On this episode we hear Rachel’s Coming Out Story, Rachel writes as Eliza Andrews and RA Marshal.
This podcast series airs every October to celebrate coming out month. As LGBTQIA people we are often seen as different and wrong. By celebrating our coming out stories we see that we are part of something bigger and that there is hope.
Listen to this podcast here.
The books discussed in this episode
The fate of an empire lies in the hands of one untested princess.
Princess Natasia is the eldest child of the Emperor Andreth, ruler of the Four Realms. If she was a boy, she’d be the unquestioned heir to the throne. But as a girl, her main duty in life is to marry someone her father can shape into his successor.
Everything changes when an unknown, would-be assassin nearly takes Tasia’s life. Someone wants to destabilize the Empire – but who? Was the assassin aligned with the power-hungry Western lords, who have always rebelled against the Emperor? Was he hired by the barbarians in the East; who are fighting against the Empire’s subjugation? Or was he a member of the mysterious Cult of Culo?
Unsure of whom he can trust, the Emperor realizes that his daughter might be his best option for an heir. There hasn’t been a female heir to the throne in living memory, but as palace intrigue becomes increasingly dangerous, the reckless, rebellious, and stubborn princess suddenly has to face the responsibility of learning to lead. Will she rise to the occasion? Or will the Empire fall at the hands of one of its many enemies?
For fans of epic fantasy…with an LGBTQ twist.
Reverie by Eliza Andrews
Small town love isn’t always quaint: A lesbian romance…with some twists.
Lucinda Hamilton settles down in sleepy Reverie, South Carolina, because she’s running from the troubles of her past. But when her dangerous ex-husband evades law enforcement, she fears that no amount of running will ever make her safe again.
Two women are determined to keep Lucinda’s past at bay – the mysterious young nurse living on the other side of Lucinda’s duplex, who won’t even tell Lucinda her name, and Ardie Brown, an ex-marine who’s recently moved back to Reverie herself. It’s hard for Lucinda to trust either one of them; it’s even harder to admit to herself that she’s falling for both of them.
What will happen when Lucinda’s ex-husband finally catches up to her? Will the girl next door or Ardie have the power to stop him?
Or will Lucinda finally have to face her past all by herself?
Connect with Rachel Online at the links below
Transcript for today’s show
Please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect.
coming out stories is a short run podcast exclusive to the lesbian talk show the goal of this podcast is to share real stories from real people in the LGBTQIA community because this is such a personal journey I ask that if you do comment on these shows then please do so positively the more we stand together and embrace our diversity the stronger we get as a community welcome to coming-out stories I’m Sheena and I’m joined today by Rachel Rachel writes under a couple of pin names and she will explain it in a second Rachel thank you for joining me today first of all European names what are they so I started first writing young adult kind of like urban fantasy science fiction and when I started that I started under are a marshal are for Rachel the rest of it is family different family names but then when I started writing lesbian fiction I went with Eliza Andrews and that was actually my mom’s suggestion which is kind of funny so Eliza Andrews is an ancestor of mine who was a she was actually a novelist and an essayist and a world famous botanist around the time of the Civil War in the u.s. she she kind of has a funny story so she wrote a couple of like if you’re a Civil War historian in the United States you might have heard of her otherwise you haven’t but she wrote a couple of important books that they still use in Civil War scholarship the most important she published her journals about living through the Civil War in Georgia which is where my family is from in other words the the deep south for non-americans but she she was a funny lady she decided not to marry because she was disappointed with the quality of men who wanted to marry her because she was from a very well-to-do plantation family that my family was like very southern blue blood very wealthy like plantation owners but after the Civil War they were economically devastated and so the only people who wanted to marry her were like ex-army guys and that was like below her station and so she decided she would just support herself which was very unusual for you know mid 19th century woman but she ended up becoming a professor at a college in Georgia and supported herself the rest of her life but anyway so I picked her like I said it was my mom’s suggestion but in a way it’s sort of tongue-in-cheek because she represents a part of my family history that I think I would rather forget and rather move on from you know as a sort of racist slave owning past so kind of appropriating her name was sort of an intentional jab at my own family history so that’s the story on my pen names all right today you’re here to tell us your coming-out story okay let’s see how do I usually tell it so I was a little bit of a late bloomer which is sort of funny cuz I’m one of these kind of on the butch side of the spectrum of lesbian where everybody knew I was gay long before I did you know people were waiting for me to come out long before that was really in my awareness in my consciousness but eventually let’s see it kind of started with I might I realized after high school I realized that my two best girlfriends had been dating for like a year and a half and I’d never realized it and it’s it made a lot of our friendship dynamics suddenly make more sense because of course again they both knew I was gay I didn’t know I was gay you know so the some of the weirdness it was kind of a love triangle that I didn’t realize I was a part of if that makes any sense um I think that one of my close friends felt like I was the only potential competition for the affection of my other close friend and it really changed our friendship when they started dating but I didn’t understand why our friendship had suddenly changed until after they broke up and they both came to me all heartbroken because I was the I guess the shoulder to cry on for both of them and then I was like oh okay and I guess that was when I started to really look at myself kind of through the lens of their relationship and started to understand just my own sexuality through that process so it took me until I was a senior in college so I was about twenty twenty twenty-one so I came out to myself around eighteen I guess eighteen nineteen but then it took until I was a senior before I finally worked up the nerve to ask out a girl you know and then um the girl I ended up dating her name was Carol she had been dating girls since high school it was all old hat for her and she was a little shocked when she realized I wasn’t I wasn’t really publicly out I mean to be fair it was the late 90s early 2000s so it was a little bit of a different world and it was also the deep south that we’re talking about again so it’s not the friendliest place in the u.s. to be a queer person but she she was really the one who kind of dragged me out of the closet because she was kind of like well I just don’t know that I can date someone who’s not out and so little by little I started to work my way out but like I said I was a senior in college so for some reason I didn’t eat I can’t even tell you why but for some reason I had in my mind that I wanted to move to Seattle after I graduated which is like basically as far away from where I lived as you can get in the United States so I lived in the southeastern corner and Seattle Washington as the northwestern corner of the US and my parents were totally befuddled by this and they just couldn’t figure out why would I want to go to Seattle and so when I finally came out to my parents on the phone you know I told them well you know I’ve been seeing someone and my mom was like well what’s his name and I was like well that’s the thing mom it’s what’s her name her name is Carol and my mom my dad before before I got that far when my mom was like what’s his name my dad goes is he from Seattle like he’d finally found it like he’d finally found the answer to all his questions like why I wanted to move to Seattle is he from Seattle and I was like well that thing guys it’s it’s actually her it’s her name and my mom was kind of stunned silence you know like okay okay okay okay but my dad took it all in stride and he goes is she from Seattle and that was that was it it’s my parents reaction like he wasn’t really interested in the fact that I was gay he was interested in like why did I want to go to Seattle’s anyway no actually she’s from South Carolina she’s actually in um in reverie in the personal essay at the back of the book that’s the person that I wrote about is my first girlfriend Carol who she and I are still pretty good friends to this day 20 20 some odd years later that makes me feel like an old lady and then yeah so that I mean that was the main part of my coming out I did later I came out to my grandparents who have both passed since but I remember that phone call was um my grandfather was a little like well maybe you just haven’t met the right guy and my my grandmother on the other hand she goes oh Rachel I’ve known you were gay since forever like why are you telling me this like I don’t care like you know I think she figured it out when I was about five so that’s my story like I said it’s not the most exciting story but um I I’m lucky you know I’m really lucky my my parents are both pretty liberal people they were both super accepting like it took my mom a minute to come to terms with it it took my dad you know a different way to come to terms with it but it it wasn’t a very painful process the way it could have been the way it is for many people so I count myself as super fortunate in that regard and my parents in fact these days they are some of my best beta readers and I’m a little like I don’t know like when I started writing lesbian fiction I’m like are you sure you want to read this cuz there’s a lot of gay sex in here and they’re like oh I don’t care like sex is sex and so they were they were fine with it but and they am actually rubbery my my dad in particular rubbery is his favorite book out of all the books so that well probably my fantasy book they both like a little bit better but my dad really liked reverie so yep that’s my story you’re listening to the lesbian talk show the lesbian talk on you have of podcast information can I just ask how do you identify like what what are your various labels you know I’m kind of old-fashioned in that way I’m just I’m just gay yeah you know I guess I mean I guess you know I probably identify as being more butch definitely on the more butch end of the spectrum but other than that you know I don’t labels have gotten really complicated the last 10 years and I don’t know I again it makes me feel like a little bit of an old fart but it’s it’s too complicated for me to keep up with hi I just stick with the L and L GBT Q I A+ so anyway if you had to give advice to somebody who’s struggling with coming to terms with the sexual orientation what would you say to them oh gosh what a good question you know I mean it’s especially a pertinent question since since I’m working at a high school now and I’m looking to get involved with the what they term the GSA the Gay Straight Alliance which is kind of the club on campus for queer kids so I need to I need to have a good answer for this question I think what’s important to know is that you’ll always find your community sooner or later you know it might take a while to find that community to build that community to build the people who accept you just as you are I think it’s also really important not to feel pressured to adopt anybody’s label for you in any direction you know I think one thing that’s interesting about the queer community is even within our community we pressure people in different ways to identify in one direction or another like I remember definitely there was a time when I was initially coming out where sometimes I felt like I wasn’t butch enough and that was sort of ass-like I’d spent my whole life like never being feminine enough for the mainstream world and then within the queer community sometimes I felt like it wasn’t butch enough you know and there was pressure to be a certain way or something like that within our community and these days I think we see it a lot with like transphobia I think we also we see it with on bisexual people that’s always been a problem is like if you’re bisexual you’re not queer enough and I just I really I find that really problematic and if you all by 6 if you’re a bisexual woman and you married to a man then people negate the fact that you’re bisexual and it’s like well why and if you and if you with a woman then these beings one today we’ll use lesbian and I’m like well but why because bisexual is completely legitimate space to be it and if that’s how you feel that’s that’s who you are exactly and for me for me personally just the type of women that I’ve always been attracted to inevitably everyone I’ve ever dated has been with men you know at some point you know whether they actively identify as bisexual or they don’t like they’ve all been with men at some point you know and like my current my current girlfriend is coming out of a heterosexual marriage of you know 12 12 plus years and that you know she she’s actually she was a lambda literary fellow they do a fellowship for emerging queer authors every year and I’m gonna brag on her for just a second because she she did that fellowship it’s a really hard fellowship to get to get into to get accepted to and not only did she get into it she got the full ride scholarship a couple of years ago with people like the author Melinda low she wrote a sh and she wrote Huntress and she was like super complimentary of my girlfriend’s writing and was like oh yeah the board decided unanimously to give you the scholarship like independently of each other so anyway um but she felt like even in the lamda conference at one point there was a conversation going on during one of their sessions where a couple of people were really bashing queer people who aren’t out and you know she coming out it’s been something that she’s really struggled with because she has been labeled heterosexual or her whole life because she is from a very traditional Asian family where it’s not okay to be queer and coming out is hard for her she kind of stood up for herself in that meeting and then said you know it’s not easy for all of us to be out and to live out I think visibility is a really interesting issue like who gets to be visibly queer and who and whether that’s an advantage or a disadvantage I think it really depends on context but you know for her as she’s probably the girliest woman I think I’ve ever met in my entire life she’s super feminine you know for her she made the point that she has to come out day after day after day after day coming out isn’t it like for me people just look at me and they’re go out gay lady you know like Dyke but people don’t look at her and assume that and so coming out has to be something she does deliberately and awkwardly and over and over and over again and that’s its own kind of baggage and burden the gatekeepers the people who say halfway you have to be or how you have to you know represent that queerness and whatever it is there’s a lot of damage to people who are coming out later in life people who consider not there’s been enough not butch enough not whatever enough if I think back to when I was first coming to terms with it it took me years years and years and years before I came to terms with it within myself never mind coming out to the rest of the world because there is such a negative connotation and then when people don’t force you out of the closet you just become more determined to like step into the closet and hold on tight it’s because you’re not ready to take that step eh so it’s completely damaging and people in the queer community should know better yeah exactly I think that’s so true and even for even for me like I’ve been out for 20 years you know I’m comfortable in my own skin I you know I I mean I get misgendered even now even living in San Diego you know Southern California which is obviously much more tolerant than the deep south where I’m from I still get misgendered probably about once a week you know someone mistakes me for a guy in the women’s restroom or something like that and so it’s still like you know as liberal is the place where I live like I still have to wrestle with homophobia on a pretty regular basis and I mean I came out to this past week I came out to all of my high school students all 80-plus of them I guess and part of the reason I did that was because there were a handful of kids who are kind of making snide comments what they thought was behind my back the funny thing about teenagers is they think they’re sneaky but they’re never sneaky like we were all teenagers we know exactly what they’re doing but anyway they were making snide homophobic comments behind my back and so I was just like well let’s just address this head-on and you know so I came out to all of them and talked about like that it’s hard growing up you know dealing with homophobia all the time and and and I was surprised like even as an adult who’s been out for 20-plus years it was it was hard like missed you know I was like a little bit I was really nervous in some of my classes by the by the time I got to the last class and I’d done it like four times it was more comfortable and I was able to get through it smoothly but but it was tough to come out to all of them and tell them like listen when you make gay jokes you know which I have heard already in your classroom like that is a knife in my heart and I promise you it’s a knife in the heart of other kids that you know like whether you know that they’re out or not you know so anyway but it is hard because the constant coming out means that you never feel 100% safe because there’s they’re kind of clenched in your stomach every time you have to ask yourself to someone what is the reaction gonna be and this is you know twenty years later or whatever it is after coming to terms with it within yourself every single time you have to come out every time you have to say I’m married to a woman and not a man it’s true isn’t it I think homophobia is a really interesting thing because there’s so many layers to it you know I think we say homophobia and we just automatically we go to the most extreme cases you know of you know violence against queer people for example but there’s so many different layers of homophobia like when you just said you know saying like I’m married to a woman and not a man and the way alike some people are like okay cool and then other people they start to unintentionally exclude you from conversations which is a layer of homophobia they start to have come conversate like this happens to me a lot where like if I’m in a group of straight women and they’re talking about and they’re not trying to exclude me from the conversation but that’s the net effect is that it’s a conversation I can’t really participate in you know like they go on and on about their boyfriends and how stupid men are which anyway that’s another conversation but you know and I like every now and like I’ve been in conversations before where every now and then I’ll like throw out like oh yeah like this happens to me in my relationship and everybody just kind of goes oh okay and then they just go back to their other conversation that you can’t really protect and that’s a like a subtle form of homophobia because you’re always on the outside looking in in different ways you know what will they ask you about how you have sex because it’s it’s our job to educate everybody is to you know how the female anatomy works it’s like well sweetie if you don’t know how your own Body Works I can help you out so this yeah I should knock on wood but I’ve never had this go through that no one’s ever asked me that everyone asks me I guess I’m just one of those people where people feel like I’m okay to ask this question to you because everybody asks me this well I tell you what I don’t wait what drives me up the wall and I haven’t I haven’t had this in a while but what I can’t stand is when straight men talk to me about women the way they talk to each other about women and you find yourself in this like locker room conversation objectifying women and objectifying you know female bodies and I’m just it just makes my skin crawl it makes my skin crawl like what like don’t you know I am a woman I think you are speaking to me like as if this is an OK way to talk about women you know and it’s like wow like and it gives you a lot of insight into what goes on in straight male culture and it makes me really happy that I am gay because I would never want to date one of these people oh my gosh but yeah I get that one more than I get the like how do lesbians have sex question ok alright so if people want to read your work what do you suggest they start with oh gosh I mean I feel like it depends on what people are into because I have kind of um I mean the book that I have written most recently was princess of dorsa and that is a kind of a classic fantasy novel that happens to have queer women protagonists you know and so I think people who are into fantasy and they’re also identified as queer or they just like different types of stories that might be a book or they could start is princess of dorsa but I also have a lot of kind of more contemporary pieces contemporary romance pieces so I mean reverie is sort of kind of a different sort of book like you said there’s a lot of spoilers in that book so I don’t I don’t want to give too much away so I I mean I I placed that in the romance category but it’s so many other things as well it’s it’s a different it’s a different sort of book so it’s sort of a cross John Rowe book it’s not a romance you quantico little romance cuz you’re just gonna have unhappy readers because there’s no happy about there yeah well I mean that kind is but it’s kind of a belated and sideways happily ever after no Sheena says no Sheena says no just but it isn’t it’s not a romance but I put it in the romance category because it does revolve around a love story and it’s got its sort of okay so love story I can go with I don’t get any but it’s not a romance but it is a really fascinating book so it was us a team of book club read so you should absolutely pick up a copy of river II it is a book you will never read it twice like you will never experience the same story ever again because it’s just one of those unique amazing books okay and we can people find you online probably the best place to start is my website so my website is author Eliza Andrews comm author Eliza Andrews comm then same thing with Facebook is facebook.com slash author Eliza Andrews that’s my Facebook page and I’d be I’ve been a really good girl lately I’ve been updating it regularly like a responsible adult Instagram is a little different because I’m not under Eliza Andrews I’m under my other pen name so my Instagram is Instagram calm slash are a Marshall dot writer and that’s all for coming out three so thank you very much for telling us your story and getting into some philosophical conversations there yeah thank you I appreciated Sheena [Music] we thank our guests for sharing a very personal part of their lives with us and hope that you connected with their journey you can find our guests online check the show notes for links the Lisbon talk show is all about sharing love and connecting with one another and we hope that these stories help you do that because this is such a personal journey I ask that if you do comment on these shows then please do so positively the more we stand together and embrace our diversity the stronger we get as a community please know that you are under no obligation to come out it is a very personal journey and only you can know when you are ready and whether or not it is safe to come out if you enjoy these podcasts consider becoming a patron of the talk show the link is in the show notes I’m Sheena and this has been coming out stories [Music]