by Billy Clouse
Originally published in Revolt — Vol. 1, Issue 2
A few years ago, she was uncomfortable with her sexuality, but now, Spencer Smith, a junior criminal justice from Las Vegas, is happy with who she is.
In high school, Smith started dating a girl, and they would have sleepovers. When the girl’s dad found out, he told Smith that she couldn’t see his daughter unless she came out to her parents.
The next morning, Smith left a note for her mom on the table.
“We talked about it when I got home and she kept telling me I was just going through a phase,” Smith said. “It took me a while to become comfortable with my sexuality because my parents made it so awkward. I feel so comfortable in my skin now and my parents are very accepting.”
Smith said her siblings knew she was lesbian before she came out, and coming out to her father was a positive experience.
“I told my dad and he said, ‘whatever makes you happy makes me happy, I love you,’” Smith said. “He was very accepting.”
Many members of Smith’s family belong to the LGBTQ community. Her mother recently came out as pansexual and is now married to a woman. Her older brother is gay, and her younger brother is transgender.
Before coming to SUU, Smith decided not to come out to her classmates at home.
“I just kind of left it to college so I’d come out here with new people who don’t know I’m coming out for the first time,” she said. “They would just think I’m gay and have been gay.”
For Smith, being out has been a mix of positive and negative experiences.
“People don’t like gay people,” she said. “When I would go to Las Vegas and walk downtown holding hands with a girl, guys would ask if we wanted a threesome or they would just follow us for awhile. I get stared at all the time.”
Smith said that when she’s with friends, they notice people staring as well. To make her laugh, they say things such as, “Oh my gosh, people seriously can’t get enough of you!”
Smith said she feels supported by friends.
“When I’m alone and just walking around trying to get things done, I feel vulnerable and like someone’s always watching me,” she said, “but when I’m with my friends, I feel normal.”