I’ve always known I liked women ever since I was small, but I just didn’t know what it was called.
By the time I was 14 and attended the Duke Ellington School of The Arts and was exposed to different sexual orientations and gender identifies, I finally had something I could identify with and more importantly I could find myself, my identity.
I came out to my family as lesbian. My family are hardcore Baptists, Christians, and not only didn’t believe me — my mother, a Registered Nurse kept telling me, “It’s a phase, it’s a phase, you’ll grow out of it.” But they didn’t accept it, or me, for that matter.
What kinda made it hard too was that I’m African American and my people aren’t all that supportive of gay people — well mostly the super active church folks.
When I first decided to come out, I chose my older sister and her idea was to tell my mother who I was deadly afraid of. As I said, she thought it was just a phase and as I kept bringing girls home, she’d get angry and tell me; “Don’t you bring them in my house.”
In fact, it got so bad that it seemed every girl who may only have been just a friend was viewed with a lot of suspicion by my mother who insisted that I was having sex with every one of them. My mother and some family members would force me to go to church and of course they wanted to “pray away my gayness” which as I got older before leaving out on my own made me at least try to “act straight.”
After leaving Duke Ellington School where I could at least be “open” because my grades were pretty bad I went to Springarn H.S. in northeast D.C., in a rougher neighborhood, where kids who attended weren’t even interested in being there, was not welcoming.
There, I ended up being bullied by a guy who said to me as he hit me, “If you’re gonna act like a guy, then I’m gonna treat you like a guy.”
One day, after receiving blows in the face and upper body from him I complained but the school nor the police didn’t seem to care.
I wasn’t happy — forced to live a lie — pretending to be with men or like men. It wasn’t me. Then too, I had to sneak around to be with women, I knew that I wasn’t wrong, I wasn’t a sinful person, and most of all, I wasn’t broken.
But I grew a tough skin- I also knew that there were going to be people hating on me just because.
Now, at age 23 and an adult, things have gotten better in my relations with my family although it still has some tension whenever I mention my personal life — I kinda don’t talk much about dating for example.
But, now? I can say that I am happy with my life and to me that’s all that matters. I guess what I want to tell other people, especially girls like me, accept yourself always.
You need to find friends who see you for you, not because of your sexual or gender orientation. I made it, you can too.