Ana, 18, Blauvelt, NY

In a way, I was pissed off to even have to come out. I think it’s stupid. Heterosexual people don’t have to come out as straight.

And after I told my family I was gay in eighth grade, my dad didn’t talk to me for two or three years. He picked me up at school and we didn’t talk. I’d wake up and say good morning, then once in a while he’d say good morning back. But usually nothing.

I was born in Mexico, and we came here when I was 7. My family’s very Catholic, but they work with a lot of gay families, so I always thought they’d be fine with it. I was wrong, clearly.

When I turned 18, I started telling my dad again. My mom told him, “This is your daughter, she’s not gonna change” and started making my dad talk to me. The only reason I told him again was my parents have a rule: No dating until you’re 18. So I told him I had a girlfriend and wanted to be honest with him.

Was Claire my first girlfriend? Bullshit. I dated people, and I hooked up with people, but my parents weren’t aware of it before. They’ve always seen me as the good kid, compared to my two sisters. They think I’m a goodie two-shoes.

But dating is kind of a weird word for me. I think dating is no good. I’d always been a let’s-just-have-fun kind of person until I met Claire.

I met Claire at Common Threads about a year ago. I didn’t really know who she was, and my then-really good friend A was interested in Claire, so I was helping my friend get with her. But three or four weeks after Common Threads, I met up with Claire again and started talking to her, and slowly an attraction happened.

When I asked Claire to prom, me and A ended up not being friends anymore, and have gotten into a lot of physical fights. My friend was a very special person to me, but I’m not exactly sad about it. You can’t get held up on things. Grudges aren’t exactly the best thing to hold. I can’t help her if she can’t get over it.

Claire’s still in high school, but that’s not weird for me. I think age is just a number. She’s been through a lot. She’s learned to grow up and be independent.

Like me, Claire’s very eco-friendly. We both care a lot about nature. She’s a vegetarian. My parents won’t allow it but when I move out, I can finally be a vegetarian.

I found a really great place in Nyack I want to move in with friends in the summer. Nyack’s like gaytown. Very gay and hippie. I’m really excited.

I don’t think telling my parents right now that I have plans to move out would be the best idea. I wanted to go to a four-year college but my mom really wanted me to stay close because my father’s sick, so I went to Rockland Community College. I don’t think my father has a clue that I stayed home for him.

For me, family does come first. I want to go to Smith or Bard after next year. But two things are stopping me: money and needing to be close to home. Maybe if I was given a scholarship, I would go to one of those schools though.

I’m going to be at RCC for another year. I was not looking forward to coming here at all, but I got involved with lots of things. I’m on student government and am president of the Gay-Straight Alliance. Now I don’t love it, but I definitely don’t hate it.

Not to brag, but I have that leadership thing. I think it’s because I grew up in a family of four women and one guy. I was always very strong-minded and open-minded. My grandmother always said that just because you’re a woman, that shouldn’t limit you in any way.

As told to Diana Scholl.
Photo by Laurel Golio, taken in Stony Point, NY, 2011
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