This is the story of how I came out — not to my family and friends, but to the most important person that should recognize this process — myself.
When I was a kid, I didn’t think much about the why’s: why I preferred toy guns and video games over dolls; why I hated wearing dresses and skirts; why I’d rather be a Bioman than a Disney Princess. In my mind, there was nothing unusual about these choices.
That is, until I learned the word “tomboy” and how my mom always seemed to say it in disgust.
I don’t remember when I first heard that word, but I certainly remember not wanting to be associated with it even as I start to realize that I might be one. I went through grade school admitting to having girl crushes, but I also had to have boy crushes to maintain the semblance of ‘normality.’ Take note, this was Philippines between 1993 and 1999. Ellen DeGeneres was already starting to be a name in America then, but in our side of the world, lesbians are still seen as weird and/or an abomination, depending on who you ask.
Come high school and I had my first boyfriend. It made me so happy because I now have stories to tell my classmates. The boyfriend would pick me up after school every Wednesday and I’d make sure they all see him from the classroom window.
You see, by senior high, I already knew that I am most certainly not straight, though I would never admit it because I was trying to change.
But what really made me unable to come out to myself for so long was not what my friends would say, nor the fact that Mom and Dad made it clear that they would never have an immoral lesbian daughter in the house. No, what kept shaking me most of all was faith. My desire for it, my lack of it, and my push-and-pull relationship with it.
I was raised in a Christian home. I grew up knowing Jesus and singing gospel songs. As a kid, it was cute; as an adult, it was the source of all my gender-related frustrations. Because I wanted that relationship with God, and I still do. I want to enjoy reading the Bible without feeling condemned. But how can I, when the very people who tell us they want everyone “saved” are the first ones to cast us stones?
Finally, I just got tired of putting up with all the damning comments and trying to adjust for the world. People, let me tell you how it feels like to have an identity:
- You stop letting people tell you who you are.
- You become more confident in saying what’s on your mind.
- You discover that you are still loved, maybe not by the same people, but you still deserve it.
My coming-out process isn’t over yet. For one, I haven’t spelled it out to my parents, who are probably denying the fact as long as we don’t talk about it. But they’re the exception. Everywhere else, I’m an out-and-proud, card-carrying LGBTQIA member. I still go through some rough rides from time to time because I live in a country where homosexuality is kinda tolerated, but not really accepted. But it’s okay. I know who I am now, and that’s what matters.
Happy Pride month, everyone! ^_^