This account is about the struggle I have faced while finding myself and accepting myself for what I am, a homosexual. In this day and age homosexuality is being accepted more and more, although there are those who are against it. American culture has become more accepting to the homosexual community by legalizing same sex marriages and such. That does not make things all that easier, especially living in the house of very religious Haitians.
All over the world you are hearing about how same sex marriages are being legalized, but you are also hearing about the hate crimes that come along with that. So despite the world somewhat accepting the idea of homosexuality, it is still considered a deviant behavior. If I’m with my girlfriend and we’re holding hands, I see the looks I get whether it is on campus or at the super market. Also when you hear people say “no homo” or “that’s gay” (I cant lie I used to say that myself), it’s just emphasizing the negative connotation on being gay/lesbian. I don’t understand completely what makes people so judgmental about homosexuals. Do people think that if I look at them I will turn them gay or give them a disease? Why must society be so concerned about who I have feelings for, there are bigger issues in this world that need attention.
Ever since I was a kid I always felt something was off about me. I hated playing with dolls more than anything in this world. I was that girl that wanted to be in a tree, riding a bike, playing video games, and playing soccer and basketball with my older brother and cousins. My mom used to try and get me to be more “girly” but I couldn’t do it, I had to come home with grass stains on my clothes from playing with the boys at recess. It wasn’t until middle school that I had any clue what any of that meant.
Instead of saying hi to each other the girls and boys would greet each other with a hug or kiss on the cheek. I guess the guys saw me as one of them cause I never got that as often as other girls did, it was more of a “dap” (hand shake of some sort) that guys went with to say hi to me. At this time I was too young to have figured anything out as to why they saw me so differently as the other girls. It did make me a bit self conscious, I wanted to know what was wrong with me that made guys give other girls hugs but when they saw me they reached out their hand instead.
By this age everyone was into boyfriends/girlfriends and all that lovey dovey gooey stuff. Meanwhile I didn’t really care much for it since I knew something was different about me. What I remember is getting this weird feeling in my stomach whenever I was with this girl Tammy. Looking back at it now I am fully aware that the feeling was butterflies due to the crush I had on this girl. Other than that I just was oblivious to what I would soon come to find out about myself.
It was the eighth grade that everything started to make sense to me. I had gotten that weird feeling for what would be the third or fourth girl but still was unsure why. About a month later I remember finding out about two people in my life being homosexual. The first person would be my uncle. I reached this discovery from my older brother who let it slip that the reason my mother and father’s brother don’t get along as much as I remember from being a kid was because he was gay and she didn’t want this around her kids now that we were older. The second person was a girl in my grade who was also a friend of mine name Sharon. After finding this out I was a bit skeptical about everything but I also found myself not accepting it. I wanted to try to avoid both people because I was scared that maybe that’s why I had all these weird feelings about these girls and was such a “tomboy” as my mother would constantly say when trying to get me into a dress. By running away from these two people I now realize I was just running away from myself. Knowing that my parents disapproved of this kind of lifestyle I ignored the feelings hoping they would go away and that I would be back to “normal.”
Freshman year in high school and my first year in a Catholic school came along and I was still battling these feelings and thoughts. Although I hated the fact that my parents took me out of public school I just thought to myself, “it’s a new school new people I can still fix this.” As time went by I made new friends, like this one guy named Stevens that everyone thought I was dating when he was just the best guy friend I could have. He was there for me when I got my first girlfriend, Aurora. I remember his response when I told him about her, “well that’s what’s up” as if this was great news for him. It was a great relief because I was so nervous to tell him. Then came the though of having to tell the rest of my friends from Trinity. That took a little while especially because my closest friends other than Stevens were girls and I didn’t think it would end well. As for the people from my old school they all new because well I had a girlfriend that went to that school and she was pretty popular. The next person I told would be Jennifer, the girliest girl in the world and also my best friend. I don’t really remember her response but she didn’t really care I think she was more excited than I was. Even to this day she has no care in the world that the girl she is closest to like girls, that definitely doesn’t stop her from making out with me when we get drunk. As freshman year ended more and more people knew about me in Baldwin, in trinity, and two of my cousins. At that point I guess I didn’t really care who knew, my only fear was my brother who was two years older finding out.
Despite all these people knowing about me it was still a struggle for me to accept myself for my sexual identity. For example I used to say, “that’s gay” about everything, it’s a bad habit I really should break but I am getting there. I also found myself getting very uncomfortable when I would have to talk about my sexuality, like in detail. It was an awkward feeling for me I guess because I wasn’t that comfortable in my own skin. Another thing that used to make me very uncomfortable would be butch or very masculine females. I have no idea why but it just made me so uncomfortable. It actually wasn’t until my current girlfriend that I started to be comfortable in the skin I was in. it may have something to do with the fact that being with her required me to throw myself into the whole gay/lesbian scene. I remember going to my first gay club with her and lets just say it was quite an experience. Being with her opened my eyes to what it means to be who I am and love who I do.
Even though I have accepted myself for the identity that I am, I know my parents and family could not understand or accept it for a really long time. I slipped up once and left a journal that had things about things I was going through with girls I had been with in high school out in my room or something. One morning my dad came to me asking who are Jessica, Ariana, Aurora and what are these things your writing. When I realized what he was talking about my heart sank and all I wanted to do was cry. This wasn’t how I wanted him to find out and all of the shame I had when I first came to terms with myself coming back. We didn’t talk much after I explained who they were. I begged him not to tell my mom knowing she would disown me, he made me do it anyway saying he couldn’t keep this from her. The night I told her was at my therapist’ office, she broke down crying and couldn’t even walk to the car. My dad carried her in the house and she went straight to bed but the entire house could hear her cries as if I had died or something. The next morning while I was gone she went in my room and threw holy water everywhere and called my best friend hoping that she could help me get back on the right path, Jen tried to console her the best she could without admitting what my mom wouldn’t want to hear, that this isn’t a phase its who I am.
Now I’m in this social deviance class writing about a deviant behavior. I don’t see my sexuality being that deviant of a behavior because all around the world it is becoming more acceptable to society. Some places are taking longer than others but its getting there. Somewhere down inside however I guess I feel a little deviant about it because im back in the closet hiding from my parents about the girlfriend I have. It’s a difficult feeling knowing how against my life my parents are and knowing I’m keeping all these secrets from them basically becoming a different person for them. But then when I am with my girlfriend and her family they welcome me with open arms and do not care at all that we are two girls in love. I wish my parents could do the same because this isn’t something I can just change. I hope that society realizes that hatred and judgment on homosexuals isn’t right, it shouldn’t matter who I am with. As long as I am happy and not hurting who, why do you care? Although all of that coming true would be a dream I have learned not to fight it, people will be who they are. Just as my parents would feel how they feel about my life, I love them but if all they want to see is the girl next to me rather than the goals I’m accomplishing then I have to do what they wont, accept them for what they are.
Toran Caudell and Jamil Walker Smith, the voice actors behind Arnold and Gerald of
Hey Arnold, now 30 years old.