Added March 26, 2011
I always knew I didn’t fit in with the rest of my friends growing up though I did everything to fit in. That includes being boy crazy, dating lots of popular boys, etc. It is hard to explain, but I truly did not know other gay people existed until in college. There was the stereotypical gay boy that attended my high school and the lesbian volleyball coach, but I didn’t really look at them in a different light. They weren’t “like me”. In my mind they were gay but it wasn’t something that was a possibility for me. Gay people only existed on TV or in a very far distance but not in my world.
My first day at college I was invited to a party with some friends on the woman’s basketball team. My total oblivious 18 year old self was blown away when they informed me all these girls, who were exactly like me in almost every way, were all lesbians. I instantly realized that all those weird friendships that oddly gave me butterflies weren’t normal, at least not for a straight girl. I was gay.
Obviously I struggled. I came from an incredibly conservative family. I dated girls, but always dated guys on the side because I knew that was my only option to remain a member of my family. Being gay wasn’t an option. I tried to “straight live” my gayness away. I fell in love with a girl at age 19. A year later I broke her heart, and mine, when I said I thought I was straight. I was getting a lot of pressure from my parents to date guys. I had a boyfriend that was in the Marines, and was stationed in Afghanistan for 6 months and lived on base. It was real easy to have a relationship and convince myself I was in love when the only communication we had was letters and the occasional phone call. I tried so hard to make it work, but I found myself crying myself to sleep after the few dates I did get with him because the feelings I had for him felt so superficial. I knew I was denying myself true love, but I was willing to sacrifice everything for him because I did care for him and my parents loved him and we would’ve made the perfect Midwest couple. Luckily after a while I realized I could no longer lead him, myself, or my family on. I ended it and instantly my parents questioned my motives for being single.
I begged and pleaded my way back into my ex’s arms because the whole time I was with trying to live straight, no feelings I ever felt with anyone were as nearly as strong as the feelings I had for her. Aside from a few rough patches we have been together ever since. One of those rough patches included my parents finally confronting me about my sexuality. After almost 4 years of lying to them, I couldn’t do it anymore. I told them the truth, I told them I was in love, and I wasn’t changing. My father disowned me that very day. I’ve tried several times to make amends but my parents want nothing to do with me as long as I’m still gay. I have 6 siblings who are no longer allowed to communicate with me and have to sneak to see/talk to me. Unfortunately two of them are 8 and 9 and I haven’t seen them since they were 4 and 5. I miss them so much and it pains me to know they are told I ran away and want nothing to do with them (in my parent’s eyes that what I did – I chose to be gay, therefore I chose to leave my family).
I am currently living with my girlfriend (now fiancé, we are getting married this summer!!!!!!). I am a high school teacher and coach in an inner city school. Every year I have 5 to 10 kids confide in me that they are gay/lesbian. Many of them have no parental role models at home they can talk to. I am the only adult they have to talk to and I don’t want them to feel like they are ever alone. Unfortunately I’m still afraid to say those words to them, “I’m gay” even though they all know it. Despite that, I hope that I can still be a role model from them. I don’t ever want them to think that being gay is going to hold them back from their dreams. I am gay, and am I’m doing more than I ever thought I would have when I first realized I was gay. I love my life, my “family”, my career, and I love that I’m a lesbian.