Coming Out in a Rural Town
I was 14 when I realized I wasn’t like most of my friends. I knew I didn’t think of girls the way they did just by listening to them talk about them as if they were objects. I knew I had a strong sexual attraction to guys, but I repressed it. I didn’t want to be different, I didn’t want to be hated.
I didn’t come out until my 12th grade year. Me and my boyfriend (at the time) decided to tell a few of my close friends. We hoped it would be a good thing. Figured we would live without the stress. I started by telling my parents. They were extremely accepting of it, yet they seemed to think it was a choice more than anything. They never did question me about it. I told a few friends at school and then watched it get out of hand. In less than a day, everyone in the school knew, including the teachers.
My boyfriend could not deal with the derogatory comments that people were making about him. This caused us to break up at a time that I felt I had needed him most. This led me to start thinking of how it had gotten so out of hand so quickly. I realized that, in a way, I had wanted the attention. What I hadn’t thought about however, was the reaction of my peers. The other people in the school weren’t as accepting as the media has portrayed people to be. My teachers started to act differently and I found that my grades had started to slide.
This led me to turn to drugs and alcohol. I struggled with this for quite some time and have just now, started to cut off on most of it. (though I find myself having a drink on the odd occasion)
I felt the pressure of high school and did not like it. So I did what most struggling teens do, I dropped out. I did return the following year and completed my semester. But because I had left at the end of my final year, my friends were gone, my graduation had passed and I missed my senior prom.
I completed the year and started to “live my life”. This lasted a year before I realized that what I was doing was wrong. I had thrown away my childhood because I was afraid of facing reality. Though I still find it sad that such things are reality for LGBT youths!
I made a choice then, I would go to school in hopes of someday being able to advocate for the rights of gay youths, such as myself. To this day, I regret nothing I have ever done. I say this because it has made me into who I now am, I also feel that others in the same predicament as I had found myself in should not give up on life, but thrive to create and foster an accepting DIVERSE future.
Although, I feel I should add, to be truthful, that due to the fact that most of my family lives about 300kms south of us, I never have told my extended family. I still pretend to be “Mr. Macho” with my cousins. I hope to one day, be able to feel comfortable enough to make the effort to become accepted by them. I know deep inside that they would be nothing but accepting of my sexual orientation, but I fear the worst.
Sad that we have to be afraid to be ourselves.
Sad that we have to fear the reactions of loved ones.
Sad to hide our potential.
BUT AT LEAST I GIVE A DAMN!!!
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For most of us, our families provide the one place where we can be ourselves and know that we will be loved and accepted, no matter what. Our families are our support system, our source of strength, our home.