Six years of breathing air out of the closet

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Six years ago as of April 15th (which landed on Easter at the time), I came out of the closet. It hadn’t happened the way I wanted to. I had been a member on the Empty Closets Forum, click here, and looked for support from an amazing online community of LGBTQ and LGBTQ friendly people around the world. I had already told a few of my closets friends from high school and at college and for the most part I felt the support-because it didn’t change how they saw me which I was grateful for. But I was gearing up to eventually tell my family.

I was at my parents house for Easter weekend. I was discussing my long distance relationship with a girlfriend to one of my friends and I thought my parents were out of ear shot but apparently not. Midway through a conversation, my mom comes into the room and angrily comments on what we were discussing. Not knowing how else to respond, I stated that yes I was likely going to marry a woman and I wanted to have elephants at my wedding. My mom stormed off and my friend politely excused herself to go home.

womenpride

(Photocredit: Candygurlz)

So at dinner that weekend, in front of both my parents and my younger sister, I stated that I was not heterosexual. I had written a letter (which I thankfully still have), stating that it was difficult for me to accept myself, let alone tell anyone that I was more different than the average person. I told them my struggles and dating different types of men wondering what the problem was, whilst knowing that deep down I was the issue, I was not heterosexual. I originally came out as being bisexual because I thought that my emotional connection with men, but not sexual connection with them would have been enough and that I was just more attracted to them. I shamefully also thought that being bisexual would have been easier to tell people than flat out stating that I liked tacos as opposed to tacos and hot dogs.

It didn’t go well. There were periods of silence, there were days of non stop bickering and yelling. My sister felt scared to tell her friends her sister was a homo for fear of losing friends in high school. I came home one day to find my mom on the phone with an old friend from high school telling her that I needed to talk to a priest and start Conversion Therapy which led me to arguing, promptly packing clothes into a back pack and driving off to live with friends for a few days.

It was rough and a very lonely period. My friends got me through it. Reading people’s stories and vlogs on the internet got me through darker days.

When I was suddenly brave enough to venture out and find “my people” (like minded people in the LGBTQ community), I drove 2 hours from home to find gay events in another city. I found like minded friends. I found people that were just like me, with stories of heartache and inspiration. I realized that it gets better. I realized that you could be yourself and live a fulfilling life and be accepted by good people if you surrounded yourself with positivity and people who were accepting of you.

As the years passed, the questions about “boyfriends” and “grandchildren” dwindled from my parents and were replaced by pronouns such as “girlfriends”. Parents became more willing to meet my girlfriends that I deemed serious relationships. I went through many girlfriends that I thought would be serious but ended up being short lived relationships which was hard on my parents who thought that I would never find happiness.

I have learned so much in the six years that I’ve been out of the stuffy closet I called home for many years. I learned that I don’t have to adhere to gender roles (no one should really but it seems more prevalent in heterosexual relationships). I learned to accept that people would hate or dislike even if you kept your mouth shut and they didn’t know you personally. I learned that my love was different but that didn’t make me less of a person. I learned that I can dress however I want to be portrayed by how I view myself. I learned that I love short hair (not every lesbian does, but I do). I learned how to smile at people who scowl at me when I hold my girlfriends hand in public. I learned how to stand up for myself to people who would say rude things about LGBTQ or people in small minority groups. I learned that I want to be an advocate for LGBTQ rights even though I live in a country that allows things like same-sex marriage and equal spousal support because many countries still struggle with these basic human rights. I learned to speak about my experiences to others who struggle with theirs in attempts to let them learn that they are not alone, and that “It does get better”. I learned to flirt with women-flirting with men was easy-it’s a whole different thing when you suddenly have to flirt with women and you are attracted to them. I learned to become comfortable in my own skin while having sex which was never really discussed while I was growing up. I learned and developed a positive body image (in high school and part of college I had eating disorder issues)-because when you’re happy with how your life is going- you feel more comfortable in your own skin. I began writing a memoir detailing my life in high school, my mental health and sexuality and I hope to publish it to help others deal with their own issues. I learned that if I want to change the world into something more positive, I have to be someone to stand up and do something – volunteer, share links on social media, and talk about things that need to change.

I have learned so much in six years about myself, my hobbies/passions, my career, my friendships and relationships. My confidence has grown and I am starting to shine as an individual. I don’t think that would have happened had I not accepted myself, taken a risk and come out of the closet. It’s a scary thing to admit to the world-let alone yourself.

Just remember, “It Gets Better”. Happy Easter/long weekend for whatever you believe in in this world.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi

EmptyClosets Forum
It Gets Better – Youth LGBTQ
Human Rights Campaign
The Trevor Project

First World Lesbian Problems

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1. Sharing a closet
I filled a closet before settling down with my fiancee. She filled a closet before I moved in. We were both forced to downsize. It’s still a full closet even with closet organizers. Trying to sort it out was painful.

2. Sharing bathrooms
We try to use separate bathrooms but with three kids, things get mixed up. Hair products and toothpastes go missing often. That’s just something we live with. Communication is key here. This is also why we buy toothpaste and toothbrushes from the dollar store.

3. I get mistaken for Cee’s daughter
This has happened more than once or twice. Sometimes when we go out, people ask if I am Cee’s daughter. This could be due to the fact that I am half a foot shorter than Cee or our age differences. Never the less I cannot seem to win on this one. Maybe when I’m older and more wrinkly this problem will solve itself. Hm.

4. You get asked, “Who’s the man?”
There is no man in the relationship, that’s the point… if I wanted a man, I’d be with a man. I think the point people try to get in this question is, “Who is top or bottom?”, which if asked to a heterosexual couple would likely be met with raised eyebrows or some swear words.

5. Trolling for books
You have to decide whether or not you will troll for Sarah Water’s books and be labelled a lesbian, or troll for books in the other sections and asked why you’re there.

6. PMS
It happens. Sometimes there is shark week in the house for two weeks, sometimes you sync up to your partner and it lands on the same day.

7. Discussing crushes
When your friends, who may happen to be heterosexual, discuss their manly crushes, you zone out and begin dreaming of Robert Downey Jr, Colin FarrellEllen Page. Emma Watson. Cute. But it can make you feel a little left out at times.

8. When your car breaks down
Agh. Your car’s light went on, so you go consult the manual, then you remember that despite the stereotype you are not the lesbian who knows how to fix a car. Facepalm.

9. Tactfully discussing your private life at work
This is something I go by with my gut. I am starting to share my life now, because anti bullying rules were recently put in place where I work to show how serious managers are about staff feeling safe and welcome. I could have used this new rule at my old places of work where I did not feel welcome by the snotty 40+ aged women who spoke as if they were fresh out of high school. But now that my new places of work are welcoming, I am finding it easier to speak about my life, even with a few of my older clients.

10. Straight men..
Who want to bang you. I am not a piece of meat. And I am gay. Please respect that just like you. It’s likely you don’t want to be shagged by a gay man.

11. Shopping
For some of us, the mall is a vortex of pain and shame. We don’t fully fit mens or androgynous clothes yet we try to wear them because that’s what we feel comfortable wearing. Then you sometimes get odd looks from the teenager who folds clothes at the store, but you have to look past them. Grab that shirt you love and get out of there. I always tell Cee, she’ll find me in the camera, tea, or book store.

I won’t be home for Christmas

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Christmas isn’t about commercialism (as companies may hype it up to be).
Christmas isn’t about the alcohol (as alcohol companies may try to play it up in advertisements).
Christmas isn’t about the food (even though food is an important aspect of life).
Christmas is about love, support, friends and family.

So while I have that with Cee, my parents and sister will not be a part of Christmas this year. This year will be the first year that I’ve not gone home to be a part of our nuclear family. Now that I have Cee in the kids, Christmas has changed. Christmas is about the kids. Christmas for adults is more about having love and support and a fun time watching the kids play during a magical season that comes just once a year.

My parents don’t quite seem to see eye to eye with me on this one. Since before I could remember, Christmas has been about the kids When that was me, I was thrilled to be able to unwrap something in front of the Christmas tree that my dad had sought out and harvested himself.

As the years have passed and I have grown older, my wants and wishes have changed from material things (which though still nice), to things that cannot be bought. I want love, support, kindness and acceptance. Some of those things I have realized the past few years that my parents are not able to give. They say they love me but I do not feel it in my heart. Love that is placed under condition and with the expectation that material goods can be given as love instead of kindness and things from the heart seems cold and hard.

A few days ago, I received a courier package from them. Inside a card for me were several gift certificates to several stores. While they were nice, I felt anger. I had told my parents that I wanted to go to therapy with them so we could work out our issues and get rid of the toxic relationship that still sweeps between us. Instead I was given gift cards and no more mention of therapy. This saddens me. My friends tell me I should give them an ultimatum of “go to therapy with me or don’t contact me at all” kind of deal. That seems so harsh to say to someone who brought you into the world and raised you. Yes they raised me, but it still doesn’t give them the right to treat me, or Cee the way that they do and still expect me to be there for them. I could care less about material goods. If I want something that bad, I will go out and buy the friggin thing myself.

I am deeply hurt. A part of me is missing. There is a void in my chest. I guess it’s taken years but this past year, I’ve realized that my parents can’t give me the type of love I need to receive. I can’t seem to move on because they keep opening up old wounds and don’t try to change the way that they view/say things. The depressions and hurt and anger I feel after speaking with them leave me crying in bed for hours. This affects Cee and the kids and has to stop.

This Christmas will be different. I will not have turkey dinner with my blood family the night of Christmas eve or unwrap presents with them. I will not have Danish smorgasbord Christmas morning. Instead I will be with my chosen family watching the kids gleefully unwrap their gifts. I will focus on their beautiful smiles and warm laughter.

I have to somehow accept what I will do if my parents don’t accept therapy. I plan on sending a photo album of my life from when i was young up until now to my parents since they really do not know me. Every time I’ve tried to allow them to get to know me I get criticism or passive aggressive back stabs and comments. Cutting them out of my life, while harsh is something I may have to do for my own mental health. I can’t keep crying and feeling a void in my chest every time I converse with them because they can’t love me like I just want to be loved. That may be a soon approaching reality. For this year, I won’t be home for Christmas. I will be forging a new path in the snow.

Green with envy

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The lead performer and host for the local Disney drag show that I photographed last month was invited to dinner at our house last night. Cee made a delicious manicotti, baked chicken, salad and appies.

We had never met Dee in person as a male. We’d only ever met Dee as a performer when he was dressed in drag as Aly so we weren’t quite sure what to expect upon meeting him. He had just finished work as a makeup artist and he came right over after his shift. Last night, his coworkers all did makeup according to the seven deadly sins. Dee’s deadly sin was envy, he was quite literally ‘green with envy’ in his appearance. Dee sprayed his hair green, covered his face with green makeup and designed spider webbing up his neck.

Upon entering our house, I welcomed Dee with a hug and was given a big hug. Cee’s youngest daughter was scared at first and retreated to her tablet. The other two oldest kids easily introduced themselves and familiarized themselves with Dee. Cee’s youngest soon warmed up to Dee. We had a lovely dinner with wine. We had bought a bottle of champagne to celebrate Cee’s son’s football teams undefeated game streak. It was a lovely evening filled with love, laughter and acceptance.

Family_Portrait_(Photocredit: Teaching Kids News)

Dee made a comment on his Facebook page about feeling so welcome in our house which made Cee so proud. Dee mentioned that he had completely forgotten he was different in our house which was so accepting of him, makeup and all and that everyone treated him with respect and kindness. Cee felt slightly sad that she hadn’t recognized it in the moment that her kids carried on easily with Dee without hesitation despite his differences as a person. Cee mentioned that we’d had many different types of people through our door as guests but to have such a wonderfully unique individual in our house and have her kids have such good rapport made her quite proud as a mother. From my perspective, I’ve been the odd individual who has always been quite aware of my differences my entire life (for a variety of reasons) and I see it as always being the outcast until proven otherwise. I also felt quite proud of Cee, her parenting skills and our kids because this just proves that the kids will be quite the allies in the LGBT community, able to accept everyone not despite their differences, but because of their differences without question. Acceptance of others no matter how different they may be should be something any parent should be proud to have taught their children and I hope that one day this will become the norm.

LGBT parenting

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I am the step mother to three beautiful children. They are my partner’s biological children, but over the last year, I have come to see them as my children as well. In the beginning of our journey, the children and I tip toed around one another. We had to learn our boundaries and where we fit in the lives of one another. This is something I’ve never experienced before. With the help of my partner, I learned which boundaries to uphold, which lines to cross, which ones to not. Over these hurdles and through learning experiences I still feel like I’m learning every day. I believe that part of parenting is that you have to just be there, simply show up, and do your best. You don’t always get it right, all the time or every day, but as long as one continues to try and grow, you’re doing something right.

samesex_parentss(Photocredit: Media files)

Last weekend my partner, (whom I’m nicknaming Cee), had to go to work so I had to juggle and get the kids to some events and appointments. The youngest had to go to two birthday parties, one right after the other. I made the mistake in letting the youngest choose what she wanted to wear that day. Normally I would put my foot down and take away her tablet until she listened if she didn’t listen the first few times I told her to do something. That day I was tired, distracted by other things and didn’t put my foot down. So she went to the birthday party in a mismatched outfit (something I at times struggle with myself), and I went home.

Something that I’ve learned about parenting is that other parents will judge  you on your appearance and the appearance of your step child. I should have had the forethought to this before, but I didn’t. About a year ago, before I got to Cee, she still lived in a heterosexual relationship, therefore she didn’t feel that she was being judged as harshly by the other parents except for the usual judgement that comes with being a parent from other parents. Once we became a couple, she felt that she had suddenly became judged 10x more harshly because she had a same sex partner and as a result, the youngest wasn’t invited to as many events or birthdays. The homophobia and judgement that comes with being in a same sex partnership isn’t every easy and it gets better once you find your niche in the community; However, with kids, homophobia is never fair as it affects them, whether they know it or not. As a result, some friends may not be able to come over, or the kids might not be invited to certain events or birthdays because the ideals the parents hold are ignorant or they lack open mindedness.

So when I came to pick up the youngest from the birthday party, I felt like I had all the eyes of all the children’s parents on me. My mind flew in a flurry as I tried to ignore the eyes and tried to be polite to the other parents and children. My hope was that if they saw a gay woman being polite and kind then ideals might change and the youngest wouldn’t have to face and repercussions for having two moms. Of course I could have slightly fubbed that up because part of being a good parent is that you set boundaries and tell the children what to do-that day, of all days-I had let that slide. Her hair was wild and curly and her outfit didn’t match. It wasn’t fair, but all I could do was realize my mistake and make a promise to do better the next time. That’s all that you can do when you’re a parent: learn, grow and try to do better next time, even if there is added judgement involved.

Judgement in the LGBTQ community

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I’d like to discuss a more serious topic today.

People like to judge. Everyone does it, from judging what you like, to what you don’t like in food preferences, colours, hobbies and people you prefer to spend time with. People need to fit things into specific categories in order to understand them and see where they fit in our lives, this leads to us acquiring biases about things. Judgements align with these biases that we carry from a young age. Unless something occurs to an open minded individual that smashes stereotypes or their judgements, the judgements will remain; We must remain open minded about our biases, judgements and be willing to see things from different points of view in order to allow our judgements to fall to the wayside.

People who identify as LGBTQ become accustomed to feeling judged negatively and may actively fight against societal biases. One thing that some people may not know about though, is that individuals within the LGBTQ community (worldwide) fight against discrimination and judgements within the LGBTQ community. These forms of discrimination and judgement may come in words, veiled sarcasm, dirty looks etc.

For example, many lesbians or women who identify as gay and lesbian tend to hold ideas and biases against bisexual women. It is probably due to the fact that some bisexual women can date men and women happily which leads to gay women feeling the pressure about competing with straight men for the women to date. It is a lot easier for someone to be in a heterosexual relationship than in a same sex relationship, according to society. Heterosexual relationship couples do not get the odd looks, dirty looks, whispers, calls, or ignorant language. Many lesbians see it like that. I used to see things like that, worried that I would date a bisexual woman and she would break my heart and leave me for a man because that was easier than dating me.

My partner broke that mold for me. She identified as bisexual and had never dated a woman before. I had to banish my past trust issues with bisexual women and deconstruct my biases and judgements. I realized that although the gay and lesbians get discriminated against, the bisexuals get discriminated against more. My partner has been discriminated on by lesbians before at events that we’ve both attended to and now she feels left out like she doesn’t fit into the heterosexual or the gay community. I told her that’s not the case and that we will go together and leave together if such discrimination does happen to her. Our local Pride is happening this week which is why I bring this topic of events up. I told her that I support her and if she feels discriminated against, I will call said person on what they said or did and we will leave.

My girlfriend loves me for me. If she left me for a man, it would have a series of reasons attached to it, not because of my parts. Same things if I was dating a gay woman, if she left me it wouldn’t be because of my sexual parts, it would have a series of reasons attached to it. We need to move past these hangups we have in the LGBT community so we can be stronger as a united force fighting for the freedom of Human Rights.

bisexual(Photo Credit: Social science wiki)

Everyone in the LGBTQ community deserves to shine as an individual in the community that was built in order to shelter them and allow them the freedom of individuality in a world where discrimination is rampant. We need to be more aware that we’re inclusive not secluding anyone. After all, doesn’t everyone deserve freedom to be themselves in this world?

Female genital Mutilation

Trigger Warning, this blog post contains graphic content. If you are sensitive to subjects I suggest skipping this particular blog post. 

 

Female genital mutilation… Those words send shivers down my body, shivers that have nothing to do with pleasure and everything to do with repulsion, and disgust. Female genital mutilation is legal, accepted and practiced in some countries in the world, even today. It involves cutting off the root of the female pleasure center, the clitoris so the woman, or girl, cannot feel sexual pleasure. It is incredibly painful, not medically clean (in some cases), and incredibly inhumane.

It enrages me if I think about it for too long. Would men agree to chopping their scrotum or parts of their penis off? I bet they wouldn’t. And yet women are somehow lower class still, in most parts of the world ruled by men who are ruthlessly power and money hungry, which is why things like this still go on. It is ingrained into some cultures because of these beliefs that women should not be sexual, that they are only meant for procreation, but in my opinion, that is not fair. Women, just as any man should have the right to a healthy sexuality.

Why am I posting this on a lesbian blog you may be wondering? Women are an important part of society. Even though they may be considered second class, women are the nurturers, mothers, lovers, friends, intelligent and caring people. That’s not to say that men don’t hold some of those qualities, but it’s to say that women are equal too. Women are human too. And we have a right to be here, feeling safe in our environments and living to our fullest potential.

Sources:
Aljezeera

Huffington Post: Cultural expectations

TPR org: Unicef reports FGM

Going to my second prom

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Many of us get to go to prom in high school. Some of us get to go to two, Maybe even three for a select few people (at least some in my high school who were invited one or two years in addition to their graduation year.) But not many people get to re-live their prom when they are older, wiser and maybe more out of the closet about who they are. Although, I admit I could be wrong about that, because now it seems more people are coming to the realization about their sexual orientation at earlier ages. As a result of being more open at younger ages, they are more open about being true to themselves and are therefore on their way to a more positive and healthy life before the generations before them.

I fit into the generation that came after the generation that is now open to who they are, and where they fit on the gender and sexual orientation spectrums from early ages. So when I see the LGBTQ youth being completely honest and open, it makes tears of happiness form.

I’ve been volunteering biweekly with LGBTQ youth the past few months. I was recently invited to the LGBTQ youth prom for teens aged 15-18. I couldn’t help but smile at the thought of these teens having a safe place to be free to be themselves, free from discrimination and bigotry. I remember knowing of a couple gay teens in high school but sexual orientation was something that was never openly talked about or discussed in high school as a whole. Therefore, it was never really necessary that a diverse and LGBT friendly prom was required or thought of.

ss prom(PhotoCredit: Cdnet; Note, not my girlfriend and I, but these two look pretty happy.)

I was asked to photograph and chaperon the event. I have loved photography since I first held a camera when I was 11 years old. That hobby developed into something more serious over the years which has transitioned to thoughts of pursuing a career on the side of my day job as a photographer and designer. When friends or events are going on, I do my best to capture them.  When I was asked to photograph the prom, I jumped on the idea. More photographs to use in my portfolio and more images to use to practice my techniques and editing are always welcome in my eyes.

I thought my first prom was going to be my only prom. This prom happened eight years ago. I remember having no one to go with as a prom date. All of my friends had their boyfriends, girlfriends or some beautiful friend that wanted to go with them. I didn’t. I had made a bit of a friendship with the Czech Republic exchange student so I ended up asking him. I wasn’t interested in him sexually, but I knew that I didn’t want to be the only one in my friend group without a date. Not that my friends would have cared if I had shown up single or taken. Later on in the night he had tried to get in my pants but I politely but firmly shut him down. Never did I think that I would get a second chance to take someone I really wanted to, to a prom.

This prom was almost a decade after my first. I watched the teens dance with their dates, and friends and smiled. They had shy smiles, while they held hands swaying during the slow dances, and wide eyed magic glittering their eyes during the fast dances. They had their first prom be the magical dream that everyone probably hopes a prom will be.

Even though I was an adult chaperone and was not fully one of the attendees dancing with their date, I still felt that it was like I had a second chance at a prom, in a way. It was perfect. I dressed as I wanted to-not in an overpriced dress I had intentions of wearing more than once-but a suit and tie. I was taking the love of my life. I had a smile plastered on my face the whole night. Sometimes life is funny, in that it brings you back to memory lane, just in time to help you form new, more positive ones.

My 5 Year anniversary

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… of being out of the closet has rolled around.  I remember it well. How could I forget a significant period of upheaval,  emotion and life changes?

I remember speaking with one of my friends whom at the time was very close with me. My mom overheard our conversation,  tempers flared and the news was out. Rather than blatantly tell everyone I let my mom tell my sister and dad. I wasn’t able to face other horrible reactions.  But they came nonetheless. My mom and sister who used to hug me while saying goodnight suddenly stopped hugging me. Because of ignorance,  they worried I was suddenly attracted to them. I fought daily. Mean insults were hurled. Our relationships became more toxic. I took up smoking cigarettes regularly at work.

Fast forward to now. My family knows and I believe accepts me for being gay. At times I wonder what life would have been like if I had waited to tell my family till I was out of the house for good. When I came out years ago, I did so on Easter. I had been attending college and I went to live with my family every summer in between each school year.

The first year was definitely the hardest. I chopped my beautiful wavy hair off a few weeks after I broke the news to a shaggy pixie cut. I loved it. I felt so liberated.

I started dressing more comfortably.  This involved experimenting with different clothing styles. I tried out dressing like a butch and found it wasn’t quite my thing. But I realized that I enjoy cross dressing and rocking a tie some days.

I loved my short hair. I played with my hair and started doing more funky styles. When my hair was longer I kept it in a ponytail most of the time because I didn’t want to bother with styling it. With short hair I felt free, fun and spunky and I enjoyed styling it.

I stopped trying to be uber feminine and fit the circular mould that I as a square would never fit in. This caused conflict with my parents but I was an adult now and as time progressed, they realized I was my own person and they couldn’t make me do anything.

I learned that what I looked like on the outside by not conforming to the standard of feminine beauty most women do makes one an outcast. People look at you differently when you have short hair,  don’t wear much makeup (or any) and you wear comfortable/slightly masculine clothing.

It was a wakeup call. I don’t think I’d been terrible to people before coming out, but I definitely began becoming more empathic to others afterwards. I now knew what it was like to be an obvious minority. I knew what it was like to be judged for something many knew nothing about or didn’t understand. I knew what it was like to feel hurt and have friends and strangers alike be disgusted with me because I made a choice to follow my heart.

As the years passed, my family has come around. I have made new friends. Many of my old ones have stuck by me, and funnily enough they ended up being gay too! A couple friends who appeared to temporarily leave have also returned and apologized.

I have had a few jobs since.  I have settled into a long term career that may last awhile till I can think of something I may wish to pursue after furthering my education.

I have had several same sex relationships in the five years I’ve been out. I have had long and short ones. I learned how to be a better partner. I continue to learn how to communicate more effectively instead of shutting down or running away as those are my default settings it seems. My girlfriend seems to be an expert at communication even though she assures me it’s taken her a long time to get where she is now. I believe she is my soulmate and I want to marry her some day.

I’ve become involved in the gay community. I attend local events, and Pride every year. I feel so great every pride being able to live freely from discrimination or the thought of it for a day/week/weekend.

Life has definitely changed in 5 years. Some of it was an uphill battle. But I didn’t stop working at it.  I’m grateful to those people who stuck by me through the years. But now I can say it does get better. It did get better.  Life is better now.

Are you two friends? Roommates?

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The other day, I crossed the Canada/US border with my girlfriend. Something I’ve noticed is that the US border agents are pretty serious. I mean they have a serious job of making sure terrorists, traffickers, drug runners and other criminals don’t enter their country. And that makes sense… but I am not trafficking or a terrorist.

When we were speaking with the US border agent, we were asked the usual questions. “Where are you coming from? Where do you live? Where are you headed?  Why are you headed there? How long will you be?” And… “Are you two sisters? How do you two know each other? Just what is your relationship? ” Wait. What??

Is it because I seem close with my girlfriend?  I mean when you’re dating someone of course you seem close to them. You’re best friends. You laugh, cry, love and support one another. How would you not be close?

But these questions and the manner of questioning were said in a malicious and probing manner. I looked to my girlfriend and the border guard.  “We’re friends.” If there’s something I’ve learned upon coming out and being true to yourself is that sometimes you have to lie and sacrifice the truth in order to remain safe. Is it ideal?  No. Does it hurt? Yes. Is it upsetting? Of course. Who wouldn’t want to live a life of just being able to be honest (not just when asked) and tell everyone you meet that the love of your life is the person you’re with no matter what biological sex they are? But it seems to be a problem even in the 21st century even when world countries and states (in the US) slowly pass Same sex marriage laws.

Silent vieled bigotry in the form of questions such as “How are you two related?” Are things we face. Had we answered honestly who knows what the border agent would have done of said.  Would we have been turned around and told to stay in our country and denied entry to the US? It’s possible. As a border agent who has powers of deciding who enters her country, who knows what she could have said to deny us the power of entry simply because she didn’t like the look of us.

Anti-hate laws aren’t exactly formed into the US constitution or laws like they are in Canada. And even if they were, from my experience, I’ve found homophobic or ignorant people find other excuses to use in order to spread ignorance and homophobia. Is it fair? No. It reminds me of the closet door I have come through and tried to keep open. It reminds me that sometimes it’s safer to lie because I am different than the majority. It reminds me that some people will never approve of who I love and I try not to let it reflect on me because I know in my heart that I’m not a bad person. But this is why we continue to fight for human rights and stamp out bigotry and ignorance. We do so one person at a time, educating them about ourselves to show that the only difference is that we love someone of the same sex. Our love is otherwise the same. We still want the same things that other couples want: health, happiness, love, support. Maybe one day ignorance will die off or at least be a distant,  faded memory. I hope I get to see such a day.