"My name is Ana and I am gay"
"Being in the closet was a hiding place for my secrets.” In this heart-wrenching Cuéntame, Ana shares her coming out story – a story full of hidden secrets.
I never thought I would write this, the story of how I came out to everyone in my life.
I can’t describe how I feel. The most I can say is that it feels like a huge weight has been lifted from my chest.
Imagine being afraid for years to tell people your biggest, darkest, secret – afraid that they wouldn’t love you.
I knew from a very early age that I was different, that I liked girls, maybe since I was four years old. I remember telling my mom I wanted to be a boy so I could marry girls – her reaction was to smack me and tell me no, that I was a girl, and girls liked boys.
Teachers in elementary school would often question me about why I chose to play with the boys and not the girls. I remember one teacher telling me: “If you keep playing with the boys you’ll end up being a lesbian.”
For years I kept my secret. It wasn’t until high school that I slowly began to tell people I was gay. At this point, my sister knew. She still loved me and never told anyone. She kept my secret.
My biggest fear was my parents finding out.
As the years went by, I started to open up to people about my sexuality, SLOWLY. It would take me days, months, to be able to tell them — that’s how long I would have to build myself up to that moment.
I remember once it took me two days to tell my best friend, Jess, that I was gay. I didn’t have the courage to tell her I was gay face to face, so I texted her.
Her response was, “Ana Banana I’m still your friend, nothing is going to change, nothing will ever change.”
Opening up to her definitely made our friendship stronger. For that, I will always be thankful. She was and still is one of my best friends — she helped me find a little bit of a badass in me.
It wasn’t until about a year ago that I officially came out after watching “Love, Simon." It really inspired me to take the decision.
I remember I was cleaning the bathroom when this feeling suddenly came over me. "Well it’s not the end of the world if I tell my parents and they kick me out. I have people that love me and care about me I know I can go stay with," I thought to myself.
I finished cleaning the bathroom, went to my mom’s room, and sat down on the carpet. I told her I needed to tell her something, as she was lying in her bed: I started crying. Her response was, "what do you need to tell me, is it that you like girls?"
Crying I said yes, I got up and ran to hug her. She pushed me away and said, “maybe you're just confused. I don’t understand how it is that you can be this way.”
She had this shocked look on her face, as she continued to tell me how she didn’t raise me this way.
I tried telling her it was nothing she had done that made me this way, but she didn’t understand. She was really upset with me and angry that I was gay.
I remember crying, feeling a bit of relief, but saddened that my mom didn’t understand me.
My sisters had to jump in and tell my mom that they knew it would take her some time to understand me, but that they (my sisters) loved me because after all, we were sisters.
As the weeks went by I tried telling my mom how alone I felt, although I had my friends and my sisters that still loved me.
I tried to open up to my mom about my past relationships, especially my most recent relationship with a girl named Julia.
I remember trying to tell her that I really needed her when Julia and I ended things. The times that Julia tried getting into my head, all the shit Julia did to me — I needed my mom to give me advice, but she wasn’t there.
My mom had so much anger. She didn’t want to hear it.
She would remind me that she didn’t want me to be one of “those gays” that danced around social media proud of being gay. She said she didn’t want people to talk about her or my dad, and that the choices I made affected them.
She told me, “sometimes I wish you would have never told me, and you would have just kept it to yourself. I also would rather you be dead than gay.” Hearing those things, from the lady I loved the most, tore my heart into a million pieces.
Being in the closet was a hiding place for my secrets, there are things I never said to anyone because I was afraid.
I never told anyone I went on a date with a guy to see if it was maybe I was just confused. That guy ended up getting me drunk and then raped me.
I never told anyone, until now.
Being in the closet is a dark place. It makes your heart and emotions dark.
I never told anyone that many, many times I laid on my bed wondering why God made me this way. Why had God made me gay, why I couldn’t be like my friends. Why had God not made me straight, why is God making me go through all of this.
I didn’t understand.
There were a couple of times where my own thoughts and other peoples' words dug so deep, got to my head — it put me in a deep black hole.
I tried committing suicide a couple of times by taking as many pills as I could, hoping I would never wake up and the pain I was feeling would go away.
As I cried all those times in bed, I begged God to forgive me for doing this. I begged God to take care of my family and to take care of my friends.
When I would wake up, I would wake up angry - because taking the pills didn’t work. I would be angry at God for not letting me die. I kept asking myself, "why isn’t he taking me, can’t he see my pain?"
It wasn’t until one day, when I was on my way to work feeling dark, that one of my friends sent me a link to a podcast of a religious preacher.
I listened to it and will never forget what she said.
“God loves you, he really, really loves you (...) He loves you if you're gay, fat, skinny, with brown eyes, black eyes, God doesn’t care he loves you.”
Ever since that day, things changed for me — I have learned to love myself, to be happy.
I love God, I love everyone and everything around me. I’m happier now, and I owe it all to my friends, for helping me to keep going.
Fast forward to almost a year later, I’ll be hitting 27 [years] soon. I can finally breathe, and say I AM GAY! I no longer have to hate myself for being me.
The people who have already been able to come out are on another level of braveness. They rock! They are fucking Chingones!
I know that there will be people who love me, but I’m also aware there will be people who won’t. I’ve learned that it’s okay to be gay.
The true friends will always be there for me, just like I’ll always be there for them. Trust me I’ve learned!
To my friends who have known and stayed with me; Jess, Colleen, Lauren, Kaiti, Ryan, Adem, Becca, just to name a few; thank you. Thank you for laughing it off with me, holding me and crying with me when I told you, THANK YOU! You don’t understand how much it meant to me.
My family has, and is, coming around since the day I told them. It’s still a touchy subject, but I know that eventually, everything will be okay. I’m just finally able to breathe, finally be happy.
I've learned that the acceptance that I was really looking for was my mother’s — no one else’s acceptance mattered to me but hers. That’s why I always felt like something was missing.
Though now I understand that it will take time, I know my mom loves me.
Love is about being free, about spreading love and kindness, about making someone feel special, about sharing a laugh and a smile; after all, it's what makes the world a much, much better place.
It shouldn’t matter who we choose to love. I’m really, really happy at this moment in life — I’m happy with the person I am, of how kind, hardworking, and resilient I am.
It’s still a work in progress, but I am a step closer to being able to love and fully accept myself – open and happy.
All I can say now is my name is Ana ----- and I am gay.