It doesn’t matter who I really am, yet the story does.
I was born and raised in Richmond with a grandmother who was a preacher, both grandfathers who served in the military, a mom who made inappropriate comments and a father more than absent half the time. I grew up never realizing who I really was. For many years, I denied being gay. Even in 8th grade, there was speculation from peers. It didn’t matter, I would deny until I could get out of here.
When I finally did get out of Richmond by going to college, I met a wonderful girl my sophomore year. She was a junior getting ready to go to Officer’s Training for the Army. We fell in love shortly before Christmas of ‘10 and have been together ever since (even with some fighting in between). When her parents finally found out that she was dating me, they flipped. I was kicked out of their house that weekend with no hopes of going back to Richmond until Sunday. I saw her one more time before LDAC, and when she came back, she demanded one thing from me. Tell my mother.
In August of ‘11 before heading back to school for my junior year, I finally came out to my mother after she had gotten back from work. I told her and she replied, “I knew.” She had known all these years. My mother accepted me for who I was. My aunts knew shortly after and accepted me.
More than a year after telling my mother, I told her that I wanted to marry. She is giving me her grandmother’s engagement ring and wedding band. She is so accepting of me and my significant other. It’s wonderful.
I escaped the hardships that most Hondurans face back home in our native country, also known as the Central American hell. But I went from one hell to another. Being who I am, gender fluid, even pansexual… just by being me, I’ve sinned. Just by being me, I’ve become a disgrace to my family. Just like most teens out there who are scared to be judged by the ones who should love them unconditionally. I stay quiet. I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not, but I’m also not myself. I’ve only ever felt myself around others who’ve gone through what I have. So maybe my story isn’t the worst, but there are a lot of things that are too painful to type out.
But this time… This time I won’t stay quiet. Not just to benefit myself, but others like me. Because when I was being abused, when I had my own culture thrown in my face, all I wanted was someone who understood… Someone who could say the words I could never say. So to whomever is reading this… I know your pain. And it’s ok… Even if no one says it to us… It’s ok to be who we are. We shouldn’t be ashamed. We’re this way because we were born like this. Just like how any other person is born straight, bi, or whatever their sexuality is. Our culture is beautiful, rich, and full of pride and color. And we too deserve to have a place in that world. We shouldn’t live in fear. We are all human no matter what.
I was brought up in an “ordinary” house with two working parents and was the oldest of three girls. I was always the ‘little mother’ to my sisters and to the numerous kids I babysit for. Dating was an issue for me because, as I tried to ride the ‘normal’ train, I never fell in love with any man (although I loved many). But it was the women in my life that made me vibrant. I married, had a daughter and lost custody of her because, according to the court papers, was “emotionally, spiritually, and physically harming her because of my sexual orientation.” Now that was many, many years ago but more than that hurt was having to tell my mom about the upcoming custody battle and her words were “What did I do wrong?” Neither one of my parents went to court with me or testified for me.
My orientation was never spoken about with either of my parents again during my parents lifetime, they accepted me as a person but never welcomed my partners until 11 years ago. My mother had passed away and my father liked “that girl.”
I have been luckier than most and my siblings, especially my youngest sister, have been my biggest supporters. We are welcomed in her home and my niece (who is graduating high school this year) spends time with us in our home. Families make a lot of difference, but as I get older, it is the friends that are the day to day supporters.
I met my best friend, Peggy, when she rented a room from me while attending Duke Divinity School and quickly became my best friend and a maternal figure. It is Peggy and her husband, Max, (both Methodist ministers) that witnessed our union. As life takes twists and turns, I attended church with Peggy and then met with the pastor before joining the church. I was shocked and hurt when she told me that I should keep quiet about my relationship because it would not be accepted in the church. We were and are still shocked. While the world changes and accepts, I feel like we have come full circle. If not for Peggy, I would have lost all faith in the straight world.
For now, I am still treading lightly. My partner and I lead quiet lives. I believe without family, we would be very alone.
This is my story…
I’m 22 years old, and I’m a lesbian. I’ve been out for 4 years now, but it hasn’t been an easy road. I grew up in a Christian household where homosexuality wasn’t just a sin, it was the devil itself. I was reminded of this often, and I think it was because my brother was gay and my family knew about it. My mom would always make comments about how all the bad stuff that happens to him is because he is gay.
I dated boys in high school, but that never stopped my parents from assuming I was gay. We fought like you would never believe and it made our relationship horrible. My senior year of high school, I was seeing this guy pretty steadily and my parents backed off.
When I came to college, I met the girl of my dreams and we have been together since Sept. 7th 2007. We hid it for the longest time, until her parents found out that first summer. Her dad called my parents and things kinda went bad for awhile. My mom said I was going to hell and I was disgusting. She wouldn’t even sit in the same room as me, let alone talk to me. My dad was more understanding. Even though he didn’t approve, he said it was my life and to live it the way I wanted.
My parents have not mentioned a word about my sexuality or relationship since that summer. But I want my parents to at least give me a chance, because I’m not changing and this isn’t a phase I’m going through.
The reason I give a damn is because I’ve been there. I know what it is like to feel alone and to think life won’t get better. But it does get better. You find people who accept you for you, and those people become your family. There are too many kids ending their lives and living in the shadows in fear of this society and it saddens me dearly.
There needs to be a change in this world, and the world needs equality. It is not fair that me and my girlfriend do not have the same rights as the heterosexual couple standing beside us. We are no different than every other person in this world. Love is blind, love does not discriminate, and we do not choose who we fall in love with. Being happy should be at the top of everyone’s list, and by having equality it will be. <3
My story beings back on July 1, 2009, when I came out to my mom.
It was the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. I come from a really small town in Eastern Washington, highly populated by conservatives. I was bullied from 5th grade up till the day I came out. My mom and I had an argument about how I never wanted to contribute to helping out the family. Granted, I worked a full-time job, went to school, held leadership positions, and paid rent and utilities, as well as raised my two younger brothers for her. She said some awful things that I reacted back with, “I will never be the perfect son you want Mom, I’m gay.” My mom stopped. Her eyes screamed disappointment and disgust. She walked back into her house without saying a word to me. I stayed outside to collect myself. When I went inside, all she told me was to pack the things i purchased with my own money and get out of her house.
I was bawling my eyes out as I walked outside and called my friend asking for a ride to the nearest bus stop. When she didn’t answer, I left a message and called a teacher who I loved dearly and she said she would be on her way to pick me up. My friend called back and said she would be over and to call my teacher and to stop her from driving 2 hours. My friend took me to her place where she lived with her mom. Her mom took me in.
It was great living with my friend. I had a job where my co-workers were accepting, a school that supported me, and I was engaged to an amazing man. But happiness ended after a few months. My fiance was abusive and I left him in April 2010, two months before my graduation. The last two months of high school were a blur because I kept myself intoxicated at all hours to forget that, while my friends were gearing up graduation with their families, I was by myself.
A close teacher of mine pulled me into her room a week before graduation. She said that she was worried for my well-being. I was young, on my own, and in pain. She told me of her friend that went through the same thing only he became an addict and was homeless. I remember what she said, “Don’t lose yourself in the hatred, but find the strength to endure.”
The day of my graduation. I asked my mom to attend with my younger brothers. I wanted them to see that I had succeeded. All my mom said was she will see if she could get off work early to attend. I didn’t know if she was there as I began to walk in unison to my seat. When it was my turn to collect my diploma, I looked into the crowd and saw my mom was there in the family section with my younger brothers. After the ceremony, she hugged me, and my brothers were happy that I graduated. At that moment, every feeling of resentment and hate went out my body and I told myself I forgave her even if she didn’t accept me.
Two days later, I moved away to start a new life. It’s been three years since that night with my mom. Everyday I reflect back on my decision of continue to fight even when I stumbled and was on drugs and alcohol. I overcame it. I’m in my 3rd year of college and I love it.
I’ve known I was bi since I was about 7 or 8 years old. I knew because I was in the back of one of my aunt’s convertible and I was sitting next to my friend, she turned to me and looked at me and said so softly, “Have you kissed anyone?”
“No… have you?” I replied. She shook her head, no.
“Wanna kiss then?” she asked. I nodded, then we kissed. From that moment on, I knew I was bi.
I hid it from everyone because I wasn’t sure how to tell anyone about this. Slowly, in my tenth grade year, I started to tell my friends at school and they accepted me completely. I knew I wasn’t completely alone, and they gave me so much support, love, care, and respect while I was still unsure of what to do regarding my family (who are mainly older, set in their ways, and 100% judgmental).
I was afraid my best friend, Kim, would reject me. Instead, she asked me flat out, while we were running at track practice by ourselves, “Are you okay with that? Do you need anything from me?”
“No… I’m fine,” I said, “I was just nervous you wouldn’t accept me.”
“I love you, you’re my sister. I wouldn’t judge you anyway.” She hugged me tightly, and since then she’s been one of the people to listen to me when I get judged over it. She’s stood up for me in front her friends, her family, her friend’s family, and complete strangers at cross country and track meets.
My family hasn’t been completely supportive. However, my aunt, who i live with, said to me one day, “I love you no matter what.” So I told her that I’m bi and I’m not changing. It’s who I am. She said she doesn’t hate me and it’s not going to change anything about me. However, she soon forgot. And whenever she saw anything on the TV, news, or anywhere else about anything remotely related to LGBT, she would start to yell, scream, curse and say, “That is the reason why the country is going to hell. They are freaks of nature.” I would defend them with all my heart, and she would just yell, hit me, ground me, throw things at me and everything else. She was brutal to me, and I couldn’t do anything. I’m a good kid. I get high grades, I do 3 sports per school year, I am in a college class, I help my community, I work in the summer, I never get into fights, I’m against drugs and alcohol, and i don’t sleep around. She has a pretty good girl.
So I became more and more afraid to tell anyone. I had a girlfriend who I cared greatly for. My aunt found out and threatened to kick me out of the house in the middle of a snow storm. So I had to end the relationship. Then I got another girlfriend. My aunt killed that relationship too. She said she supports me, but when I told her, she yelled and almost kicked me out of the house.
I told my biological mom, and she didn’t care as long as she doesn’t see it, she and my stepfather don’t care. But since then, she has forgotten or hasn’t brought it up. Since the past of being burned, I was scared to tell her again.
School wasn’t much better. One of my ex-girlfriends and a few friends started to bully me, and it was out that I was bi. Soon, one of my teammates who I was very close with said to Kim, “I can’t be around Morgen.”
“She’s a lesbian, and my mom doesn’t want her to try anything on me. Aren’t you afraid she’ll do something to you?”
“NO! Morgen is bi and she is like my sister. She loves me but not in that way, and would you really judge her?” Kim said.
“Morgen begs to be judged…” Rosa said.
I still have yet to tell my family, but since then I found the most supportive person in the world: my current boyfriend, Chris. He’s straight and he knows i’m Bi, as does his mom. They both are okay with it. Chris completely supports all LGBT items and gets rather angry, since he views us as people who deserve love as well. With him by my side, I’m beginning to think that I can tell my family again and that I’m not completely alone.
I went to a high school for the arts (a bit like FAME), which was known around town as “the gay school” because of the abnormally high numbers of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students there. I was openly bisexual, but because I was in a relationship with a girl I was labeled by others as a lesbian.
I was happy and comfortable in my school, and in the places we hung out in, but my parents were not. I never came out to them about it, but they weren’t stupid and figured it out, they took me out of that school and placed me into a normal high school because of my “unnatural relationship” with a girl. I was constantly bullied at the new school and lasted less than a month there before dropping out in my junior year and getting a GED.
I entered college and made it through the rest of my teen years because of the support of my friends and the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth support group in my city. It wasn’t easy, but it made me who I am today. I give a damn, because no one should have their parents turn on them when the rest of the world is already against them.
My name is Kayla and I am an upcoming senior in high school. I live in Mississippi so I have encountered my fair share of ignorance that has spanned from sexuality to race to religion. It’s either their way or the highway. In my high school, there is an abundance of religion and bible-verse slinging, but a lack of teaching about tolerance and respect for what makes people different. Nobody takes the time to remind us that the differences in people is what makes us all so damn beautiful.
I grew up as many young southern children did- going to a church where basically everything is sinning. My family did not support same-sex relationships. I actually remember one day my mother saying, “Let my kids do drugs instead, something I can easily fix.” Now I just reflect and can’t help but think, “REALLY!!!” Up to this point in my life, I have had all the opinions that a person could have about the topic:
1) IT’S WRONG
2) WELL IT’S STILL WRONG BUT YOU CAN’T JUDGE PEOPLE
and from that I began to ask the question, “If a person can’t help who he or she falls in love with, why would God give them a person they shouldn’t be with based on the fact that those two people have the same junk?” The I realized He wouldn’t! He is a gracious and loving God.
After I came to this conclusion, I started to notice the ostracism of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lifestyle in my school and how teachers did nothing to correct the ignorance that flowed around their classrooms. One kid actually gave a PowerPoint presentation on how he believed that being gay was wrong and how all gay men should be sent to live on a secluded island in the middle of nowhere. One girl continues to use the excuse that it’s how a person is raised. A person can blame their parents for their own ignorance for only so long. After awhile, the way a person sees the world becomes entirely their own. But this is partially the reason why I GIVE A DAMN.
The other reason I GIVE A DAMN is because of my friends. I have been lucky enough to befriend people who not only share my beliefs, but also have the courage to stand for what they believe in and they don’t give a damn about what anyone thinks of them. These people include others students as well as my guidance counselor and a teacher. They stood completely behind me when I wanted to start a Gay-Straight Alliance at my school.
I also think about some of my friends’ futures and if they decide to marry the ones that they love. I want to know that they will have the same rights as I do. I want to know that they will always know that someone is with them in the fight for justice and equality.
“I am not gay, although I wish I was, just to piss off homophobes.” -Kurt Cobain
I was born and raised in a town of maybe 30,000 people, in eastern Michigan. I’ve gone to school in this town, all my friends and family are in this town or surrounding areas, I’ve also held five jobs in this town and I’m still only eighteen.
In my town I don’t think there has ever been an issue with discrimination, whether it be black or white and straight or gay. All through school I have had a lot of friends and the closest thing to discrimination I have ever experienced was a small number of my peers asking if I was gay.
Pretty much everyone in my town is okay with homosexuals, or they just keep they’re mouths shut. All my friends are very supportive of me being gay, even my manly macho straight friends. Almost everyone knows about me being gay. All my friends, some of my co-workers, most of my family (including my dad who is extremely supportive). But the one person who I cannot bring myself to come out to is my mother.
Coming from a town where there hasn’t been an issue with gay people, who would have thought that my mom would dislike gays so much. For almost all of my childhood I knew being gay was considered “wrong”. And the only reason I thought it was wrong was because my mom made me feel bad about anything she thought that I did was gay. The brand of clothes I wore, the television shows I watched, the friends I had, the things I did in my spare time. And because of this my mom is not a person I can talk to, look at, spend quality time with, laugh with, cry with, I can hardly share my love with her.
I don’t want other teenagers to feel like dirt around the person they should be most open with, the person they should love the most, the person who should be their best friend. That’s what a mother should be.
I have always believed in God for my entire life. I also believe that religion should never be used to discriminate against anyone. I know not everyone is perfect and I know that we can accept anyone who is gay. I know that some of my co-workers believe in God. I also told a couple of them about me being a gay man. They still love me for who I am and accept me for what I am. I also have heard in the news about lesbians and gay men getting beaten up over their sexual orenitation. I just think it is wrong and nobody should allow it to happen.
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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.