I have to tell you, [LGBT awareness] absolutely did not exist in my life [when I was growing up]. I had one really close gay friend, and he wound up marrying my best friend. They thought they would give it a try, because they had a very strong love for one another. Other than that, as far as I knew, I did not know any other gay people.[At ages] nine and 12, [my friend] Tammy and I were very much into each other. We experimented with all kinds of sex, and so forth and so on. Then [at] about 13 years old, she switched and went to boys. Then her family moved out of the neighborhood pretty much right after that. The rest of my friends, I just didn’t have that kind of relationship with them. It just never entered my mind again. It was like, “She’s gone so I won’t be doing that again!” It was kind of like, “Well, this is what I do now,” because you want to fit in. Tammy and I, the two of us, never spoke about it to anybody. We had the same group of friends. It was just what we did when we were alone; it was just our little thing. We didn’t say, “We aren’t going to say anything.” We just didn’t do it. Somewhere you know, “They aren’t going to like this.” So, it was a private thing for us.
I was so in denial myself that it just didn’t come up until . . . I think the first awakening I had was at 25 years old, when I started talking with people about these dreams I was having and these thoughts I was having.
I know I was never happy with the men in my life. It wasn’t that they were necessarily bad men. I just had nothing in common with them. I didn’t understand them. I didn’t particularly like them, but they were okay, you know? I was married [to men] twice; I have a child with each of [my ex-husbands]. It wasn’t that they were bad to me particularly. I just didn’t get them at all. I never knew that until I came out, in my counseling sessions.
“Tammy” is a pseudonym.
Source: Interview with Maureen Nickerson in December 2006, held at the Northwest Museum for Arts and Culture.