I’ve always known I was not straight; I was called a lesbian in 4th grade before I even knew what the word meant and still I knew that they were right. For as long as I can remember I’ve had crushes on sissy’s, pretty boys, tomboy’s and every kind of fancy femme I’ve ever seen.
In seventh grade I heard about two boys my age who were gay, one who was openly gay and one who simply could not hide it. I had crushes on them both. “HEY FAGGOT!” I’d hear the taunts echoing through the hallways of the junior high in the poor rural latin town where I grew up. My ears and face would burn with shame as I was tripped, my backpack or my hair pulled hard and I would wonder how they knew… I hid it so well… Who had told my secret?
“Turn around faggot!” Just before the culprit muttered, stunned when faced with a pretty girl “Sorry…We thought you were Miguelito!” Miguelito (the boy who could not hide) and I wore the same wild thrift store polyester shirts, bell bottom corduroy pants and had even shorn our hair into the same A-line bob hair cut. We had the same light skin and black hair and hip swinging wiggle of a walk. I’m not sure how much of the abuse I shouldered for Miguelito. Not nearly enough. I wish I had been more brave.
Since then I’ve come out as bisexual, as lesbian, as queer, as a person with a mental illness, a person with a learning disability, as a writer, as a mixed race peson and more. I hope I never stop coming out and being brave for myself and for all of those who cannot hide and for those of us who can but should not.
For those of you who are able to hide, please hold this in your heart when you feel afraid: Your life will not end when you will come out. Your life will begin. It may be more difficult at first. It may be worse when you first come out but know that there is more pride, more beauty and more joy waiting for you than you could ever have possibly imagined.