I’m From Merrimack, NH.

by precia h.

Today I was going to go to my school’s GSA but instead I went to a therapist appointment. I’m so glad I did. I went in, pissed that I was not expressing my gayness in a room full of friends, and sat down. While waiting for the woman to come out and call my name, I watched the people. Back and forth, some sat down, some went upstairs. While doing this I watched with curious eyes as an older woman came into the waiting room and sat down across from Mom and me. Our eyes met. Unseen communication passed through us. She quietly took in the sight of my “We Are Everywhere” shirt and my short cropped hair as I noticed her anime t-shirt, work boots, and jaw length graying hair. I drew my eyes away from the woman and focused on my mother’s magazine.

Finally, the therapist came and called me in. As I walked past the older woman, she quietly said, “I like your shirt.” My heart soared. She was either like me or a supporter. At the time I did not know which. Startled and glowing with happiness I said a delighted “thank you” and went on my way.

When I got back to the waiting room my mother went in to talk to the therapist and I sat in the deserted room. I wondered if I would see the older woman again. I wanted to talk to her. Listen to her stories and learn from what she had to say. So I waited and eventually I was rewarded. She walked out of one of the offices, and as she passed me she said, “See you around.” Wonderfully joyous, I said “bye!” and continued waiting for my mother.

We got into the car and started on our way home. “That woman made my day. That was the first time I got a complement on my shirt from an older person!” I smiled up at my mom. She thought to herself, and then said, “She talked to me while you were in there.” Surprise coursed through me. “What did she say?!”

“She told me that she was glad that times had changed. And that her parents were not supportive of her when she was growing up.” That’s when it hit me. She was like me. She knows what it is like. My mother continued, “She said that when she was in high school nobody would associate themselves with her. Nobody would talk to her. She said that she is fifty years old now and is so glad to see how much everything has changed.” I felt like crying. This lady, for I don’t know her name, knew the real hardships of being gay. As I do not because I was raised in a different generation.

I wanted to talk to her so badly. I wanted to hear what she had gone through and where she was today. How did she get there? I wanted to know her, be her friend, I still do. She has changed my life.

4 Comments:

  1. It is so important to learn our collective history. Even if you do not ever learn that woman’s name – go find other long-time out-queer stories. They are everywhere and the more you learn, or at least the more I do, the more I am able to understand where we are now.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. I’m glad you got to have this experience! Too often today I meet younger kids* who have accepting families, tons of gay friends, and have no idea what it’s like to struggle with acknowledging / accepting themselves. While I’m glad that it’s getting easier for “us,” I dislike the idea that the past hard work will be forgotten for the present’s ease of living.

    Seek out our history.

    *and I’m only 23!

  3. So beautiful. I loved it.

  4. I wouldn’t mind if gay kids were as ignorant as straight kids about what it’s like to be stigmatized because of one’s sexual orientation.

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