Growing Up Gay: What You Should Know
Politics and Activism

Growing Up Gay: What You Should Know

​Yes, strangers like to make it their business who I date.

Growing Up Gay: What You Should Know
The Lost Ogle

I've got a good life. I have great parents, a cool brother, awesome friends, I have it really good.

But my life isn't easy, and I guess there's a lot of reasons for that.

A big one is the fact that I'm gay. It isn't something I hide, either. I talk about my love life with my friends, I hold my girlfriend's hand and kiss her in public, and I'm open with my family about who I'm dating and who I'm interested in. I talk about the relationship problems I have as if they were the same as heterosexual relationship problems (because they are). To me, it's normal. It's just how I've always been.

But I've learned along the way that it is most certainly not normal to everyone. It's something you don't understand if you aren't a part of it. The choices I make as a teenage lesbian affect everyone around me, and that's a weird thing to have to constantly pay attention to.

It used to bother me a lot, too. I actually used to be offended by the fact that my family had an opinion on it. My dad always used to tell me, "Kenzie, you have the biggest role in this, but you don't have the only role." For example, I have a t-shirt that says 'Can't Even Think Straight' and I'm not allowed to wear it to school because it bothers my brother, MJ. I always thought that was asinine, that I couldn't wear what I wanted because he took issue with it.

My dad tells me that MJ didn't choose to have a gay sister. To which the obvious reply is, "I didn't choose to be gay."

Also, there's certain people that I'm not allowed to tell. My grandparents and my great grandma, for example. There's people I'm advised not to tell, too, like teachers and coaches. and the people at my church. It makes sense, mostly. Telling these people would create more trouble than it's worth. And I know my parents are just looking out for me, because they could have potentially bad reactions and it can be really devastating to come out and have people not be okay with it. It's like a whole part of your personality is just being denied.

But there's a more irrational side of me that's thinking "they don't understand how hard it is to have to hide who you are. They don't get it because they're straight, they don't know what it's like to be stared at and made fun of just for who you love. They don't get how important it is to me to be myself."

That side of me isn't wrong per se. But that side of me needs to remember that even if I don't like it, at this point in my life, being gay and more specifically being out is a give and take. In the end, I'm just lucky I have such progressive parents who are so good to me and love me regardless of my sexuality. I should tell you that MJ is a good guy, too. He talks to me about girls like I'm just 'one of the guys' and even asks me about which girls I think are the hottest.

I've got a good gig with my family.

But of course, my family aren't the only ones that my being a lesbian apparently affects.

It's my friends, my coaches, my teachers, strangers. Everyone thinks they get a say in how I live my life. Not to mention, they all seem to think that I can be persuaded to 'turn straight' with enough nagging. It's insane.

Imagine everyone just deciding, out of nowhere, that an integral part of your personality was invalid because they didn't like it. Imagine someone saying you weren't really smart, or funny, or athletic, or compassionate, or even that you couldn't love dogs, or baseball, or anything, just because they weren't okay with it.

"Strangers, girlfriends, hell, even my own parents. All asking me to be something that I'm not. Do you have any idea what that feels like? Like your whole f*cking existence is being denied? Like 'woah, you'd be better off if you were invisible?' Yeah. I refuse to be invisible, Daddy. Not for you, not for mom, not for anybody."
- Big Boo (Orange Is The New Black)

It's really frustrating. You can try to imagine it, but you don't really understand unless you've lived it. To have people constantly tell you that you're too young to know what you really want, that you just haven't found the right man yet, that you're just experimenting. Strangers attacking you on the Internet, religious nuts telling you you'll go to hell, friends not hanging out with you anymore because their parents think you're a bad influence. It hurts.

It's just as irritating when it happens to other people I know. My girlfriend has, to put it nicely, not the most accepting parents in the world, and they're very religious. So she's constantly worried that someone from her church will see us together and out her to the church and get her in heaps of trouble. We can't even hang out at her house anymore because her parents are so uppity about it. It shouldn't have to be like that.

Then there's always the negative attention in the other direction. Lesbians can't just be lesbians without everyone sexualizing it. My girlfriend and I just went to a football game, and we were hanging out under the bleachers and kissing, and guys kept walking past and harassing us.

Dear guys my age: if you see two girls kissing, it's not cool to whistle at them and tease them. We don't think you're cute, it doesn't make us want to abandon our girlfriends in favor of dating you instead, just stop it. We don't care if you think lesbians are hot. Just stop. Keep walking.

Even when I was trying to find a cover photo for this article, searching "lesbians kissing" on Google Images turns up nothing but porn. It's so annoying. It's like lesbians exist only for the pleasure of men.

Being gay is simultaneously the best and worst thing that's ever happened to me. On the downside, I was born into all this prejudice and hate that I can't control. I was born facing this uphill battle that I didn't choose for myself. I was born having to fight for my right to exist.

On the upside, I've learned from an early age how to stand up for myself. Being a teenage lesbian in a society that is just now learning to accept gay people has taught me about self-love and confidence. It's taught me that sometimes I'm going to be the only one who believes in me. It's taught me that I have to hang tough and be strong to survive.

Possibly most importantly, it's taught me that it's never wrong to be who you truly are. That you don't have to try to fit in with societal norms. That no matter what anyone says, you can't change who you are. You have to own up to it and be proud of it.

Growing up gay has made me who I am. I wear that badge with pride. I love who I am, even if everyone else in the world hates it, and I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Being a pharmacy technician never held as many risks as it does now. Exposure too hazardous conditions were little to none, and garbing up was only conducted in IV compounding. But, now, in order to give nurses the medications they need to help their patients, they need us, pharmacy technicians.

Keep Reading... Show less

Epic Activewear Deals Every Leggings-Lover Needs To Know About From Nordstrom's Biggest Sale

Wearing my pleather Alo leggings till someone physically removes them from my body.

I'll be the first to admit I'm not an athletic person, at all. Since junior high school, I've been happily cheering my friends on at their football games and soccer matches from the sidelines as long as I could go home to my yoga mat and spend Sunday mornings at Pilates with my mom's friends.

Weekends are often spent in my casual wear, from the second I throw them on for morning meditation through running errands and evening walks. No, I won't be running a marathon or joining my friend's volleyball league anytime soon.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

TikTok was banned by the president, but Instagram is here with its newest feature called Reel. Many of us are still wondering why TikTok was being banned in the first place. Was it all the dangerous TikTok trends? It was because of a security concern, but not in the way you might think.

TikTok is owned by Dancebyte, which is a China-owned company. Basically, just like any other app, TikTok collects the user's data. The main question to ask yourself when investing in any app or marketing tools who will be owning my data? So yes, China currently owns all the TikTok user's data worldwide.

Keep Reading... Show less

I've always been a huge Disney villain fan — whether it was for their cryptic one-liners, enviable outfits, or sidekick banter. Some of the most iconic lines from cinematic history have been said by the characters we love to hate and occasionally dress up as once a year.

The fear-mongering Gaston I now find hilariously cringe-worthy is now charming and oftentimes considered by fans as rightfully justified in his actions. Die-hard fans of the Disney villain fan club claim alternate egos in their favorite evil characters, adopting their hilarious witticisms into everyday life.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Reasons To Put The Damn Mask On, And Stop Fussing With It

COVID-19 is real people, do your part to protect yourself and others.

Ilana Stein

With the ever-changing reality of our world due to COVID-19, there has been one constant throughout these past unforeseen months, masks. Ever since coronavirus hit the ground running in the US, the CDC has been recommending social distancing and mask-wearing to stop the rapid spread.

Many people have been great about adhering to these policies, mandates, and suggested uses, but others, not so much.

Keep Reading... Show less

Anyone who goes to Panera Bread will tell you that their mac and cheese is to die for. If you're a huge fan of their mac and cheese, you won't believe the new recipe they're coming out with!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been an athlete my entire life. I love movement and I've been jumping, kicking, swimming, dancing, throwing, you name it since I was in diapers. I'm also pretty competitive and probably went through a few sore loser phases. What can I say? I like to win, and losing can sometimes feel like I've failed. Especially, when your competitor is your best friend or someone that you worked all year long to defeat.

Keep Reading... Show less

I Asked My Boyfriend His Opinion On Liking Other Girls’ Pictures, And, Spoiler Alert, It's Cheating

"When you get into a relationship and you're in love, you have to realize that liking photos is for the single lifestyle."

Ladies, listen up. If you are in a relationship with a guy and he is liking other girls' pictures on social media, then it's a red flag. A man who can look at someone else and show interest by liking it means he doesn't care about your feelings AT ALL.

Keep Reading... Show less

Picture this, we're settling into our date, the conversation is flowing, we're ordering drinks, laughing, and then it happens... the job convo.

Him: "So what do you do?"
Me: "I'm a dating and relationships editor."

Keep Reading... Show less

- I have extremely sensitive skin, which is why I have always resorted to a plant-based organic beauty line such as Radha Beauty.

- Radha Beauty won me over years ago when I was looking for organic skincare brands.

- I was so excited to see they launched a new line incorporating USDA organic rosehip oil, so when their PR team sent me some, I could not have been more thrilled.

- After a week of using the products, my face felt as smooth as a baby's, looked more glowy than ever, and even cured some of my summer sunburn.

Radha Beauty isn't just a best-selling beauty brand on Amazon — it's a USDA-certified organic beauty brand I live by, and anyone who knows me knows I am all about holistic wellness.

Typically, it only takes three days for me to tell if a skin product is working or not because I have extremely sensitive skin. It's also why I have always stuck by plant-based organic beauty lines such as Radha Beauty.

Keep Reading... Show less

I have definitely had my fair share of breakups. I broke up with my high school sweetheart my second semester of college (he was cheating on me), I had a breakup with another guy I thought I was going to marry, and others in between. Regardless of whether you're the one doing the dumping or being dumped, breakups can HURT.

Keep Reading... Show less

Social media is something many of us have been addicted to (whether we want to believe it or not) since the moment we got it. I remember getting Facebook at 10. Instantly I was hooked. I loved being able to share my life with people, a little too much in my opinion, and I loved being able to see how/what other people were doing all the time.

Keep Reading... Show less

I am not in any way any sort of medical expert. These are just some tricks that work for me and have worked for others who also suffer from anxiety. These may not work for everyone, but I do hope these help some people in their fight against anxiety.

Keep Reading... Show less

-Having struggled with acne prone skin for years, I was cautious to try a new serum on top of the other products I've come to trust.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments