My name is Mia Dawson and I’m sixteen years old. I like to play basketball, dance, sing, hang out, and go shopping. My favorite colors are red, blue, purple and pink. My favorite movie is Love & Basketball. When I grow up I want to be in the WNBA. But that is not everything. I always leave that one thing out. That one thing is that I am gay. Why do I leave it out? I leave it out because I had previously thought that I would lose friends, people wouldn’t like me, and that I would even get beaten up for being different.
I was about twelve years old when I started to let people know I was gay. It was scary because of all the discrimination against the LGBT community. The reactions I received were unexpected and I felt like an outcast. People would say: “Ewww you’re gay?” “You like girls?” “Oh my G-d you’re gay?” I felt unwanted. No one wanted to be my friend, or they didn’t like me because of my sexuality.
At the time, my mother wasn’t aware that I was gay. I mean, she had ideas and she would question me. She would ask if I liked boys or if I liked girls. She constantly asked if I had a boyfriend or a girlfriend or if I even liked anyone at all. Sometimes she would come stand behind me while I was on Facebook and she would ask with whom I was speaking with. I would avoid the questions as best as I could. When I wouldn’t answer, my mother would tell me she would love me the same no matter what I was.
My older cousin who is gay was the first person I came out to, and she was excited. She was the only one that I could relate to. My older cousin helped me come out to my mother, as she knew this would be difficult for me. We discussed ways I could tell my mother I was gay and I finally built up the courage to tell my mother what I had wanted to say for so long.
I told my mother I was gay when I was in the 8th grade at boarding school. But by that time, my mother had already figured it out. She had come up to visit me at school. It was a surprise visit, so I was unprepared for what I was going to say or how I would even say it. Luckily, a few days before she came to visit, my best friend Jailene and I had just had a long conversation about how I was going to tell my mother I was gay, because I knew that I was almost ready to do so. When my mother came, it took over a day for me to actually get the words out. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to tell her; I was just too scared to.
My mother sat and observed me in class the following afternoon. It was the last class of the day. She came into the classroom and sat next to Jailene and me. Jailene and I were talking and my mother had told us to stop talking and read. So, my best friend tapped me on the shoulder and told me to tell my mother that I was gay. That’s when I told Jailene that she already knew. At that point, my mother overheard and asked, “she knows what?”
My best friend whispered, “Ma, she is gay”.
My mother claimed she already knew I was gay. She then pulled me into the hallway and asked me why I couldn’t have just told her then, instead of hearing it from someone else. After everything that had just happened, my mother reassured me that she still loved me just the same.
After telling my mother I was gay, it took some weight off of my shoulders. I also felt better when my mother told me she still loved me even though I was gay. But that feeling didn’t last for very long.
Now that I am older, I hear everyone saying “the old Mia.” I feel like my mother doesn’t love me the same way she did before I came out. It’s like now that I dress like a “boy,” I’m an AG (aggressive girl) and that I buy boy clothes, I am not me anymore. I feel that I am still me: Mia. Even though I’m not the girly girl Mia that everyone was used to, I’m still going to be Mia even though I’m gay.
I have overcome my fear of telling people that I am gay because of the reactions I would receive when I was younger. I’ve learned to not care about other people’s opinions. Just like Anderson Cooper said, “I am gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be anymore happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.” I feel like he is saying that yes, I’m gay and I am happy with that, and I am not going to let anyone bring me down because of my sexuality. I agree with Mr. Cooper. Just because others may have a problem with your sexuality, doesn’t mean that you can’t be happy.