As Pride Month draws to a close, I'm eager to share a pivotal part of my journey.

I'm Lizzy, and I just so happen to be married to a woman. I suppose I'm a "lesbian", but I am more about connection than labels or titles.

It was 2009, and I was 23 years old and back in Maine after a few semesters in college in Connecticut. I took a break from dating and immersed myself in school and friendships.

That's when a night out with friends led me to a gay bar in Lewiston. This was the first time I had ever gone to a gay bar, and it was different to me. I had a very strong physical reaction. It wasn't bad or good, just alien to me. I couldn't understand what it meant.

After we went to the bar, we hopped over to Mixers Night Club in Lisbon.

When We Met

It was then I saw her: Nelly. In the middle of the dance floor while a Missy Elliot remix was playing. This girl had charisma and was surrounded by very excited women completely captivated by her. It was a moment that stirred something deep within me. So, like a creep, I stared.

You know when that happens, you can’t put it into word. It’s a feeling. By chance, the friend I was with knew who Nelly was, allowing me to get near her (not as creepy as it sounds, I promise). Before leaving, I grabbed her hand and squeezed it. She probably thought I was nuts. She was still dancing with her attention pulled in every direction, but I needed her to look me in the eye. When she did, she smiled, and I melted.

That night, as I headed home, my mind was consumed by her. What was going on with me?

A few weeks later, my friend texted me during class, asking to go out and meet some friends. When she mentioned that Nelly would be there, I couldn't resist. So in a moment of sheer impulse, I raised my hand and blurted out to my professor that a family member had fallen down the stairs. It was a terrible lie, but it just slipped out before I could stop it!

He let me leave, and off I went. When I walked in to see her, our eyes met, and that was that. After that night (and a couple other meetings), we fell hard for each other. It was a feeling that I had never had before.

The Day I Came Out

Several months had passed of Nelly and I dating. The moment arrived when I felt ready to share this with my mom. At one point, I even looked up, "The best ways to come out." It still makes me laugh to this day.

Sitting in my bedroom, I asked Mom to join me. Reflecting on that day still brings tears to my eyes.

As she sat beside me, I gathered myself and said, "You know how I've been spending a lot of time with my new friend, Nelly? We're more than just friends. We're together." My mom's response will never leave my mind.

She said, "Elizabeth, when you were a little girl, your favorite color was rainbow. I've known who you truly are all along." 

We both laughed and hugged for what felt like forever. My mother has always been my biggest champion in life.

We talked about my love for people, regardless of gender, and the uncertainties I faced about labels. She encouraged me to stay safe and strong. She was mostly concerned about the judgmental attitudes I might face.

Indeed, Nelly and I faced extremely hostile and tough adversities from narrow-minded individuals.

I remember being at a restaurant with her when two patrons at another table openly expressed their hate towards us. We weren’t even holding hands, but our "gay image" triggered their hostility.

Yet, for all the bad, there's so much more good.

I had a tough conversation with my sister, who struggled to picture me differently because we had planned our lives together since we were young. She imagined me walking towards a groom, not a bride. She was always accepting, but just needed time to adjust.

Coming out is a different experience for everyone. I am so lucky that my story was filled with acceptance and love, because it's not like that for everyone.

If you struggled coming out, I am proud that you did it. I am proud that you are living your truth. My sister has now passed away, and I am happy that she truly saw me for who I am, in my truth. Life is so short, and you shouldn't be forced to be anyone but yourself.

If you haven't come out and need a friend, I'm here for you. You'll do it when you're ready, and I encourage you to use all the resources available to you.


Once you step into the light, the sunshine feels amazing. I can't wait for you to arrive with us.

Love, Lizzy Snyder

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