I Was Forced to Come Out of the Closet When I Was 16

But this is not a sad story.

Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

We were kissing on a friend’s bed.

She lifted her head and asked me, “Is it okay if I leave you a hickey?”

I said no because my parents would see it.

We’d been dating for exactly one month, but neither of our parents knew. Our friends knew, and anyone who saw us holding hands in the school hallway knew, but neither of us was ready to come out.

She was — is — bisexual, but I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t even know I liked girls until a couple of months before we started dating.

If my parents saw a hickey on my neck, I had no idea how they’d react.

Anyway, the kissing continued. Eventually, she lowered her head and started kissing my neck, and a few moments later she met my eyes, and with fake worry, she said she’d “accidentally” left hickeys.

My eyes widened, and I got up to look in the mirror. Sure enough, two dark marks were in visible spots on my neck.

Hours later, we were in her room. She asked me if I was angry with her, and do you know what I did? I kissed her.

I was pissed, I was scared, I was worried, but I kissed her.

Eventually, my parents came to pick me up. To this day, my dad knows nothing about those hickeys, but my mom saw them once we got home.

She asked me what was on my neck, and I made up a lie about how I got bruised. I don’t know why I thought she’d believe it.

Later, she asked to talk to me, and she asked me who’d given me those hickeys.

I don’t know what else she or I said. The only thing I remember is that I launched myself into her arms and cried.

She told me everything was okay.

My mom asked me to tell my dad.

Not about the hickeys — she helped me hide those — but about the girl I was dating. She told me it was a secret she couldn’t keep from him, but she also knew she couldn’t be the one to tell him.

I was terrified, and not even close to being ready, but it was the right thing to do, so I did.

My dad was furious and asked a lot of questions. I don’t remember much of what he said, but I do remember what happened next.

He told me to break up with her.

I was crying and heartbroken, but I went to the bathroom upstairs — the only place I could get some privacy, and I called her.

“We can’t do this anymore,” I told her, sobbing.

I wasn’t crying because I didn’t want to lose her, but because my dad didn’t support me as my mom did. (To this day, I wonder how he would’ve reacted if I told him I was dating a guy.)

I knew my mom wasn’t okay with me dating a girl, but she was there for me anyway.

“Why? What happened?” she said.

I told her what happened. Never once did I blame her. She apologized over and over again and said it was her fault, but I said it wasn’t.

“It’s my fault too,” I said.

But that was a lie. Yes, I let her kiss my neck, but I’d trusted her not to leave marks. I believed she would listen to me because… why wouldn’t she?

Even then, I was trying to make her feel better. I’d been the one she’d practically forced to come out by disrespecting my wishes, but I pretended it wasn’t all on her.

She was my first girlfriend, the first person I’d ever been in a relationship with, and I didn’t want to ruin us.

I didn’t break up with her this day.

At this time, my entire family of six were sharing a room because we couldn’t afford a house.

The next morning, I woke up because I heard my dad saying, “Where’s Itxy’s phone?”

My eyes widened because I knew he’d go through my messages. Luckily, I’d slept with my phone beside me, listening to music.

I quickly and discreetly hid my head under my blanket and unlocked my phone. Moving just enough so he wouldn’t notice I was awake, I erased my messages with her, my group chats, and texts with my friends, which held conversations about her too.

When I pretended to wake up moments later, I gave him my phone.

My dad didn’t talk to me after that, but it didn’t go on for long.

He would only say one thing to me every day after school. “Did you break up with her?”

When I said no, it was back to no talking. This went on for three days because on the third day I told him I’d broken up with her.

In reality, we’d be in a relationship for about another month. But it was barely a relationship, and I was always sad.

I genuinely don’t remember how my dad and I got back to talking afterward. I don’t know how we managed to forget everything and not bring it up again.

Ever.

She did the heart-breaking part.

But the truth is, I wasn’t heartbroken. I tried to be because it was my first relationship, and I felt like I should’ve been, but I wasn’t.

I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t happy or relieved either. Mostly, I felt nothing.

I’m not angry with her (anymore).

That time has passed, and it doesn’t matter anymore. I’m different now — stronger, outspoken, assertive.

Actually, I take that back.

This story does matter, but not because it’s a sad one. It’s a memory I can look back at and remember never to be that girl again.

I’m not ashamed or disappointed in who I was because I didn’t know any better. Being angry with myself would be like getting angry with a two-year-old who takes a toy from the store without telling anyone. They don’t know any better.

I didn’t stand up for myself, and I didn’t say I was angry because I didn’t want to cause any problems. But now I know to never be that person again — to not take shit from anyone and to be honest about how I feel.

I’m glad all this happened because it helped carve me into the person I am today. And I think I’m pretty fucking great — flaws and all.

Everything sucked at that moment, but I’m glad it all happened. I’m proud of myself for getting through it and for learning from it.

What happened with my family?

After everything had happened and was “forgotten,” we didn’t talk about it. We didn’t talk about how I liked girls, and no one asked me how I felt.

My dad had even banned my sisters and me from watching Glee because there were queer characters in it — but he never admitted that was the reason.

My parents continued to say stuff about future boyfriends and husbands, and it hurt. I won’t lie and say it didn’t.

But when I was nineteen, I officially came out to my parents.

My mom hugged me but didn’t say much. My dad wrapped his arms around me and said, “I still think it’s a phase.”

That made my blood boil, but at least I was out. And he still talked to me. Maybe he didn’t approve, but he didn’t have that same angry reaction he’d had when I was sixteen.

I was out of the closet, but I didn’t feel okay with my sexuality around my parents. I still felt wrong somehow.

I didn’t feel relaxed unless I was with my sisters — who’d never given a crap about my sexuality — or my friends.

But it’s true what they say about coming out. It gets better.

I’m so comfortable about my sexuality around my parents now. My dad asks me questions about the LGBTQIA+ community, and both my parents say the words “partner” or “girlfriend” when referring to whom I’m with in the future.

They even make gay jokes.

Years ago, before I realized I liked girls, my mom said ew when she saw two girls kissing on “Pretty Little Liars.” Now she lets me know that the new Batwoman is a lesbian character and helps me pick out outfits for Pride.

They could care less about my sexuality, and it’s hard to believe they ever did.

A message to you

To anyone afraid of coming out to their parents, I don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but I know you’ll be okay no matter what.

To anyone who has come out, but their parents aren’t one-hundred percent behind them, it gets better.

To anyone who came out to their parents and it went badly, I’m so sorry. I can’t say anything that will fix that but know that there’s an entire community that loves and supports you. It might not replace your parents, but it’s essential you know you’re not alone.

Crisis intervention/suicide prevention for the LGBT community

Written by

23. Tips on creativity, writing, and life. Get your free “Before-You-Publish” Checklist here → http://bit.ly/2MAnxtg

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store