I was born in Mexico, in a very culturally traditional and religious Mexican family and environment. The basic values in my family, as in many places in Mexico, are family, love, friends, life, having children and being married. It is very driven by the traditional concept of how to live life, very religious and strict. At age five, however, my family, which included my mom, sister and dad, moved to the United States. At this age, I had no idea of the changes that were to come about.
Growing up I had always been that child who was…different. I loved playing with stereotypical girl toys like Barbies and what not, but I also loved playing with stereotypical boy toys and games. This was very easily accepted in my new culture (though it sounds like a small thing, in my household we were taught to be either very lady-like or boy-like, not both). Continuing forward, I was in the third grade when I finally realized that girls were beautiful, and not only were they beautiful but I had a different attraction towards them.
I was only about ten years old when I began "liking" a girl. We were in the same class and we were best friends. I loved everything about her, her dark eyes, long lashes, her smile, her laugh, everything. Whenever we would go out for recess we would walk out in the line holding hands…yep, holding hands. Back then we saw it as a friendly thing, that is until our teachers and peers saw us doing it more often. I remember once, the teacher made us go to the back of the line so that the rest of the kids wouldn't see us. Another instance, the class popular girl said something to the effect of "Why are you holding hands? Only gay people do that, that's gross." I thought nothing of these actions and comments, but my friend did, so at that moment she let go of my hand and walked away. Sad traumatic story, I know.
Progressing to the eighth grade, I began taking more interest in girls. Looking at girls in a different way, we had all matured, and there was another whole level of beauty. I began having dreams about them and thinking more about them and basically day dreaming like a normal hormonal girl going through puberty.
The tenth grade was where it all happened. I had joined a website where you could read books and chat with other people. The chat box soon connected me with another user. Her name was Destiny. We chatted for hours, day after day, nonstop. Soon I began feeling something more towards her. I used to dream about her, I used to think about her every minute of every day. One night, I built up the courage to tell her my feelings. She, surprisingly, also felt the same way. A smile that had never been on my lips grew as she told me that she felt something stronger towards me, that she liked me, that she felt butterflies whenever we talked. That night she asked me if I could make her even more happy by being her girlfriend. I admit it, I did cry a bit, and without hesitation I said yes.
We have now been going out for two years and eight months. It has been a long-distance relationship. We Skype, ooVoo, talk on the phone, text, send videos of our daily lives, etc. to be closer to each other. I'm eighteen and she is seventeen going on eighteen in four months.
Sadly, her mom is also very traditional and does not accept any gay activity in her household. Destiny has been kicked out and homeless for a few segments throughout our relationship. However, due to the fact that we were both underage at that time, I couldn't do anything to help. I am now working two part-time jobs, attending college and saving up money so that by the time she's eighteen we'll be able to leave all the drama behind.
Of course, you can never keep anything away from parents. Throughout the last year of my relationship with Destiny, my parents knew something was up. They asked me at least twice a month if I was lesbian, if I was dating "that black girl," if I was in love with her, etc. I never have built up enough courage to tell them the truth.
I value my family a lot, and my parents are the reason I am who I am today. They have fought for my education, for my well-being and for my opportunities, and I can't tell them this part of who I am. I have always wanted to make my parents proud, I always have. I'm a straight A-student, I graduated a year early from high school and I'm basically making them happy because I value them so much. And to have them not be proud of who I love, or who I am inside, breaks me. I know they might be "okay" with the fact that their daughter is lesbian and that she's been in love with a girl for almost three years now, but they will never accept the fact that I won't marry a man, that I won't be in a traditional family and won't have children the "natural" way.
I have come out, however, to my sister and two of my closest friends. My sister took it as a joke, she told me that I would get over it, that it's just a phase and that it's not real love. Every day she reminds me of how Destiny and I are in a long-distance thing and that we'll never really be together. Needless to say, her reaction has also led me to not feel comfortable enough with coming out to my parents.
Although my parents might know, and although they have asked me so many questions about my sexuality, I don't want to break that bond we have now. And it's hard. It really is, knowing that I am in a way lying to my parents…and lying to myself. Not only am I hurting my parents, my relationship with my family, but I feel as if I'm degrading our wonderful community of LGBT members by not embracing who I am fully.
I guess only time will tell.