My name is Angelica* and I am sixteen years old. I’m unique. Everyone knows it. I mean, honestly, how many teenage girls do you know who play ice hockey, do youth group, act in plays, write in a school Newspaper, and feed on every form of visual arts? I’m guessing not very many, but my uniqueness expands far beyond my interests. You see, individuality is an intrinsically complex arrangement of one’s heart, mind, body, and soul. Often times, there are aspects of an individual that a bystander may never encounter. Traits that may distinguish a person, but for some reason, she chooses to keep them hidden behind an ironclad wall. For me, that unknown trait is my sexuality.
Only 0.00000004% of the world’s population knows I’m gay, so you could say that I hardly have a pinky toe out of the closet. You don’t generally hear the accounts of people who are trapped in a dark room behind a multi-ton door. That would kind of defeat the purpose of being in the closet. But there came a point for me, when I was only in the closet when anonymity was out of the question. That’s where I am now. Let me tell you, there are very few people who see everything the way I do. If one is straight, he has no idea what it’s like to be confused with his sexuality, and if he is openly gay, he forgets what the closet looks like and lives his life as openly as any straight person. (If you would like an extended analysis of this incognito perspective, I highly recommend reading Jason Collins’ article in the May 6th, 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated.)
You see, my mind fights a constant battle between my conscious and my subconscious. A fight between being out and staying in. My subconscious has wholeheartedly accepted my most innate attractions and emotions. It wants me to be out and to act on my desires. Meanwhile, my acquainted mind reminds me of all the injustices in the world that are directed at people like me. It keeps me from entering the uncharted territory that lies beyond the closet door. It constantly has me wondering what people would think of me if they knew I was gay.
To a certain extent, I am extremely proud of who I am, but that cognizant fear of people hating me because I am a homosexual has kept me from boasting my pride. Some days, it’s emotionally arduous. Especially when I open up my Facebook page only to see a thread of comments in which someone’s “friend” is ripping apart the feelings of an openly gay teenager, or when I roam the hallways at school and behind me I hear these same whispering from others about the lesbians who just hugged in front of them.
That, my friends, is what keeps me in the closet. I fear that the outside is worse than the inside. Obviously someday, this fear will subside. Someday, I will live openly as a lesbian. I will find a beautiful woman and maybe start a family with her. I will be happy. I know it, I see it in my dreams. But not only do I see hope for myself in the world as it is today; I see hope for the LGBT population as a whole in the future. We are quickly emerging as a huge minority. As our society is rapidly becoming more accepting of the “queer population,” fewer people are choosing to lead their life with a lie. People aren’t living their whole lives pretending to be straight anymore. Not athletes, not musicians, not actors, not politicians. The public closet is slowly diminishing, and with it, so is mine. My pride will develop as I embark on my revealing journey. I will stop wishing I was straight just because it would be easier and I will speak out. I will be a role model.
I have a dream that one day, coming out will not be a traumatic experience for anyone or for any reason. I have a dream that one day, I will be able to publicly hold my girlfriend’s hand and celebrate what makes me unique without committing a social crime. I have a dream that one day, I will be allowed to get married no matter the State I live in. “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self evident, that all [humans] are created equal.'” (Martin Luther King Jr.)