A lot of stories of wlw discovering their sexuality later in life focus around denial. Stories of obviously being into girls, but pretending it wasn’t attraction. Stories of your puppy crushes on your best girl friend, your female teacher, the cute girl in your class, that you told yourself was anything but a crush but retrospectively definitely was.
That’s great, and sharing “baby gay” stories is lots of fun, but it isn’t applicable to all wlw. For some, they had no stories from their childhood/teen years that involved repressed feelings for girls. Their attraction to them truly is a recent thing, something very “sudden”. If that applies to you, it’s easy to think you’re faking it, because if you were really a wlw, wouldn’t you have signs of it earlier on?
The answer is: not necessarily.
There’s no time limit for discovering your love of women. Even if you were alive for 20, 30, 40, 80 years without having any attraction to women, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for it to happen now. For some people (but not everyone!) sexuality can be fluid, and you can discover and nurture a side of you previously unknown to you.
Maybe you were never really into boys but only recently figured out that you were into girls instead. Maybe you were married for 20 years and after your divorce, you fell in love with a woman. Maybe you never met a girl that’s “your type” but now that you have, you’re falling for her, and hard. Maybe your best friend coming out to you made you see her in a new light that you had never considered before. Maybe your partner realizing she was a trans woman opened your mind to to the possibility of loving a woman, because you love her as a person and you realized that gender is no barrier to that. Maybe you recently came to terms with being a trans woman, and your newfound comfort in your gender identity gave you the chance to explore your sexuality.
No matter what your story, it’s never too late to discover your sexuality. You do not need to have signs of liking women early on in order to be “legitimate”. Even if you never had a reason to believe you were anything but straight, if you find yourself starting to wonder if you’re not, you deserve the space to discover yourself and your identity.
And to other wlw who knew early on: you may be tempted to brush off these women, saying they aren’t really wlw (or not really bi, lesbian, etc.) or that they give a negative impression of the community overall, but try to be understanding. Our journeys do not all look the same. Be understanding of your fellow wlw even if they discovered themselves at a different pace. Someone’s past does not necessarily dictate their present, or their future.