It all began with Star Trek.
No, seriously. I had been a Trekkie since childhood when the animated series had its brief run. When ST: The Next Generation came out in 1987, I wasn’t so thrilled at the new crew and ship at first, but I soon grew to love it. Nevertheless, I wasn’t involved in ST fandom until late 1991 when I bought the ST novel “Q-in-Law” by Peter David.
I was hooked! Somehow I got in touch with fan clubs, ordered fanzines, and began writing my own fanfiction (this was back in the day before the Internet — at least, I didn’t have it). I was fortunate to have some of my stories printed in fanzines. I joined a fan club for Dr. Beverly Crusher on TNG, and when Deep Space Nine came out, I was fascinated with Major Kira, so I joined a fan club for her also (they both had been started by the same person).
There were a number of openly gay/lesbian members of the fan clubs, which was interesting to me because I had never (knowingly) met anyone who was gay. They seemed perfectly comfortable expressing their attraction to characters/actors of the same sex, and with time, I began to be comfortable too. (I had known since my teenage years that I liked both girls and boys, but didn’t think much about it) In fall of 1993 I “confessed” to the club that I was attracted to Kira — an important act for me, though not surprising to the other members!
In our fan club newsletter we sent messages to one another and I became friends with several members in this manner. On New Year’s Eve 1993 I received an unexpected phone call from one of the members who lived in Canada. It was a very pleasant call, and something started then.
So began a steady stream of letters and later cassette tapes between Texas and Ontario. By April, the attraction between us was out in the open, and extremely long phone calls were added to the communication. I realized soon that I wanted to meet her — I didn’t just want to, I was desperate to meet her, so much so that I tried to take out a loan on our car to get the airfare (did I mention that I was married at this time?).
My husband realized I was serious and chose to let me go to Canada for a week. The visit was all I could have hoped for. When I returned home, I made it clear to my husband that I wanted to leave him. For the following six weeks, we discussed and argued the situation, made plans and broke them, and sought to keep the unpleasantness from the children, who were 6 and 7 at the time.
One weekend I drove off to Dallas because I just had to get away. While there I met my girlfriend’s brother (who, coincidentally, lived there with his partner), explored the local “gay neighborhood,” and looked around for an apartment. I returned a couple of weeks later and stayed with her brother so that I could attend a Lesbian Health Fair and a group called Sprouts which was for women coming out or questioning their sexuality.
I moved into a Dallas apartment on July 1. My husband had insisted on keeping the children with him so they wouldn’t be exposed to “bad influences.” I knew what he meant, but when I agreed, that was not my reason. I let them stay with him because I had no job, no way to take care of myself (my apartment was prepaid for 3 months), and definitely no way to take care of 2 fairly young children. Plus, the rest of their family was nearby, and I felt that the stability of the extended family would be important for them.
Even though I was more than 100 miles away (the legal cutoff used to determine visitation rights), my husband agreed that I could see the children every two weeks, either in Dallas or their home town, talk to them on the phone twice a week, and have them a month in the summer. He didn’t file for divorce right away; he hoped that I would see the light and come back to him. I regret hurting him that way — there have been times I’ve thought it would have been better if we’d never married, but then we wouldn’t have the children that we both love dearly.
So that’s my story… the first part, anyway. What happened after I moved to Dallas is another story, to be saved for another day.