What I Wish You Knew

Anonymous UserPersonal Stories

I am a daughter of Texarkana, born and raised. A shy, bookish kid, I spent most of my time reading, or socializing with my small circle of friends. I hardly ever drank, I didn’t do drugs, and I didn’t cause much trouble for my parents. I had a very typical, happy childhood.
I was a pretty sheltered kid, so when I drank alcohol for the first time and ended up having an intimate encounter with my best friend, I chalked it up to the alcohol, not my sexuality. The only thing I had ever heard about gay people was that they were bad, and I wasn’t ‘bad.’ So I pushed it out of my mind, until one day years later, after I went off to college, I was walking to my next class and saw a passing woman. The thought, “wow, she’s hot!” popped into my head. “Wait,” I thought, “I’m not supposed to think that… oh man, I think I might like girls!” I walked around dazed for the rest of the day, wondering if I was a lesbian.
That incident set off a domino effect in my brain. “Is this why I’ve never been boy crazy, and why most of my boyfriends ended up being gay?”  (Yea, I’m slow on the uptake, I know.) Eventually, after spending time with the college LGBTQ group and a lot of introspection, I figured out that I’m bisexual (pansexual if you want to get trendy with the labels). It took a long journey figure out who I am, and I wasn’t able to do it until I left Texarkana for a more openly diverse community.
If I’d learned about the LGBTQ community when I was younger, and had a welcoming group of people to turn to, I might have felt comfortable asking myself the tough questions about my sexuality when I was in high school, rather than just assuming I was straight, because, “isn’t everybody?” I hope Equality Texarkana is that welcoming community for today’s youth in the ArkLaTex, allowing them to take a full road to self-discovery rather than the narrow road that was presented to me as a kid. I want teens and adults alike in the ArkLaTex to know that it’s okay to be queer. You’re not alone, you’re not ‘bad,’ and there is nothing wrong with you.
Today, as a bisexual woman married to a straight man, I am not always visible as a member of the LGBTQ community, but I am here. I’m here fighting the good fight, working toward equality, because that’s what our country is founded on and what makes it so great: equality and freedom for all.
I’m still not ‘out’ to my extended family, and it hurts to hide so much of who I am from them. But they are deeply religious, and I am afraid of losing the cherished relationships I have with them. Still, when my own grandmother told me that “God is anti-gay” it hurt, even if she didn’t know she was talking about me, specifically. Every anti-gay remark cuts a little deeper, and makes me a little more distant.
What I wish I could say to my family is this: I didn’t choose to be queer any more than you chose to be straight. The only choice I have is whether or not to be open about who I am. When you say that ‘gays should keep it in the closet,’ you are telling me that I should hide an important part of myself, because you are uncomfortable with it. If you disapprove of LGBTQ relationships, don’t have one, but don’t expect others to subscribe to your worldview. After all, our country was founded on diversity and the freedom to be different. Jesus ate with pagans and tax collectors, the most ostracized people of the community. He accepted even them, and showed them God’s love through his own unconditional love and compassion. I hope you can do the same for me, and for everyone else in our community who is different from you.
Everyone deserves freedom; everyone deserves equality. I hope you’ll join me in supporting Equality Texarkana’s efforts to make that dream a reality.