Junior Outlook: Possessing pride in who you are

Pride is defined as a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc, according to www.dictionary.com. Pride is something that, in my opinion, takes time to build up. This month is Pride Month at Rider University — pride in being a homosexual human being in the year 2012. Many people are proud to call themselves gay, bisexual or lesbian in today’s society. Yet, there are people who struggle with coming out and being proud of who they are. Coming out is not as easy as it seems to many people who do not understand the process.
Since I can remember, I was always attracted to the same sex: men. This started when I was about five years old. A time when boys usually start realizing they like girls was the time when I was realizing that I liked boys. I knew that being attracted to the same sex was “wrong.” I dated a few girls back in grammar school, nothing serious. Once I got to middle school I was picked on a lot by my peers. Everyone could tell I was gay because I hung out with all the girls. To stop this teasing, I started dating one of my good female friends. When we broke up, I started being more intimate with girls because I wanted to fit in and be “normal.” When high school hits, as we all know, things can get worse. My first two years of high school were great. I made many friends and felt a sort of acceptance. However, I was not happy with myself. Since middle school, I would always wish to be straight or normal before I would go to bed. It came to a point where I thought that being dead was better, since I felt that God didn’t love me and neither would my parents for being gay.
Yet, there came a point in my life, around the age of 16, when I decided that there was nothing wrong with me. I realized that being gay is not a big deal and is normal. I finally came out fully when I was a junior in high school. To my shock, everyone was very supportive. Everyone at school still said, “Hi” to me and treated me even better than before. To this day, I thank God for giving me such a great life filled with supportive and open-minded people. A year later, I came out to my parents, which was the scariest moment of my life, but to my surprise again, they were and still are very supportive of me and, of course, love me just as much as they did before. It has been about five years since I fully came out, and I can honestly say that I do not regret it one bit. My mom’s response to me being gay was surprisingly funny: “I always knew you were gay, honey. I was just waiting for you to come to terms with it.” All this time I was struggling with my sexuality and accepting myself when she knew all along.
I am a much happier person now that I am out. Living a double life is not something that someone should put themself through just because of their sexual orientation. If you want acceptance from society, you have to accept yourself completely first. Coming out is a process that takes people many years, but trust me when I say that you feel so clean, light and great about yourself. Furthermore, once you come out, you will feel what it truly means to feel pride as a homosexual human being in the year 2012.
-Walter Saravia
Junior English major

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