LGBTQ+ in 2019
I am a 17 year old lesbian and I am openly out to my family and friends. I wasn’t planning on coming out when or how I did. Sometime in my junior year, my dad asked me if he could look through my phone. He was nervous that I had been talking to boys and keeping it from him. I told him that he wouldn’t find that I was talking to boys; I was coming out to strangers on the internet, practicing what to say to my parents and ultimately, he would find that I was gay.
Many young people are beginning to come out to their loved ones and are often met with positive experiences. I asked some people what their experiences with being LGBTQ+ in high school in 2019 is like.
Karina Peña is bisexual and closeted to her family, but openly out at school and with friends.
“I live in a hispanic household where we’re supposed to get married and have kids. It’s not that it’s not normal, just that they’re not used to their own kids being different yet…. My parents wouldn’t be mad at me. They would probably be weird for like a week. But, I’m still the same Kari. So they would get used to it.”
Bea Meyer is openly a MTF trans person. She says, “There’s a lot of progress to be made. It definitely is more accepted now than 5-10 years ago.” People call her out in the halls and in public. “Coming out was scary, 9th grade I lost a lot of friends. My parents have always been supportive.” When she was 13 she was presenting as female but still using the mens bathroom. In one instance, she was using the men’s bathroom at the mall when an adult man spit in her face and threatened to kill her. This is what many people part of the LGBTQ+ community deal with on a day to day basis.
A student that wished to be left anonymous says, “I think my mom would cry if I told her I was bisexual. I can’t blame her, she grew up in a different time. But, it makes me sad that I can’t show who I am to her yet. But I do want to come out to my family eventually. “
Has it always been so hard? To come out and be supported? Have people always been afraid to hold hands with someone they love in public just because they’re the same gender? We live in a time where being LGBTQ+ is a lot less stigmatized. But, throughout history, it was once not stigmatized at all. The first recorded gay couple was in Egypt when archaeologists found two Egyptian men were buried together in 2450 BCE with the quote “Joined in life, Joined in Death.” There was once an army with 150 male couples named the Sacred Band of Thebes. Valued for their strength in relationship, ability, and merit, they were undefeated from 371 BC to 338 BC. Being bisexual and gay was widely accepted until people started being murdered for sodomy. One of the very first recorded transgender woman, Rolandina Ronchaia, was burned alive for sodomy in 1347. Then it began being criminalized to be part of the LGBTQ+ community around the 1400s.
After I “came out” to my dad, he hugged me really tight and asked me why I had been nervous to come out to him. Then asked if he could go across the street to church and tell my mom. I was hesitant, but said yes because I didn’t want to see her face when her heart broke. Coming out is so hard. My original plan was to come out to them at a nice restaurant so they couldn’t yell or maybe come home from college already married and tell them to deal with it. I came out on my instagram to my extended family and friends and everyone was extremely supportive. We might finally be progressing again. We could possibly not have the negativity towards the LGBTQ+ community at all in 50 years or so.
We are doing a lot better in 2019 than we were even ten years ago. In 2011, gay marriage was still illegal in most states. There are still protests and there might always be people who don’t support gay people. But, I believe we can get to where people just accept people for who they are.