Ok, not really, but they certainly had a huge impact on my coming out process. And not just because Gillian Anderson is hot as hell.
You see, there was this girl I met in line on my very first day of University. We were both attending a frosh barbecue and there she was, sitting on the edge of a planter in front of me. I can see it clear as day, even though it was almost twenty (!!!) years ago. She had short brown hair, blue eyes and was wearing the same colour frosh T-shirt as me, with her name emblazoned across the front in black marker. Laura.
Laura and I quickly became best friends in the weeks that followed. Our shared love of all things geeky brought us together and we would spend days and nights just talking about everything and nothing. Our friend Amy said we talked in code. Like only the two of us could understand each other. And maybe it was true.
I spent a long, long, long time trying to determine where the line between friendship and romantic love was, once Laura and I were best friends. I kept telling myself that’s all it was. Friendship. And then I found myself thinking about kissing her and I was lost.
The thing about Laura was that she loved the X-files. Loved. So like any good best friend she made it her mission to get me into the show. How did she do this you might ask? Oddly enough she started with fanfiction. Mulder/Scully UST fanfiction, to be more precise, and there is one piece that will be forever burnt into my consciousness. “Exposition” by Daniel S. Pearce. The fact that this piece still exists on the internet 20 years after it was written is proof the gods love me. It talks about how they clearly love each other, but they are both “accomplished liars”. And that for Scully “There is no person between heaven and Hell more important to me then [sic] Mulder”.
All that fanfiction led to a strategic watching of about five episodes, all about the relationship between Mulder and Scully and long discussions of whether they were just friends or should get together. I was hard pressed not to find the parallels between the four of us.
Over thanksgiving weekend, Laura came out to me as gay. It took me until November 11th to tell her that I liked her, that I was gay too. And how did I do that? We were walking along the canal one day and the conversation went like this:
L: Do I know everything about you?
A: Not everything. There’s one thing you don’t know [that I had feelings for her]
L: What is it?
A: I can’t tell you.
L: Oh come on!
A: Let’s just say that I’m an accomplished liar
She knew exactly what I was saying when I said that. I was saying that I felt for her what Mulder and Scully felt for each other.
It took her three days to respond. And when she did? She said “There is no person between heaven and Hell more important to me then [sic] you.”
So while it may seem silly, the X-files gave me the framework and the language to come to terms with and express my feelings about being gay. It gave me a way to say “I love you” to another girl without having to actually say those words, because they were far too scary for me at the time.
The X-files gave me my first girlfriend, my first love, and for that I will forever be grateful.
And Mr. Daniel S. Pearce, wherever you are…thank you for giving me the words.