I started liking girls since second grade, but I had no idea what was happening to me. I remember refusing flowers from boys and at the same time trying to get closer to them to see what happens. I never got too close because I couldn’t. I guess it’s just normal not to go further with getting closer to someone you are not attracted to. Trees cannot blossom in winter, right? It’s just normal.
At some point, in sixth grade I’ve made it clear to myself: I like girls. I had so many crushes on girls in my class and as many on young teachers. I didn’t talk to anyone and I kept it a secret in high school too. It is always a lonely business to keep a secret.
I can’t count the crushes I had, making up stories in my head about expressing my feelings and mutual attraction. I can say that is was hard and frustrating.
I was 21 when I decided to tell everyone I would meet and become friends with, that I was a lesbian. I had a certain confidence because I hadn’t been bullied before (just because I hadn’t come out).
Years later, when I got together again with my closest friends from high-school, I revealed the big secret. I really did not expect my very best friend from high-school to be surprised and reluctant, while the other friend was like: “Oh, nice, I totally understand you!”
Reluctant people are hard to manage too, because they won’t judge but they will always have that hesitant attitude towards you. I am grateful for the natural ones, they just do understand and that feels really good.
I rarely shout it out loud to any acquaintance that I was lesbian, but here’s what happened when I came out to random people.
Coming out to men/boys has always been the most unpleasant thing to do, mostly in college and in particular to those that hit on me. Some become frustrated and start to develop theories according to which “you are not lesbian”, you just “didn’t meet the right guy” or they start asking if you had sex with a man/boy, and if you hadn’t, that’s the problem. They come with all sorts of questions and deny your sexuality because they cannot understand nor accept.
Then, there were the straight girls/women I have fallen for. I have declared my “love” to almost every straight girl/woman I had a crush on, but before doing so I let them know about my sexuality. Every attempt to get involved with a straight girl/woman failed for me. More or less, because some just like being adored and having someone interested in them and they would keep you close, but not that close. Others would just run away as if you had threatened them. I did not understand that for a while, until I realized that I run away from men/boys who flirt with me in the same way.
Until now, society hasn’t been the major discriminator in my case. I know all those people out there, not understanding, not accepting, judging and being rude, but I had a way of avoiding them.
For me, the biggest challenge is my family. I told my sister about my sexuality years ago. She doesn’t judge much but I can see that she cannot understand how love can happen between two people of same sex. On the other hand, my cousin was totally accepting.
My mom found about my sexuality through a story I had written in my diary. She never accepted that I am a lesbian; she made that clear through her many comments during the years. Sometimes I see how much she dislikes the LGBT community and that is what hurts most. I can take almost anything from people I do not know, but the hardest part of being LGBT is when one of the most important people in your life doesn’t accept who you are.
I am aware of the discrimination out there, but I still avoid being part of the conflicts, because I do not believe in solving them through “war.”
Coming out to random people is so much easier than coming out to your family, because there is still this mentality: “What will our relatives/neighbors/friends say? They will think we are a lousy family, that we are abnormal.”
I wait for the day when my family will value me more than they value the opinion of relatives, neighbors, friends or acquaintances.
Keeping your sexual preference a secret is a lonely business, coming out can become a messy business, but as long as you are true to yourself there is no point in not living your life as who you are, not as who they want you to be!