The next piece of our Born this way series is by Reni. Read the others' stories as well and find the series summary HERE.
Reni (2), 1996
This picture was taken on my second birthday with my parents and my waterlily (!) cake – which was the most moderate cake I had around that time, and it seemed to be completely ordinary among the lambs, hens and chickens placed into the hens in a masterful way. I didn’t find too many family pictures to choose from. Since I was three, we haven’t taken any pictures together, and I think that we won’t anymore. That blue dress with the duck was my favorite for a long time (so was my mom’s), and as I wasn’t growing fast even back then, I probably wore it at the age of five as well. Don’t worry, now I am somewhat taller. I wore many similar dresses later (without ducks), which were very much liked both by my mom and the boys – except for me. It came as no surprise that my future ripped and baggy pants were dear only to me.
Imagine a village of 900 where attending the mass is the mandatory program on Sundays, alcoholism is not considered a disorder, abusive relationships can be ignored, but one should definitely find a husband before the age of 25. In this place, being gay is a taboo and shameful, while tolerance is unknown.
When I was six, I decided that once I turn eighteen I would move away. At the age of fourteen, this was somewhat achieved since I “ended up in the town” as people used to call it back home, and at the age of 21, I managed to reach the distance of 500 kms. Now I volunteer at an organization for abused women, and I am a member of the lesbian community where our goal is to make possible for everyone to wear what is comfortable for them. (I hope, though, that you all know that qLit does not wish to give you fashion tips.)
All of this becomes relevant for my coming out, because this way you can understand that you don’t have to come from a perfect environment in order to live in a supportive community. I think that I didn’t even have a coming out in the traditional sense: it was normal for me to start dating girls.
Regardless of how obvious it was for me, I have lost some of my closest relatives because of it. Living with this was not easy… It took three years for my mom – while I was explaining to her on the phone how to take a sharp picture of the above photograph – to ask me “how my girlfriend was”. I hope that someday my dad will ask me the same, and not mourn over what he would tell the priest.
My best friend, for instance, knew a lot sooner what the situation was with me than I did. When I told her, she said: “finally!” I haven’t lost any of my friends, and I think that I made my colleagues more open. I am thankful and grateful to all my friends and all my lovers who came and/or are present in my life.
I am happy now. I have been hurt quite a lot, but I received more comfort from nice people, honest friends, understanding partners and a lot of love. Moreover, now I actually have to fight others for those pants.
So, my dear friend before/after/in the process of your coming out, trust me, I know exactly the burden you are carrying. What matters is how you want to use it, where you are heading and where you arrive with it – may it be 500 kms away or the next room.
Translated by Blanka Barabás
The project is a “steal with pride” movement, we aspire to create something similar to this blog, in qLit-style: https://borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com