In Honor Of National Coming Out Day & All Of Us Who Cannot Hide (And All of Us Who Can)

Ofelia del Corazon (1994) When I was thirteen I went to stay for a week with my boyfriend's uncle Mark Souza, he was a real estate agent and fabulous drag queen. That summer I learned how beautiful being queer could be and that I wasn’t doomed to a life of pain and loneliness… And that if I waited patiently I could have a life like his… full of love and sex, art, dress up costumes, dinner parties, brunches and sequin ball gowns!  Mark dressed me up in his gorgeous beaded dresses, giant wigs and big gaudy jewelry and taught me how to use the $25 silver Guerlain liquid eye liner I'd bought with money from my first job. Mark said I was like his own personal Barbie Doll (his walls were covered with them) and I beamed with pleasure--if I was his doll then he was my queer fairy Godmother. Thank you Uncle Mark for showing me how to live a life to be proud of--before there were "It gets better" videos and gay straight alliances in high schools I had you.

(1994 )When I was thirteen I went to stay for a week with my boyfriend’s uncle Mark Souza, he was a real estate agent and fabulous drag queen. That summer I learned how beautiful being queer could be and that I wasn’t doomed to a life of pain and loneliness… And that if I waited patiently I could have a life like his… full of love and sex, art, dress up costumes, dinner parties, brunches and sequin ball gowns!
Mark dressed me up in his gorgeous beaded dresses, giant wigs and big gaudy jewelry and taught me how to use the $25 silver Guerlain liquid eye liner I’d bought with money from my first job. Mark said I was like his own personal Barbie Doll (his walls were covered with them) and I beamed with pleasure–if I was his doll then he was my queer fairy Godmother. Thank you Uncle Mark for showing me how to live a life to be proud of–before there were “It gets better” videos and gay straight alliances in high schools I had you, Uncle Mark.

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s