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I will never forget when I first realized that I wasn’t normal. I remember realizing I was attracted t I was actually a young child, so I suppose that they were only girls, but I was too, and in any case I had little to no interest in the opposite sex, other than wanting to be friends with them. I didn’t understand why anyone did like boys like that. Boys were dirty and gross and too much like me, in all honesty-even though I was rejected by all of them for friendship purposes because I was a “girl”, and I should do “girly” things. Girls were pretty and they were somewhat nicer to me (because I was a “girl”, and I guess that was good enough reason to tolerate me at least, even if they didn’t like me.) But I would never tell anyone that. How could I tell anyone that I had a crush on a girl?
This lead on into the next stages of my life, too. But as I grew older, and I noticed more and more that I was not the same as everyone else; everyone else started to notice too. Even though I had never admitted to anyone in my entire life that I liked girls, everyone just seemed to know. Shouts of “Lesbian”, “Butch”, “Faggot”, could be heard wherever I went. The words followed me, never straying, not even when I desperately tried to hide it. Not even when I would exclaim, “No, I don’t like girls!”, “I’m not gay!”, “I like boys!”. At this point in my life, I hadn’t even looked at a boy, not in that way anyways, but I was frantically trying to convince everyone that I was interested in them. Because in school, that’s what mattered. That’s what kids cared about, was that I was gay. At that tender young age, I was having to be worried about it? It’s confusing now, even thinking about it.
One day, that would change. I wouldn’t be able to hide it anymore. I would accidentally shove myself out of the closet, before I even understood myself. It is a pretty funny story, but it was mortifying and it changed my life and how people viewed me forever. I was no longer just the girl that everyone thought was gay. I was the only person who was out at that point. And even though it was not that many years ago, I could maybe count them on my hands… there was much more prejudice than anyone likes to admit. Those who were suspected of being out of the norm were outsiders, and were constantly seeking to convince everyone that they were wrong, of our innocence, that we were like the rest of them. I was guilty, simply by existing in a way that was different than what everyone thought was normal. And I, like the rest of my LGBT peers, was looking for redemption. All I wanted was to be accepted. I understood that I was basically unlovable and that girls would turn away from me, and so would boys for that matter, when I decided to explore the idea of that. Being gay meant that I couldn’t even have female friends, and that everyone who talked to me would be tainted, and immediately under suspect. Homosexuality was like a plague, and since I had it, everyone treated me like I was under quarantine.
This whole time, I wasn’t sure of my gender or sexuality. I wasn’t sure who I was, and I don’t think anyone that age could hope to be sure. All I can really think now is that everyone was afraid, just as afraid as I was. But I’m also not sure how that is supposed to make homophobia or transphobia better. I am not sure how I am supposed to forgive everyone for how they have treated me now that things are changing and everyone is learning, either. I just hope that eventually it will be okay to just love and be loved, to just be who you are, and that people like me in the generations after mine won’t have to go through the internalized self hatred and that they won’t have to be an outcast just because of a small difference between them and their peers.
I don’t know who I am, what I am, or what labels to use, or whatever else, and I’m convinced that it is more difficult to figure these things out when I’m already trying to deal with all of the internalized b******* that I learned when I was younger. So I have resolved to exist, to love who I love, and to live my own truth, and I hope that everyone who has gone through this, or is going through it knows that that is okay. It’s okay not to know. It’s okay to just be. Life is too short to worry about how you describe yourself anyways.