Sam, in his own words: “Being gay … If I see my life in hindsight, I could say that the fact that I like boys has not caused anything very different in me. I have never seen the fact of being gay as something that gives meaning to my life, is simply an adjective more of me, like my black hair, or my brown eyes.
The biggest challenge I’ve ever had in my life was about a year ago. I had to change my life completely; I had to flee from Venezuela, a country that is undergoing a neo-communist dictatorship that violates human rights and all kinds of freedoms.
Saying goodbye to everything I knew was not easy. I said bye to all my dreams, my friends and my home. However, I got very good people on the road, thanks to them, everything has been much less difficult. My family has remained united and strong, we have been able to adapt very well to all the changes.
My out coming was developed in stages. My family is very Catholic, belonging to Opus Dei, so I obviously talked to my best friend before any member of my family.
I remember being very nervous the day I talked to my friend, I thought he would stop being my friend. Nevertheless, when I told him that I like boys, he thought that I was joking, but then he said “okay, what’s wrong with that?” I felt immense relief.
Two years later almost all my friends knew that I was gay, I was 18 years old.
In those days I was dating a boy, (whom I will call Pedro in this story). In mid-July 2015, my mom was asking me a lot of things, a little strange questions. On July 25 she began to ask me who Pedro was, in a very loud voice, I said nothing, until she, amid tears and shouts asked, “Are you gay?” It took me a few seconds to respond, and I said, “Yes.”
After that day everything was a process of acceptance of reality, but in general, my parents respected my personal space a lot, they never came to insult me.
Today, my parents can talk openly about the topic, especially my dad.
In the time I have lived in New York I have seen that the LGBTQ community is strongly respected and supported by most people and institutions. The LGBTQ community is open, not afraid of anything. However, many of its members, here in NYC, are people to whom the fact of being LGBTQ does not cause them major changes in their life because of being different.
I would advise the Samuel of a few years ago: “Take advantage of each day, value yourself and value others.”