Warning: This piece contains explicit language and content that may be triggering to some.
For the LGBTQ community, coming out is one of the biggest milestones of feeling comfortable with their own sexuality and identity. However, every single one of these people has a different story unique to them when it comes to sharing their sexual orientation. Some of them receive support while others are hit with harsh backlash. Below is Skye’s personal story of coming out as a young gay girl, now woman, and the events that followed.
I can’t remember a time where I wasn’t aware of being gay or different, at least. Some of my earliest memories are of having crushes on my older brother’s girlfriends and my camp counselors. Despite entertaining the thought of boys my own age, I always knew I was attracted to girls and that at some point, I would have to address it, regardless of how young I was or how horribly my family would react.
Once I reached middle school, everyone was starting to realize that the other gender existed. However, like the boys in my class, I began to take notice of girls. There was never an ounce of confusion in my mind; I was gay. One day I mustered up the courage to open up to my best friend, Deanna, about my feelings. With the utmost excitement and support, 12-year-old Dee said to me, “I’m so happy- I’ve always wanted a lesbian friend!” I literally could not have asked for a better, or funnier, response. From that point, my peers began to figure it out and they reacted positively, especially for a group of 7th graders.
Then there was Sam. I remember feeling petrified when it came to telling her. She was more like a sister than anything else. Her family took care of me when my dad was dying and took me trick or treating each year. I never had a conventional, nuclear family so the idea of losing that made my heart cave. I couldn’t fathom thought of our relationship changing- I was still so young and vulnerable. I was so scared of the possibility that she might feel uncomfortable about the sleepovers we had each weekend over the last decade or the millions of close moments we shared. Unfortunately for me, word travels fast in the 8 square mile town of Red Bank. Sam ended up finding out through a friend of a friend and was devastated that I even questioned how she might feel. She loved me whether I had blue hair or blonde hair, whether I was gay or straight. While the continued outpour of love and support from my close friends made me grow confident in my sexuality, I knew that I would later face a huge barrier ahead.
Looking back, one day in particular stands out the most. The night before my freshman year of high school, my mom asked me what I planned on wearing for my first day. I had never been one for dressing up or shopping. I was completely content in soccer shorts and a t-shirt. I told her I hadn’t thought about what I would wear and her response was “What are you, a f*cking dyke?” The hate and hostility in her voice made my decision to come out that much more unbearable.
A few months into high school, my mom found a “love letter” from my 8th grade sweetheart. She called me and told me to come home immediately after school. The letter was signed “your love” but from the pink font and I’m sure a dozen other clues from over the years, my mom knew it was certainly not from a boy.
The tension as I opened the front door radiated my entire body. Without hesitation or the slightest bit of compassion, my mom said “So what are you gay or something?” I said that I might be as I fell to the floor in tears. I don’t remember much of what happened after that. After a slap across the face, she slammed her bedroom door shut and didn’t come out until the next day. Deanna came over and cried in my arms- I could feel how sad she was that this had happened to me. We both didn't know what would happen next. I remember her holding me for what felt like an eternity.
The next day, the history club I was in had a trip to the United Nations which I was looking forward to for months. I missed the trip because of my appearance the anxiety that overwhelmed every part of me. When I woke up, my mom opened my door and said, “I never want to hear the word ‘gay’ in this house again.” All I could do was put my head down and promise myself that I would suppress my feelings for as long as I could, at least while I was at living at home.
Still, the hostility didn’t fade and I went to stay with my sister for the weekend. I thought a few days away from my mom would help the situation. Maybe, we would both cool off and revisit this later. To my surprise, I walked in to find my sister also angry with me. She bashed me for “deciding to be a lesbian at the age of 14.” She threw the word dyke and told me that I was embarrassing enough without being gay. She always disliked me because I was from my mom’s second marriage and my dad was Italian which didn’t mesh with her Syrian community which had a set of very specific views. She always hated my last name- she said it was too “ethnic.” Being gay was the ammunition she needed to cut me off. I told her I wanted to kill myself and she said, “You can kill yourself, just don’t do it in my house.” That is one of the only memories I have of my sister.
On other hand, my brother, Jensen, loved the idea of me being gay. Years later he told me the story of how he found out. Apparently, my sister called him the morning after my mom found out. He answered the phone to hear her crying and screaming. He thought someone had been in an accident. She said, “We have an emergency- SKYE IS GAY!” My brother says he laughed and for a moment, he felt relief. He said to me, “You know, I never wanted some guy treating you badly or knocking you up. Plus, I always knew you were gay since you used to wear my boxers under your clothes.” These words still mean so much to me.
Years passed and I was still gay. Everyone at my high school knew and I never felt out of place or unwelcome. My creative writing class was especially supportive. After spending 4 years together, we were all like sisters. I wrote so many pieces about my feelings of depression and anxiety surrounding my sexuality. I wrote about how my mom felt about me and how I felt about girls. There were times when I broke down crying and couldn’t stop. They listened, understood and always cleaned me up and helped me pull it together in time for my next class. They even called me brave which I couldn’t believe. I felt so small and so alone.
After a while, I decided to live my life openly and honestly. Much to my family’s dismay, I dated girls and talked about it. I also dated girls and loved it. Almost 10 years later and I’m still gay and still love it. Today, my mom has grown to accept the situation. She even calls herself a “rainbow flag waving mother.” She loves my girlfriend and cannot wait to get old and live with us. So I guess things kind of worked out for me.
My sister, on the other hand, still hates me and is embarrassed of my “choice” to be gay but that doesn’t phase me. In time I realized that my family was Deanna, Claire, Kayla, James and everyone else who has loved me without limits. I didn’t need my sister’s support to feel accepted or happy with myself. If I’ve learned anything from my experience in coming out, I would say that the best part about it is that you almost get to choose your family. There are so many opportunities for the LGBTQ community- so many that it is almost impossible to feel alone. I’d be lying if I said I did this by myself. It took a village to put me back together but I am here, I am loved and I have never been happier.
Editing Note: This article did not filter through the normal EmpowHER editing and fact checking process. It was checked for spelling and grammar.Read more in Being HER