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Coming Out of the Dark Closet

Photo by Jessica Tang

Photo by Jessica Tang

Alex Parades

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When I was eight years old, my uneducated 13 brother would call me “gay” or a “faggot” because I was acting “like a girl.” I remember living with my brother and mother in the torrid, desert-like state of Sonora, Mexico, for about three years as a young child. I remember hearing children and teenagers at school calling each other “gay” or “faggots” in Spanish. When my brother and I returned with my mother to the United States, my brother was still arrogant and judgmental. I thought about this for a substantial amount of time, realizing later in life that this was from living in America, where you are judged your race, skin color, religion, and sexual orientation more often — which at that time, I couldn’t carefully comprehend or consider. Being clueless of what the term “gay” and “faggot” meant, I was intrigued to discover their definitions. I searched the terms and found out that “gay” meant being a homosexual man, and that a “fag” is either a cigarette, or according to the second definition, a male homosexual. I assumed I wasn’t meant to have been called a cigarette by my brother, so I stuck with the latter definition.

I emotionally connected with many boys around me growing up as a kid, seeking worldly things, but didn’t understand why I was attracted to some of them in elementary school. I live in a family where religion is always important in our lives, yet I had to accept the truth that in LDS church (The Church of Latter-Day Saints), marriage is between a man and a woman; because of this, I believed that there was something wrong with me and that I was just mentally ill. I’ve been taught that boys like girls, but not that boys like boys. So I committed to an outrageous experiment, in which I started dating girls. It came to my attention that I just didn’t like them, and I felt no romantic connection with any of them. I had to break up with about eight girls. I truly regret all of it, and it really showed me how desperate my worries had become. At this point in my life, I was already stressed out with the fact that I liked boys. My next objective was “Plan B” — there had to be a way to take the gay out of me. In order to convince myself I wasn’t gay, I waited another two years. Unfortunately, “waiting the gay away” didn’t work. I became fearful and terrified of the awful things that were going to occur if people detected that I was homosexal. At the age of 12, when I would go to sleep, I went on YouTube and endlessly watched videos of how gay people were treated in America. It was negative in my mind, and I cried because I wept for the people like me who were bullied and oppressed, abandoned by their own families, savagely assaulted, and killed by cruel humans who could not tolerate real love. This became one of my daily routines to prepare myself.

I had to come out as gay and accept myself for my own health and live my life. Sadly, it was more complicated for me as I began to experience unstoppable anxiety. I’d suffocate as if there were clouds choking me, where the sense of tension felt like plastic wrap compressing around my own body repetitively. Anxiety and depression caused me to fall apart.

I guess you could say that “coming out” was similar to “stepping out of the dark closet” that had shut me in for seven years. I enjoyed the experience. The only solution to this was to seek help and guidance by a psychologist. I know I was born this way and have to embrace this beautiful body that I was born with. A “coming out” experience is a cherishing moment in life, where it will be rewarding, and you will gain much more self confidence afterwards. I’ll just say that being gay can turn out to be utter stress for a small amount of time, there are people who can turn out to be obstacles on the path to prosperity, though they are not obstacles too difficult to overcome. Everyone should be able to feel comfortable in their own skin.

I couldn’t defend myself in those desperate times of needing help, but I really want to say a message to all my oppressors. If you’re reading this, I hope you are ashamed and embarrassed of the atrocious actions you have committed against me just because I was different. Although you harmed me and my confidence and well-being, I forgive you. Just please don’t do this to others who are like me; leave them alone, or this time my presence will be there to stop you. To everyone who is thinking about coming out, just know that you have allies, friends, and teachers who have your back.

Just be hopeful and positive.

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Coming Out of the Dark Closet