Dedication: I dedicate this story to all the other girls that are struggling with their identity and especially the ones that come from immigrant parents, it's not always easy, but it's worth the fight!
I was five years old when I first realized I was gay. Being the eldest daughter of immigrant parents, there were many things I wasn’t allowed to do and experience. I wasn’t able to go out with friends, watch certain shows or movies, listen to certain music, etc. I was always expected to got straight to school and straight back home to begin my daily chores and study. I already had a feeling that coming out was not an option for me until I was able to safely move out and live on my own. As I grew older, my fear and self-hatred in regard to being part of the LGBTQ+ community grew immensely. It wasn’t until I was in high school when I allowed myself to give in to my true identity. I remember being so scared of falling in love with my best friend, we both shared the same feelings towards each other but the only difference was that she was already out to her family and accepted. I, on the other hand, was still so deep in the closet and didn’t know how to find my way out. My first few high school relationships always ended with the same excuses. I was scared. Scared of falling so deeply in love that would lead to a painful breakup, scared of being found out, scared of not being good enough. Just plain scared. It was a miserable feeling having to hide who I was because of my family’s beliefs. It led to a lot of self-conflicting views of who I was and who I should be, thus I was never truly happy. Then came the day when I moved across the country for college. Within the first semester, I felt myself become who I’ve always wanted to be. I was more comfortable in my own skin and even worked up the nerve to come out to close friends from college. Being back home for the holidays always brings me down because it’ll always be the same here. With that comes an even deeper appreciation for my friends and being able to go to college away from home and all its restricting limitations. I do believe it will get better someday and us minorities will no longer have to live in fear or make ourselves smaller in order to please our elders. Until then, I will continue to live within the anonymity that comes with living in a big city and enjoy my freedom while I have it!