Growing Up Gay in a Conservative Town

January 13, 2010
Until about two years ago, I never considered dating a girl. I had dated several boys, but I never really fell in love. I know that as a teenager I shouldn’t expect to fall in love, or even want to, but I saw my friends falling hard for their boyfriends and I was jealous. I wanted that connection with someone.

The first time I really thought about dating a girl was when my best friend, Joy, was talking about her cousin getting married to another girl. After that, I started to pay attention to the girls around me more and found, to my surprise, I thought some of them were attractive! Not in the “Oh, she’s so pretty,” way I had before, but genuinely looking at them and thinking, “Wow, she’s really amazing.”

The first girl I dated was Johanna. Johanna has to be the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. She taught me so much about myself and the world. She showed me how to look in the mirror and instead of saying, “Oh god, I look so fat today,” say, “Whoa! Who’s that pretty girl!” Johanna is an amazing person, a dancer and poet, who cares about everyone she meets. For the first time in my life, I was in love. I suppose I still am. I believe if you really love someone, you’ll never stop loving them.

Unfortunately for me, I grew up in a tiny, mostly conservative town, the type where everyone knows everyone else. Soon, people found out about my relationship with Johanna and started spreading rumors. A woman I hardly even know said, “Savannah is a bad influence because her parents have allowed her to have odd sexual preferences.” Now, this isn’t another teenager talking smack, this is a grown woman with children older than me expressing an opinion on a high school age girl she has only met once, based on the rumors other teenagers and their parents had been spreading.

I shouldn’t have let this hurt me, but it did. It still brings tears of hurt to my eyes and leaves my throat tight, even as I write this, that my community was so biased towards me, because I dated someone the same gender as me. One of my best friends, Edward, faced the same issues when he started coming out to our community that he likes other boys. Edward no longer likes going to church because he feels excluded and disliked by his community.

Right now, a same-sex couple could not get married in my state. Someday, I would like to live in a world where two teenage girls can have a healthy, loving, open relationship and be accepted by their community. Someday, I would like to live in a world where Edward can get married in the church he loves. Someday, I would like to live in a world where everyone is accepted, despite their sexual preferences, and where no other girl will have to face the discrimination I did.

Join the Discussion

This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

whatsername33 said...
Sept. 7, 2011 at 7:55 pm
I'm in pretty much the exact same situation, so I can understand... Someday we'll live in that world full of acceptance, and maybe see a day without discrimination.
ChildoftheSky said...
Jan. 26, 2010 at 11:23 am
I am really sorry to hear about your situation. You did a great job with this, and your grammar's great, but I wished you added more to the end. What happened to you and Johanna? Did you two break up? Find acceptance?
BecauseISaidSo replied...
Jan. 30, 2010 at 12:50 am
We did end up breaking up, but not because of the discrimination we faced. People still talk badly, especially behind my back, and I can't talk about my relationship with Johanna to most people. I've gotten used to it now, which makes me mad..
ChildoftheSky replied...
Jan. 30, 2010 at 9:26 pm
I'm sorry to hear that--stinkin' conservatives!
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