Coming out is scary but needs to be done for peace of mind.
Viewpoint by Evelyn Reyes
It was my first year in high school when I began to think, “What if I’m gay?”
A lot of my friends were in the process of getting girlfriends, walking around holding hands with other girls and telling people they were gay.
Some of them really were.
Others seemed to be going through a phase, experimenting almost because it was the “in” thing to do.
I was afraid because deep down inside, I knew my feelings were real. Once I announced them to the world, there was no turning back.
I kept thinking, “What is going to happen if I tell my family?” “What if they disown me?”
The stress of not knowing how they might react was completely visible. I was tired because I was sleeping no more than four hours a night, and I would eat maybe once a day.
I knew who I was, but I was terrified to come out and talk about it to anyone — until I met someone who made me feel good about myself.
This girl was able to talk to me and let me know that not only was I not crazy for having feelings for another girl, but most important, it was natural and perfectly safe.
I met Jasmine by accident. She was on the junior varsity girls basketball team and was a sophomore when I was a freshman.
She didn’t even know me when she stood up to my first girlfriend, another basketball player who was cheating on me.
Jasmine ultimately became my first real girlfriend, and I even brought her home and introduced her to my mother.
My mother was angry when I brought Jasmine home. She yelled at me, “Why don’t you just come out and say it?”
I was stunned. This was the first time I had brought my girlfriend home, but I had hinted to my mom that I might be bisexual.
Months before, I had gone to my mother and said, “You know those feelings you have for a boy? What if you have those feelings for a girl? What does that make you?”
So my mom had a hunch.
Still, by the time I brought my girlfriend home, this was how my mother reacted.
Without thinking, I told her, “Fine mom, I’m a lesbian.”
After this conversation, my mother and I became very distant for almost two years.
I wasn’t able to take part in normal teen things like sweet 16 or quinceañera because my mom was really religious. Sleepovers were out of the question because she didn’t want me sleeping with other girls.
My dad took the news quite well, and while my mother and I became more and more distant, my father and I grew much closer.
My mother and I weren’t able to repair our relationship until I had a horrible breakup my junior year in high school.
I was very depressed and began losing myself, which included cutting. Finally, my mom had enough and took me to a hospital to get help.
After I was released from the hospital, my mother was there, making sure I was taking my medication on time and taking me to my doctor’s appointments.
Soon I was able to sleep and eat normally. It took some time, but I was able to get my life back.
It’s been at least 10 years since I finally came out to my family, but in the end everything worked out for the better.
My current girlfriend, Jennifer, now lives with my mother, brother and me. My mother even worries when Jennifer doesn’t come home.
It’s even funnier to hear my mom tell me she made a special dinner for Jennifer because she knows how picky Jennifer can be.
Living together isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. In fact, we’re just like any other family where we all work to get things done and take care of one another.
I am happy I was able to get this out in the open, and I am proud to call myself a lesbian.