I grew up on the Lower East Side – I'm 26 now so anyone who's from around here can imagine what the LES looked like back then. I came out when I was 12. My "first experience," I guess, was getting raped by my dad's best friend's daughter.
She used to come over a lot since our dads were friends, so by default we were friends too. She was 16 at the time and messed up beyond words for more than one reason. Obviously, I was too young to understand the magnitude of what was going on – I thought this was just what happened, just what everyone did.
The first time she kissed me I tried to brush it off as a joke, but when she started doing other stuff I started to cry.
"If you tell anyone, I'll kill myself and write a letter saying it was your fault," she said right after she was done. I felt a massive hickey blooming up on my throat. Later I told everyone that asked it was from a guy.
This went on for about a year. People have since asked me why I kept letting her do it, why I stayed put in that position, but the answer is I just don't know. I was too young and too confused, and the most confusing thing about it was that I actually started developing feelings for her. I still can't figure that part out.
I finally told my mom what was going on when I was 13. She immediately pressed charges and I never saw the girl again. After this, I started dating Monica.
Monica was straight and we both went to Catholic school. We dated for about a year until her mom found out, after which she came to the school and told them I had raped her daughter – seriously, the way people just throw that word around. Of course it wasn't true, but since it was a Catholic school they wanted to expel me because they didn't want to upset the parents. At that point my mom stepped in and told them it was unacceptable, that if they were going to expel me for no reason then they'd better expel Monica because it takes two.
So I didn't get expelled, but I wasn't allowed to be in the locker room or the bathrooms with any other girls, I was only allowed to change for gym and pee when both were empty and I had to eat alone. And of course, Monica stopped speaking to me. The entire time she played the victim, she said nothing.
A year later, my mom introduced me to this guy Pedro she wanted me to date. Though I was positive I was gay I decided to try it, my mom had always been there for me and I just wanted to make her happy. I discovered I couldn't. "I'm only doing this for you," I told her after I'd slept with him and realized I couldn't make a lifestyle out of it. I asked my mom to accept me the way I was, and a few years later, she finally did.
It took my mom a longer time to accept my sexuality because she thought my being gay was just a phase or a result of the trauma, which is understandable. But now that I'm older and we've worked through it, I'm happy to say our relationship has only improved since, and my mom continues to offer me her unwavering support.