Moment of truth. To be honest, I have avoided telling this story because I have considered that it might be painful for some people. In some cases, I couldn’t care less if I hurt their pathetic, hypocritical sensibilities, but in others, I do find it hard to cause them pain. Unfortunately this is more important than those few people or myself. This can help others and that’s what is most important. A little pain never killed anyone.
A few days ago, I was watching a video in response to a 14-year-old boy who committed suicide because he was gay. It turns out that the family, as in many cases, did not accept his sexual orientation and argued that he was confused, among other stereotypical responses that we have heard many times already. Every time I hear that one of my people take their own life, it causes a lot of pain in my soul, not only because of the fact that we lost one of us, but because it reminds me of those feelings and those dark moments in my own history.
Today I see that kids are much more courageous, they face the situations that life throws at them with a bravery that I wish I’ve had had at their age. They come out of the closet and confront their parents, sometimes suffering the consequences or contempt, and sometimes acceptance of them. Each case is very different, I have heard horror stories that have made me cry a lot, as well as inspiring stories that leave me wondering what it would have been like if I had had that kind of support.
I remember the feeling of terror that came over me in my youth when the fact that I was gay could no longer be postponed. The fear of what they would say about me, what my family would think and do made me stay awake at night praying that I could be different, that I could be normal. The hours of wondering what was wrong with me that I had to change so as not to be an embarrassment to my family. The fear of talking to my parents and being rejected or kicked out of my house. I had nothing, I couldn’t trust anyone. The world was a dark place and you had to be careful.
I even had girlfriends, I desperately wanted to find a part of me that wanted to be with women so that I could lead a normal life but that was just fooling myself. I knew who I was when I was seven years old, so what was the use of making two or three children if in the end my nature was going to be the same, I was going to die repressed and with children who would be affected by my decisions? I don `t think so.
I remember one night, as my mom went into her room, something clicked in me and told me that it was the right time. I got out of bed and had the «talk» with her. It wasn’t pretty. She even asked me the classic questions: if I dressed as a woman and if I had tried sex with a woman. I understand her to a certain extent, it was something new to her, and worse, in her own home. She cried a lot and even told me that she had failed as a mother. Ouch! It has been the most horrible experience I have ever had, to think that they were going to support me and to have been so glaringly wrong. My mother is not a bad person by any means, she has her ideas like everyone else, but I honestly thought that of all the people in the universe, she would understand me. In the end, on a positive note, after going to my room to cry defeated, she came over, hugged me and told me that she just wants me to be happy. I couldn’t help crying louder than ever. It wasn’t a pleasant night, but at least I was free now.
With my dad it was whole other dance. One day I came to his home and he was alone. I call it the «talk» because it seems like a speech: I want you to know who I am, I don’t want you to hear it from someone else, blah blah blah, and them I blurt out the magic words «I’m gay» … pause … my dad gets up and I he asks me to get up, that’s when I’m waiting for a blow but instead he hugs me and tells me that he is proud of me for saying it to his face and that he already knew, that he did not agree with it, but that he respected me a lot because I am the son that he always wanted to have, boom! My defenses and my stomach fell to the ground, I cried again because I felt liberated and because I honestly did not expect that response from my father, I expected something macho and retrograde. Just the opposite of what I got. Any mistakes my father may have made in the past were erased from the list, he became my favorite man in existence.
In the case of my sisters, it is irrelevant, at one time their opinion was the most important, to the point of doing many things to impress them and make them feel proud of me. In the end with their actions they went to the ninth place and it is enough for me if they accept me or not. I remember that once my sister had a particularly tall boyfriend and she told me that if one day I told her that I am gay that she was going to send her boyfriend and three of his friends to beat me up. I was 14 years old, what would make me want to come out then?
Before coming out of the closet and being myself I just wanted to die, I knew that I couldn’t change and that I was letting down those who loved me the most. Even once I dated a guy, the first time in fact, I couldn’t help but think of an aunt, that when she realized what I am she would be disappointed in me. I never seriously considered hurting myself, but the emptiness I felt inside me was crushing. The loneliness was getting deeper and deeper and the inability I had to express what I felt for fear of being rejected were making my soul fall into the void and get lost. I wanted to sink into nothingness and be part of oblivion, stop breathing and maybe the pain that I had inside would disappear. My biggest failure as a human being at that time was that apart from being weird and difficult to deal with, I was also a homosexual.
That is why I understand these guys who are committing suicide, many call them cowards, but only one knows what one carries with them. The fact that someone takes their own life, young or not, for feeling rejected is something that kills me, no one deserves to feel that way for being different, why should I give explanations to people of what I am and what I am not? Just because they think I’m a pedophile because I’m gay doesn’t mean I am. Nobody has the right to question our sexual orientation, our tastes or preferences, if at the end of the day I do not like watermelon it is very my choice, what does it matter to others?
Brothers, sisters, honestly I have been thinking about writing this article for years, however I had not dared for fear of what it would cause. But that of killing ourselves because others do not tolerate us is completely and perpetually unacceptable. We should at least support each other, I would love nothing else but to hug my brothers and sisters and tell them that they will be fine, that all the pain will pass, that if we love ourselves, the world around us will too, and if not, it doesn’t matter. That life goes on and that there is hope for the future, so don’t give up. Maybe not even say anything, just embrace and listen to them, their fears, their stories and their perceptions of life.
When I was in my teens, I looked around for someone like me, someone who would tell me that one day I was going to be happy and that what was killing me would pass. That I was going to be a free and happy 35-year-old man, that the darkness in which I was drowning was going to be my best ally and that thanks to my work and my writing I would be able to help others. Unfortunately, I did not find it. I was alone and I had to discover these things on my own. Nobody gave me a hug, nobody gave me a smile. It was just me.
That is why I refuse to let one of my people live the same, when I taught I saw those lost looks and I gave them words of encouragement. I try to give a lot of love and support so that they know that despite everything, they are not alone. They have me. It’s much more than what I once had.
Help me, please, spread love, spread compassion and empathy, let’s not let the bitter poison of our resentments limit us from helping each other, let’s not let one more of us feel alone and abandoned. Help me, brothers, sisters, I beg you…
Only among ourselves do we know the wars that we survive, that is the key word: survive.
And you, brothers and sisters, what do you think? Share… if you dare…