29 - Worthy Johnson
Colorado Springs, CO
Mom. Trying to figure out what she wants to do when she grows up.
With the infinite possibilities of gender identity and expression, when did you know….
“You know honestly it's crazy because when we talk about being shut out as a child growing up in a conservative area... I think I always liked girls. I think it was always there. I know there's the fooling around with the girls, and I just thought it was just because they were your best friends and that's what you did, you know? But I always did what everybody said you're supposed to do - be heterosexual.. be with a man... get married... have children... and live happily ever after... Well it never worked out for me like that. I think I was honestly a little bit more promiscuous, because I just didn't feel right ...and it never felt right. So I think it was in my early 20’s when I my first real relationship with a woman. And it wasn't even a relationship... it was more of like, we were in a bar… We hooked up, and it was like, ‘What am I doing?!’ You know. But I tell you what though, it was like the most amazing night though. It felt like the most natural thing I’d ever felt with anybody... However, with your group of friends… nobody would accept that… we just had to understand that. So I just went ahead and moved on... I got married, I had kids. And then that marriage failed. Then I got married again... And that marriage failed. And with society changing and becoming more accepting as I got older, I got to thinking, ‘Well I think it's time for me to come out. Date women… See if that's what I really wanted. That's how it all happened... and I haven't gone back…”
On her coming out experience...
“It was just a little over three years ago. I was still married. I met a girl online ...and it just totally caught me off guard, because I really was going to just keep it on the downlow. I was like, let me just see if this is something before I totally turn my world upside down and tell everyone. So, after I had that experience.... And of course there had been no intimacy with me and my ex for a long time... So I knew... You know? I just knew... I just came home one day and told him that I wanted to separate and get a divorce. And that I was going to start dating women. He surprisingly took it well. I mean I think he would have took it worse if I would have told him I was leaving him for a man... But when I said a woman he was like... ‘Okay… you go do what you need to do… let's go to therapy... We went to therapy and the therapist said, after the third time, ‘I really think that he just doesn't want to take ownership in anything, or acknowledge how you’re feeling... because to me, it seems that you've pretty much made up your mind.’ I had made up my mind... It wasn't easy for me because I know I had to come out to my children too... So I didn't have a grand coming out... It was kind of like I just told everybody more one on one. And because I was older, and I didn't know how people were going to react…. So I just told my kids first. One of my daughters had a really difficult time with it... but other than that it was amazing. Once I told the kids it was amazing how often they told me, ‘Mom, I have a friend who was born a girl but identifies as a boy…’ It was amazing how much more open that the kids came out to me too... Like as far as their relationships with people and how they viewed other kids in school and stuff. It was nice. And then when I told my dad, he was like, ‘OK cool... is it for companionship? What do you mean you’re seeing a girl?” He reacted a lot better than I thought he would.
So my experience with women hasn’t been a lot because I've been in long term relationships. I've had enough though. Needless to say, everyone has been very accepting. I think the more comfortable I became with it, myself, and telling people... I remember taking a group of friends to dinner and I just sat there and I just cried about it. It was more of a joke before... ‘Oh what... are you going to women now?’ And then it was like, ‘Well yeah... as a matter of fact…’ and their jaws just dropped. They were all accepting of it though.
Sometimes I feel like a coward though.... for waiting so long [to come out]. Because everybody has gone through the struggles of being labeled and discrimination… and here I am coming out at the end… I'm enjoying everything now after the road has been paved. I think that's my own internal struggle sometimes… I think that when you reflect back on your life and you think ‘Oh man I should've done this a long time ago you know…’ It's like why couldn’t I have found the strength after that night with that girl, and just feel like you know this is feels right? Why didn't I do that then? I wouldn't have had two failed marriages. Life could have been a lot different... We say all that could or should have... I think that maybe as you get older you do reflect back on your decisions.”
Favorite part about the community?
“The acceptance... Just being able to be yourself with no judgments. You know if you go to pride or something, and you’re surrounded by people that just want to love and just kiss and embrace one another… People are all different, and they express themselves differently. That's what's great about it... Yeah. Freedom of expression…”
“...I hate to say it, but it can be very cliquey.”
What is something you would tell a younger you? Advice for anyone out there who feels like they can’t come out, or they don’t have a community to be a part of?
“Be true to yourself… because I think I was too busy being a follower instead of a leader in my 20s. And instead of being true to who I was, and true to myself... but I wouldn't have my kids, so I should be careful about that. I wouldn't have jumped on that whole bandwagon like everyone else did. I think you should be true to yourself.
I see so many youth that are struggling, and I see a lot of these projects, and community groups and efforts trying to go out and reaching out to them... And I think that they've got to talk to friends. I think the LGBTQ community really has a passion and a drive to try and reach those kids. Through social media or just the internet... It gives them at least an outlet. If not, a connection to people… To where they can express themselves. Especially on Facebook, you have these LGBTQ groups, and I think it's great. You can meet like minded individuals. It's great.”
What in your life are you most proud of?
“I'm proud of being a mom... raising children is what I’m most proud of, because it is a struggle. Especially when you do it on your own. I know I brought these kids into this crazy life that I've created, but they love me unconditionally. So. Whether I'm gay straight or alien or whatever I am. And whether I move them down to Colorado Springs, or we move halfway across the country, they're going too. They're my ride or dies.”
With the state of the nation and the world in its current state, what’s one thing you would change if you had the power?
“To get Trump out of the White House today... Right now that's what I would do. I think he is creating more division in this country. I think that the LGBTQ community is on the path to equality and seeing everyone as valid, regardless of your gender... regardless of your sex... or anything. How one identifies, is becoming more accepted… Love is love.”