In High School I was still trying to figure but who the hell I was. I went through the mandatory 1990's grunge phase. I wore all black. I dyed my hair purple. I didn't know where I fit in. Or who I wanted to be.
Throughout those 7 years of
I had a few friends in my latter years of high school who were gay. I can remember meeting them through other friends and finding any excuse I could to be around them. It felt right. It was comfortable. There was never any judgement. I wasn't too light-skinned or not pretty enough. I was just me. In the midst of feeling relaxed around them, there were a few times I wanted to tell them my secret. To whisper in their ear, "I'm just like you." I never did. I was still scared. I didn't know what would happen to my life once I said those three words.
Until I came out to my husband in 2004, whenever any feelings arouse about other women I quickly pushed them out of my head. I was active in my church and kept busy being as a stay at home mom. I made sure I kept busy so I wouldn't have time to think about being gay. At this point I knew I was gay. I knew I was miserable and unhappy in my marriage due to the fact that I was gay. Yet I still forced myself to suffocate my feelings. In the end it became obvious and unbearable. With the help of my husband I faced the truth. It wasn't so scary. I had a support group of other married and gay women. My family and friends were not shocked when I told them. I'm out, in a relationship with a woman I absolutely love and adore. I'm finally happy and at peace. My kids are amazing and wonderful. It took me 27 years (give or take a few, I'm horrible with math) to muster the courage to say,
I AM GAY
When I think about Tyler Clementi and the three other kids who committed suicide in September, I'm devastated. I know without a doubt that could have been me. I don't think of myself as closested at the time. I was in plain denial. I can just imagine if the mean, horrible, cruel kids I went to school with found out. The teasing. The incessant name calling. I think the reason I'm still here, alive and breathing is because I didn't deal with it. It's hard enough to be a pre-teen and teenager without harrassment by your peers for your sexual preference. Which is frankly none of their business.
I'm in awe of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender kids that come out in their pre-teens, teens or early adulthood. They have something I never did. Courage! Courage to say fuck you and stand up to the bullies. Courage to be out and proud. I never had this courage and I deeply regret it. Starting now I'm committing myself to finding a way to encourage, support and do whatever I can to help kids who are struggling the same way I did. If you're not gay, join your local PFLAG organization. Show your support. Tyler, Seth, Asher, Billy and countless other bullied gay kids deserve it!
It's okay to be gay. It's okay to fall madly deeply in love with someone of the same gender. It's okay to be queer. It's okay to be a-sexual. It's okay to bi-sexual. It's okay to be born a girl but known you should have been a boy. Or vice versa. For the love of all things good in the world, it's ok to be gay.
If you're struggling with any issues related to your sexuality, or have thoughts of suicide, please visit The Trevor Project.