“I am gay.” That might just be one of the hardest sentences for an adolescent to admit to themselves and their peers. I first knew I was lesbian in eighth grade, when my girlfriends were talking about boys and all I could think about was them. When I would comment on a girl’s appearance, saying how pretty she was, all my girl-friends would agree with me. But I knew it wasn’t the same kind of pretty in our minds.
At first, I denied the thought of being homosexual for fear of what my friends’ parents and family members would think of me. Growing up my parents taught me that gay and lesbian people were ‘wrong’ and I could not bear the thought of my parents thinking I was wrong. They also taught me to “just be myself” but I never knew how to be myself when I was hiding my biggest personality characteristic from everyone close to me. In high school, I found myself feeling very jealous of the kids who could be so free about their sexuality and how accepting their parents were about it and I only wished that I could be that open to those around me.
During the summer of ninth grade in my general group of friends I met Alex, a beautiful young woman. I slowly started to come out to my friends saying things like, “I would totally go lesbian for Alex.” Or when people would ask me if I was straight I would simply reply, “I don’t know,” and leave it at that. Secretly, I was waiting for Alex to leave her relationship for me and, eventually, she did. It was easier for me to be open about my sexuality once I had someone I trusted to help me ‘break the news.’ Although a lot of my friends weren’t surprised, and claimed they already knew, my parents were a different story.
Getting Kicked Out
On the night I confessed I was in a relationship, and that it wasn’t with a boy, my mother was in shock. She was convinced I was only saying it for attention and said, “Lesbians don’t live under my roof,” thinking I would take it back. But I just left. It was hard to be kicked out for who I was. I wanted her to be supportive and love me no matter what; I only felt like she was ashamed of me but I had hoped that one day she would accept me. When she didn’t, I felt like her and I could never have the relationship a mother and daughter should have. My mom and I solved our differences by not talking about it. She wants to pretend that I am something that I’m not and avoid confrontation; I let her think that. This frustrates me to this day because I would like to be open and honest with my mother. I would like to ask her for relationship advice or cry and eat ice cream with her when I’m heartbroken. But I know that I can’t, and just hope one day she will understand.
Proud of Who I Am
Once I ‘came out’ everything became so much easier. I was able to really be myself. I began to join groups with other gay and lesbians my age and I started attending gay and lesbian events. I feel like I can get close to people with out feeling like I’m hiding something. It’s made me a stronger person and I have become proud of who I am.
One thing that I think that parents can do when they have a child ‘come out’ is to be supportive. That’s all kids really want is support. It’s scary to admit that you are different. If my mom would have been more accepting, I think things would have been totally different between us. It makes the bond between parent and child even stronger because you, as the child, have learned that you really can trust your parents. When they say something, they mean it.