by Billy Clouse
Originally published in Revolt — Vol. 1, Issue 2
Surrounded by goats and ducks, a mother and daughter worked on their farm. It had been a long day, and after a series of events occurred, the daughter informed her mother that she was dating another woman.
Kira Knapp, a junior Hotel, Resort and Hospitality Management major from Cottonwood, Arizona, didn’t plan on the livestock becoming part of her story.
Before coming out, Knapp started prepping her mother for the news.
“I just kept ‘remembering’ funny stories and things (my girlfriend) had done and shared them with my mom when a related topic came up,” she said. “I just used every opportunity to bring her up to highlight how kind and funny she was so that my mom would feel like she wasn’t some distant, unknown figure.”
The day she came out, Knapp told her mother that she wanted to catch up when they were done working. The plan was set until her mother started to not feel well.
“As we were feeding the goats, my mom told me she was just going to go to bed once we got inside,” Knapp said. “I panicked because I wanted and needed to have this conversation with her, so in the middle of a field of goats, I said, ‘Mom, I’m seeing someone.’ She turned around and asked, “It’s her, isn’t it?”
Although she is still figuring out her sexual and gender identities, Knapp identifies as a biromantic asexual.
“I had only dated boys up until last fall, but I had had some confusing crushes on girls in high school,” Knapp said. “I basically ignored those because I didn’t know what they were, and I never really considered that I might be romantically interested in girls.”
Knapp said she was surprised when a friend of hers started flirting with her because the conversation felt natural.
“Once I realized that (she could be a significant other), I had no conflicting worries about whether or not liking someone of my same gender romantically was a moral issue, though I had certainly been raised to think so,” she said. “Instead, I was excited for the opportunity to have a really healthy, honest and loving relationship with someone I truly adored and connected with.”
Based on her experience, Knapp feels that there shouldn’t be shame in having feelings that aren’t heterosexual.
“No matter the labels, you don’t pass up the chance to be a part of a relationship (with someone you love),” she said. “I accepted that this was a part of me that I hadn’t ever had a reason to explore until the right person came along, and she gently and kindly helped me through that journey to understand myself better.”
When she decided to come out to the rest of her friends and family, Knapp said she felt excited. Her girlfriend didn’t pressure her to come out before she was ready.
(My mom has) been the best throughout what I’m sure was a confusing and hard time, concluding that her love for me was reason enough to support me.
She started by telling friends, and at the end of the semester, she posted about it on Facebook for everyone else. Overall, the response was positive.
“Coming out has been a really cool experience for me and my mom,” Knapp said. “She didn’t know how to react at first, understandably, but soon she started finding ways to make herself the ally I never dreamed she could be. She wrote a paper about LGBTQ+ youth for one of her classes as an opportunity to research the community I now was part of.”
Knapp’s mother also used characters from “Grey’s Anatomy” to help her understand her daughter’s feelings. This specifically included the characters Callie and Arizona, how are bisexual and lesbian respectively.
“She continues to defend me to family members who hold onto the beliefs that I used to have towards those in same-sex relationships,” Knapp said. “She’s been the best throughout what I’m sure was a confusing and hard time, concluding that her love for me was reason enough to support me.”
There were bumps along the road to coming out, but despite it all, Knapp has never been happier.
“I haven’t changed who I am or what I believe, but I have become a more free and open person,” she said. “I’ve become a healthier person, and the knowledge that I have support from so many people allows me to continue growing into the best version of myself I can. I’m blessed to be able to say that things definitely have only gotten better, and I believe they will continue to do so.”