I’m From Little Rock, AR.

by Carey Benedict

I’m From Little Rock, AR.

I have always known I was a lesbian. I remember being in fourth grade, and thinking, “Wait…but she’s a girl…and I’m a girl. But I like her.” At the time it was a really difficult thing for me to deal with. I grew up in a very conservative household, and was raised in the Baptist church. You can imagine this made it hard for me, especially when you are as young as 8 or 9. Hearing things like, “Gays go to Hell” and then knowing you were gay too, made life a little uneasy. I often begged God to make me straight, pleading to take me to Heaven. But that was just how it was.

As I got older, I got more confident in who I was. I came to truly accept myself and love myself for who I was and that allowed me to be the happiest I had been in a long time. Then came coming out… I first told a friend of mine in Spanish class, and he was very accepting. After my Homecoming dance I told everyone else, and they were like, “Yeah, we know.” But then came the scary part: Telling my family. My sister has known for years, and had made hints to my dad in the past. He was actually not a part of the conservative home I mentioned earlier. He and my step-mom were so amazing about it, and it hasn’t changed our relationship at all. If anything, it has made it stronger. My mom, however. I was shaking like a leaf on a tree last week when I was finally honest about myself. She told me she wasn’t going to accept it, that I’m too young, or I’m confused. Even being deceived somehow. I’m just being rebellious, to which my response was if I wanted to be rebellious I would get pregnant, but lucky for her that’s not happening. And while telling her did not have the outcome I had hoped for, it gave me this confidence, this freedom. And as more people know, the more confidence and pride I feel.

I know life won’t always be easy for me. There will always be people who don’t understand. It will be a struggle, for sure. But I can hold my head high now, I can love who I am. It is the most amazing feeling, and I can only pray that every person, no matter their gender, sexuality, religion, race, size, etc, get to have that feeling. It sets you free. Being 16 is difficult, but being out just made it so much easier on me. And I have faith that one day my mom will accept and love me for who I am. It may take a while, but she is my mom. I still love her, even though she makes it very difficult at times.

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