exactly where I was meant to be. And that's when I knew that everything in my life had culminated to that single point: whether through nature, nurture, or some combination of both, it was absolutely right for me to be in the arms of another woman.
While I fully believe that I've always been attuned to and drawn to women, I really don't know if it is developmental or biological. I suspect it is a mix of both. But either way, I don't believe that I am wrong for expressing it. I am being nothing less than what I was meant to be: God (if he exists in the manner that the church purports) created me this way, designed for me to become the woman that I am, and I feel at peace when I am with the woman I love.