For me, I knew from a very young age that I was different, and after a few research, I came across the word gay. I was both relieved and anxious. I was happy that finally, things made sense, and that I wasn’t alone in the world. However, I was devasted because there was no way for me to accept this crucial part of me. I saw it as something disgusting and unlovable about me.
I hear this so often, Mohamed, and your story is so important. With every big change we experience a sense of loss along with it. It means letting go of values that we were taught and some we incorporated without even realizing it.
As I speak to young people (and some not young at all), what is so difficult is to explain to someone struggling with this conflict, is the sense of peace that comes with this acceptance.
One of my favorite expressions is that when contemplating big decisions, we magnify the negative and minimize the positive. We can always see so many reasons not to do something, and we can visualize that brighter future or imagine what it might feel like.
But your message is not only important for men and women contemplating this decision. The only thing that will change the minds who discriminate against us is when they can hear our stories, they can hear what pain they cause us to experience. We must say, “Here is how what you say/believe hurts me.”
Quoting studies and statistics never changes minds.