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My Name is Eliza Gabriel…

Picture1I am from Bloomington, MN

 

I identify as Mostly Gay

 

I came out at  16 to my parents, 18 to my friends

 

I Am A Queer Peer.

 

When I Came Out To My Mom

I felt that it was time to tell her and that I shouldn’t lie about it anymore. She was extremely surprised, and it took a few years for her to get used to the idea, but now she is incredibly supportive.

 

Technically, I didn’t personally come out to My Dad

My mom told him for me the same day I told her. He never had much of a response, and has been relaxed about it ever since.

 

I waited a while to tell my brother about my sexuality.

He and I have a close relationship, but we don’t often talk about sex or sexual issues, so it felt unnatural to bring it up. I ended up coming out to him via email, letting him know I had a girlfriend. He didn’t react very strongly, just told me that my girlfriend was very pretty and thanks for letting him know.

 

The best part of my coming out experience was

the relief that came once I didn’t have to hide anymore. For me, I had known I was gay for my entire life, and I had acknowledged my sexuality as something I had to deal with at the young age of 12. The following few years that I spent lying, blushing and avoiding conversations were incredibly stressful for me, and the frustrations built. Once I came out, I can’t describe how free I felt. I also felt nauseous and terrified, but underneath those emotions was the realization that the individual coming out moment would pass, and I had a lifetime of being myself in front of me.

 

My mom had a difficult time understanding my sexuality.

She and I are very similar; in terms of personality, physical appearance, style, everything! The fact that I was so different than she was, in what she considered a major way, gave her some trouble. This was by far the most challenging part of my coming out experience, since I’ve always been very close to my mom and it hurt me to see her struggling. After two years, we were chatting on the phone and the subject of my sexuality came up again. I asked her how she was coping and she told me that she was still having some trouble, and then she reminded me (again) that I have nothing to feel guilty about, that this is her problem, and that she loves me.

 

My sexuality has been mostly a non-issue at Bates.

It doesn’t impact the friends I choose, or the activities in which I take part (other than the Queer Peer program). I’ve always thought it would be nice to have a more cohesive gay community at Bates. I think people’s experiences with Bates’ queer community differ on such a wide range. I do not share the frustrations that I often hear.

 

I helped a friend of mine come out to her parents.

Her parents were from a more conservative, rural area of Minnesota, so my friend was naturally very nervous about telling them, since she knew they wouldn’t approve. I talked her through her options and the conversation. Helping this friend over such a difficult hurdle in high school  gave me the confidence and encouragement to try to help other people who are struggling with some aspect of their sexuality. I feel I have a lot of experience and knowledge to lend to the task.

 

Sometimes at Bates it’s hard to look around and recognize the LGBTQ community, but it’s most definitely there, and it’s growing. In my opinion, the most important thing is to relax and choose your friends based on personalities, not sexualities.


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