Archive for April, 2012

On honesty and acceptance

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Recently, I have only been in the habit of blogging about something that I believe is worth saying. I am not someone who wears their heart on their sleeve. Honestly though, I am exhausted from the effort of keeping everything inside and ignoring the giant elephant in the room. I’ve decided that I would like things to be out in the open.

I have never before felt the urge to make such a public declaration as I am making now, and as much as I don’t believe in labels, I feel it is important for me to admit to you that I am a gay woman and have suspected this fact to be true for several years, although it has only been within the last two years that I have had the courage to admit this to myself and to those close to me. This may come as a shock to some of you, but hopefully to others it will not. And no, one of my friends did not think it would be amusing to hack into my account and play a practical joke on me. In fact, I feel this very act diminishes and belittles the act of coming out for those of us who eventually find the courage and willpower to do so.

Realizing you are gay has many significant impacts on a person’s life. For me, it meant a constant fear that my friends and family would learn the truth and therefore a persistent need to hide it at all costs; it meant a pervasive feeling of shame and guilt, which would often lead to depression; it meant the end of a lot of things that I had believed to be true; it meant the loss of several friendships and an increased sense of loneliness.

Although some things have gotten better since I came out to a few of my friends and family, I must admit that there are a lot of issues that I am still dealing with, as much as I try to avoid thinking about them. Despite no longer being as fearful of people finding out, I often still experience the fear that I will never be accepted by my family and friends. Being told to keep it a secret for the sake of my parents’ reputation has not helped, and has only served to reinforce this fear and belief that I should be ashamed of who I am and that, by being truthful about it, I will bring shame to my family.

Often, I will also still feel like an outcast, especially when I am around a group of Christians, which is why I try to avoid being in this situation whenever possible, as much as I do love these people as individuals and know that this is not their intention. For me, being gay also means that I am constantly questioning whether I will ever be able to live a “normal” life – marriage, weddings, babies – everything most girls dream of. Although society has generally become more accepting in this respect, I think we still have some way to go before we can say that you and I are treated and considered equally and fairly as human beings.

I want to be able to walk down the street and hold my head high, knowing full well that I am a smart, funny, talented, and decent human being, without having to put myself down for the fact that I also happen to be gay. I want to be able to introduce my friends and family to my future-partner, if I am ever so fortunate as to have one, and to have them see her for who she is as a person and not just for her anatomy. I want for my friends and family to someday love and acknowledge me because of who I am, rather than loving me despite it. I want to be able to rejoice and take pride in myself, rather than be ashamed and depressed about it. Although I know that change doesn’t occur overnight, discovering the latent homophobia that is still prevalent within my own heart has made me realise that writing to you now is an important step towards this direction. Until I can say to myself, “Yes, I am gay, so what?”, how can I expect anyone else to do the same.

Chances are, I will not be the only person you know or will meet in your life that identifies as being gay or somewhere along the queer spectrum. I pray that you do not simply take the stand point that your religion or upbringing requires you to take, but that you are able to see our humanity and to sympathize with us as fellow human beings. I humbly ask your help in this because I am only human, and as hard as I try to hold my head above water, there are times where I find myself alone and drowning and in need of someone to tell me that they love me and support me and that everything is going to be ok.

Someone once wrote that love is the one thing that cuts across all our realities; it is the bridge between all our differences. I can only hope that we would one day be willing to walk across it.

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