Atlanta — Today is a day for celebrating for one to live in their true authentic self. But for others, it was not too pleasant. Well, that was my experience.
Growing up in my household, same-sex couples were always discussed — but not in a good way.
“That’s a sin. I would never.”
Hearing those words made me scared to come out. What would the result be? Would I be accepted? I was the typical “tomboy” growing up, playing sports and always fighting when it came to being forced into dresses and skirts. Due to being masc presenting at a young age, in middle and high school, I was always wearing shorts or sweatpants with a hoodie. My mother would have a problem with how I would dress. Even now at 23, with locs and tattoos, comfortable hearing, “Dress like a girl” causes anxiety. At the end of the day, clothes are unisex.
The day I came out to my mother (everyone else in my family knew. It wasn’t hard to hide), I was 19 and had moved to Atlanta for college. I was sitting in my friend's dorm and sent my Mom a text. I thought it would be easier and I wouldn’t have to face her.
“Mom, I like girls. I have a girlfriend.” I felt relieved, thinking “I’m finally free.” But I thought wrong. My phone began ringing and messages blew up. I declined every call until my aunt called me. As soon as I said, “Hello,” the first thing she said was, “You finally told your mom? I am so proud of you.” I felt the achievement of not keeping it a secret, but I was scared of the treatment moving forward. Being mistreated by my parents, just because I was gay made me not want to come out until I was either far away from home or was on my own. I tried to avoid confrontation and arguing, and most of all, maintain my mental health.
I felt so powerful sending that message. I didn't want anyone to take that joy from me. But I was scared of being cut off financially. Being an only child, in college full-time, my mother was the main one providing for me. So if I needed those resources, there was nothing else I could do.
Thankfully that didn't happen. Was she accepting at first? No, not at all.
Oct. 5, 2019 was my coming out day, and there are still times when she says homophobic remarks. I look at her and she instantly apologizes. However over the past few years, my mother has slowly accepted me. It didn't happen overnight, but baby steps. I still get the same questions, “When are you getting a boyfriend?” or “Are you done being gay yet?”
You don't have to like my lifestyle, but you will respect it.
As I think about National Coming Out Day and October, this time is very special to me. Not just being a member of the LGBTQ community, but for all other people who are hiding their authentic self. There are people like I used to be, scared to be free. With a little courage and supportive friends, and some family, you will feel that weight come off your shoulders too. I came out and embarked on my true self, living my life without any limitations. One thing that I will do when I become a parent, is accept my children for whatever sexual preferences they have because if I don’t, I know my child will feel the same way I felt when I decided to come out, nobody wants that feeling. At the end of the day, everybody deserves love.
Miracle Trice, (she/her) is from Portland but is an Atlanta-based journalist who covers all aspects of entertainment and culture. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @miracletb_ .
Edited by Nykeya Woods.