I am a lesbian. Four words that took me a long time to say out loud. A part of me was ashamed that I was this person that people would hate, a person that my family would be embarrassed by, a deviant from the natural order. I was ashamed of being different and ashamed that labels associated with homosexuals would now be used to refer to me. My shame kept me from myself. It chained me to a life of mediocrity and conformity. My shame limited my potential. My shame took from the struggle one more voice that could speak out against the injustices LGBT people face, one more voice that could shout “I’m queer and I’m here to stay“. I was ashamed that I was defying my culture, my religion and all the things I knew to be “right”.
I am a lesbian. I remember sitting alone in my room after I had said it to myself waiting for something to happen. I listened as if waiting for the bolt of lightning, for the earth to open up and swallow me but there was nothing, only silence and truth. It filled the room like a sweet perfume. As I let out my breath, I felt just a little bit lighter but even more afraid.
I am a lesbian. What was I going to do? How was I going to live? What kind of life would I have? I wondered if I should have let this truth stay hidden. Now it was out and I knew I could not keep it a secret forever. Who could I tell? Who was going to accept me? I interacted with people like myself, I got to see parts of my story in their lives. Some of their courage rubbed off on me. I shared my truth with the people I loved. Some took it well and others didn’t.
Today I have come out to most of my friends, the ones that I knew I could trust, the ones I believed would not love me less because I am a lesbian. I came out to my sisters and they were the easy ones because they all claim they already knew and they always had. I still haven’t come out to my parents. I am afraid. I am afraid they won’t accept me and they won’t love me anymore. I’m not ready to take that leap of faith. One day I will say to them, mom and dad, I am a lesbian.