I’m a lesbian, and I feel that I’ve been a very lucky one in many ways. For instance, I’ve never been physically attacked for being gay, and the few off-hand comments I’ve received in my time I can deal with too. I can honestly say I’ve heard worse things as an American abroad. My nuclear family accepts me, but I can tell the idea still makes my dad somewhat uncomfortable. He and I don’t talk about my sexuality, which I guess is probably normal for straight daughters too, but occasionally he’ll make a joke about it, in a nice way, and I much prefer that to him ignoring it completely.
Unfortunately I don’t know how to come out to my rather large extended family. The idea just overwhelms me, and there being so many, I imagine too many different reactions. I don’t want to be the brunt of a joke at anyone’s dinner table. My aunts and uncle think so highly of me, and it would kill me if my cousins said something tasteless to them about me. Every time my Grandma asks me if I’ve finally got a boyfriend, I’m sick of answering with, “I’ve got too much studying to do and no time for boys.” I feel like we’re living in the 50s when I say that, but it’s my attempt to turn an awkward conversation into something funny. Sometimes I wish the word “gay (or whatever)” would just appear on our foreheads at some point in our teenage years or in our 20’s, just to spare us from constantly having to be creative about how we talk about things and constantly having to decide with every new person we meet whether or not we should out ourselves, though a stamped forehead obviously has its drawbacks too.
I never used to talk about my experience as a young, gay kid in Colorado Springs, CO. It was just too painful, too personal for me to want to talk about. As I’ve grown up, I’ve realized that telling my story sheds light on the truth, and illustrates–vividly–why issues that affect the LGBT Community are so damn important.
I was a good kid growing up in a middle class family in Colorado Springs. I attended private Christian schools, I loved my family, and I had amazing parents. My parents were so devoted to their children, always showering us with love and attention. My mother used to make my lunch every day with a little note telling me how much I meant to her. Each day my parents would drive us to and from school, and once a week we had a family movie night–our’s was the American family ideal, and I was truly blessed.
Unfortunately, one day that changed. When I was 13 years old, my parents found my journal in which I had admitted to myself that I was gay. In the space of 5 minutes my life changed drastically, and permanently.
Being raised in a conservative Christian family certainly isn’t a bad thing, but being taught that homosexuality is pretty much the worst thing under the sun and also happening to be gay don’t work well together. From the moment my parents discovered I was gay, till I legally separated myself from them (at the age of 16) my life was a living hell. My parents became verbally and emotionally abusive–telling me that they would have rather had an abortion than a gay son, or that it would have been better had I been born mentally retarded or with Downs Syndrome. Pretty bad, huh? Oh it gets worse. Thanks to the folks at Focus on the Family, my parents were referred to a “conversion therapy” organization known as NARTH–the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. These are the people who think that being gay is something that can be “cured”.
I was born and raised in Southeastern Kentucky, USA. I am bisexual. Knowing this has made me who I am today and I am happy that I was blessed with a open heart that I can share. However with such things comes great small mindedness (if I may so humbly coin the word, if it isn’t already). I faced (if one could measure such stupidity) a number of people who wouldn’t care to embrace our world’s diversities, let alone their own. However, I have never been the one to worry much about a handful of people like I just mentioned.
I know that through my open (not flamboyant, but normal) sexuality, that those around me (friends and family) have grown. I grew up in a god fearing home (mind you, not religious but ‘normal’). I knew (while growing up) that I was attracted to both sexes. I also knew that a good number of the smartest men were bisexual. I took great pride in this. Alfred Kinsey and Sigmund Freud, both bisexual married men, were two of the most influential fathers of understanding both with sexuality and human nature in general.
I know that things are getting better and its because we are acting now. Just like the brave, intelligent men and women of the past who dared to want something more.
I have always known that I was gay. I remember telling my mother that I thought the next door neighbor was cute. She would always laugh and tell me that I did not know what I was talking about. As I got older I had a girlfriend, or what everyone thought was my girlfriend. My junior year in high school was a really bad year. I started off the year fighting with myself if I was gay or just “thought I was gay”, like I had heard soooo many times before.
I had and uncle that was gay and my dad would always say “Its a damn choice nothing else.” I did not know any better and thought that their was something wrong with me. With this mindset I went into a 6 month depression. Every day got worst, I kept fighting with myself and who I was. Finally after months of depression, and failing grades I was at the end of my rope. Suicide looked really good just to get it over with. I was gonna burn in hell anyway I go, so why not get it over now. Then I stopped and thought, if I kill myself right now, even if god does hate me, I really don’t see MY god hating someone for being who they are.
So first and foremost I would be letting my god down. Second, I love my mom, she has always been their for me so I would be letting her down. I am the oldest of 5 kids what kind of a message would this send to them. That its ok to run away from what you are scared of and what if one of them was LGBT? My friends, teachers, MY FUTURE! I told myself enough is enough. I AM gay and their is nothing wrong with me.
I wrote this story about 6 years ago during my real coming out process and due to recent events reread it and remember how far I’ve come but how much I went thru… It really does get better!
“The Hate Within” By Toby Browning
It was just an ordinary January day and I was expecting to have an uneventful morning with my dad. My dad is 74 years old and, though he has 7 children, I’m the only one that goes to visit him. I’m his baby… but there is a huge generation gap because he is 46 years older than me. My dad is very proud of me, but he always worried about me.
He couldn’t understand why I got divorced and I would never talk to him about it. After listening to advice from my family and friends I decided not to tell my dad that I was gay. Everyone told me it would be better if I didn’t tell him. I went over to my dad’s house on this nothing special Sunday in January to visit with him. He and I were hungry so we decided to go get us some breakfast. I went down the road that I’ve been down a hundred times before but when I got to the bottom of the hill there was something going on.
Hello, my name is Willie, I’m 17 and I give a damn. I’m African-American and heterosexual, so, at times, some people seem to question why the struggle for homosexuals is so important to me. I’ll set that to rest shortly.
Let me just say, firstly, that I do have friends that are gay and lesbian. Furthermore, as a male, I’ve heard many people use derogatory language when it comes to these groups of people, even if they don’t mean to. In passing, they may say, “that’s gay” or “you’re so gay”. As a young man, I think it’s partially out of fear. There may be a perverse idea in male culture that being gay means being weak, if someone is gay, that means they will not respect the boundaries of other males. These ideas are wrong. More than that, they push forward the kind of ignorance that becomes poison and is spread from one generation to the next. Hatred should not be allowed to spread, it should be ended. This is part of the reason I give a damn.
The next reason is one that is even greater for me, as an African-American. In our culture, I think due to my belief that religion has been generally embedded into our culture, there is a stance against homosexuals that I have seen in my family. A stance I have made clear I am against. Why do I do it? Why do I put out that I am for same-sex marriage, for the rights of homosexuals to serve in the military, for them to get any rights their heterosexual counterparts have? Because I am for equality. In my eyes, Martin Luther King, Jr. would not distance himself from the struggles of homosexuals if he were alive today.
He would fight for them, because if one minority group is denied rights in America, it is America that suffers. If one of us is hurt, we are all hurting. If one of us is not free to live the American Dream that we’ve all been promised, none of us are. This is part of the legacy that MLK left behind. This is the legacy that is in my soul – as a man, as an African-American, as a Christian, and as a citizen of the United States of America. I will not abandon the goals of equality that those before me sacrificed their lives for. And it is my belief that the fight for Gay Rights is the biggest civil rights issue at this time.
My conviction is in response to a legacy. One brought to me by my ancestors who toiled in fields, oppressed; one articulated by Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech; one reaffirmed by the election of Barack Obama. This is the legacy bestowed upon me, one to fight for social justice and equality, and it is a legacy I shall carry on diligently. That’s why I give a damn.
While my body is technically male by birth, when I was growing up I thought that I might be gay because I was more interested with things girls like. I love to cook; I love women’s clothes, I cry when watching sappy movies (I.E. the man in the moon) and I love Hello Kitty and, I really don’t care for being a macho jerk.
When I was in high school, I had some gay classmate friends hit on me, and while I did not find their attention offensive, I was confused about my sexuality because I really felt like I was a girl. I did not understand why I was not interested in men because I have always really liked girls and yet I felt like a girl.
The answer came in my late twenties in the form of a joke. There was comedian on TV doing stand up, and he was asking questions about why people say certain things.
He said: some gay men say that they are gay because their soul is female. He then asked: how would I know if my soul was female if she was a lesbian?
My name is Tess, I’m 18 and I’m gay. It never really mattered much to me if the people around me accepted me, because I was ok with who I was whether they were or not. Being called “dyke” or “lesbo” always just kind of rolled off my shoulders in high school. I never flaunted my sexuality in school, if people knew, they knew, but it wasn’t announced to everyone I met, it sometimes took people by surprise when they found out, but their reactions never bothered me much. If they didn’t want to get to know me because of my sexual preference then that was on them.
Well, everything people and society said never affected me, until one night I was laying in bed on vacation in Myrtle Beach, I was flipping through the channels and landed on ABC Family, and the 700 Club was on, I got up to go brush my teeth, and as I was brushing my teeth I heard the topic of “gay marriage” come up on the TV, so I listened. And what I heard will always be in the back of my mind… “you wouldn’t let someone marry their dog, so why should we let same sex couples get married?”… Being compared to bestiality? It was ridiculous! And it made me realize that people really are that narrow-minded
Since my eyes were open to these things, I started noticing it more and more, at home, school, and in church. I’d hear the preacher lump homosexuals in the same category as rapists, murderers, and adulterers. And I hated it. And I was ready to do something about it. Everyday I try my best to break the mold of being “gay”, so people can see that we aren’t all the same, we are individuals and we deserve to be treated as equals in life.
My middle name is Gaye. For many years, I considered (and asked, and received permission from my parents) to get it legally changed to Gayle by deed poll.
You see, I’m straight, but as a child I was bullied for years in boarding school. My middle name was one of the things used to tease and bully me. I’m now nearly 35 years old, and still bear the scars of my childhood trauma. I watch things like “Sticks and Stones” (a video on YouTube by a young girl called Alye, an inspiring watch) and I break down because I can still feel that heartbreak.
In recent years I’ve gone out of my way to try and educate myself on equality, LGBT issues and discrimination. I’ve abandoned the beliefs taught to me by religious leaders when I was younger, because those beliefs wrongly caused me to see homosexuals as wrong and inferior and abhorrent. Perhaps one of the reasons the accusations of being gay when I was younger was so traumatic to me.
I am a 15 year old high school student. I am straight, and I have a boyfriend.
I have a few friends that are gay and have not come to terms yet in admitting it.
But why does it have to be so hard for them to admit it? Why is so hard for them to be able to share with their friends or parents that that they are gay? The problem does not lie with them. It is with the people that are so narrow-minded.
I believe that everyone has equal rights and I don’t think its should be so difficult for people to share their story.
Everyone has so much to bring to the world, and we can all learn from each other.
We must not put people down because they are different from us. If we let them speak we could all learn something more.
I cannot imagine not being able to see nor speak to my boyfriend because someone else thinks it is wrong because me it feels so right.
So I support all gay/lesbian and transgender people!
You are no different from me, and I will stand with you every step of the way, if we all gave a damn then people would feel free to express themselves AND THE WORLD WOULD BE A MORE COLORFUL PLACE
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Many faiths espouse values such as commitment to social justice, love and acceptance. But unfortunately, some also use their doctrines and guidebooks to attack, condemn and discriminate against gay and transgender people.