Disclosing Your HIV Status

"I remember hearing about HIV on TV, but my family was certainly not talking about it, and High School was not talking about it. I knew the basics, but didn’t have a firm understanding of the disease as a whole. I dropped out of high school, and when I turned 18 I moved to New York. When I got off the plane I felt liberated and free. I got into a relationship and I remember a particular night where I felt like I needed to talk about HIV with the guy I was dating, but I was mortified. I didn’t know how to talk about it. Instead of figuring it out, I decided to not talk about it. I remember thinking that if I made him feel a certain way, he would think that I don’t love him. At no point did I say I should ask him, because I care about myself. I let fear stop that conversation from every happening."

"Over time it got easier each day. I still got left on dates, but I started moving past that. I started setting goals and seeing my value. I knew the hardest part about finding myself was going to be challenging myself. I finally looked into the mirror and said 'yes, HIV looks like me.' It was so liberating, I lived my truth, and I lived without hating myself. I just started living. My love story involves me forgetting to love myself. Long before we can talk about same-sex marriage, or happy and healthy relationships, we have to talk about a healthy relationship with ourselves and what loving ourself truly means."

"I wanted to talk about my HIV status with the same level of casualness that I talk about the color of my hair. Overtime I realize I could get a head of the fear. By disclosing my status it meant that I could own my truth."

"My situation came from someone who was not brave enough to disclose their status, and I lived in a ‘well I don’t sleep with guys who are positive, and so if I don’t know then it must not be an issue’ type of world. That is ignorance."

 

The Most Popular Guy in School

"I did gymnastics for a while, so my dad encouraged me to get into cheerleading. I cheered for an all-star team and then cheered in college. There is a stigma around men cheerleading, but not all people to who cheerlead are gay. Some people think gay means walking around in heels, dressing in drag, and wearing makeup. That was my first impression of being gay from watching TV and movies. That is not what it is like out in the real world."

Majoring in Women and Gender Studies

"My mom didn't want to accept the fact that her son was gay. When I told my dad, it was a huge episode, My dad turned to my brothers and sisters and said 'your brother is a faggot' when they walked in the house. I was so young and people kept telling me it was a phase. It took time for my family, but those who were able to progress, progressed."

Allyship

"This community is very accepting of people, and as a woman of color in an interracial experience and they understand that love mentality and openness. I've always been an ally at heart, and I am a firm believer that no matter how a person identifies or loves, they should be treated as people."

Prescription for Testosterone

"I've come out a few times. When I was 12, I came out as bisexual, and told my mom I liked girls. I wanted to give both myself and my parents hope that I can still lead a heteronormative life. A year later I came out as a lesbian. Then, when I moved onto college, I told my mom I was non-binary trans. Non-binary is a huge umbrella term, and there are a lot of identities that lie under non-binary. I identify as gender queer, it basically just means that I don't identify as male or female, but I am somewhere on the spectrum....I am more on the male side, which is why I am transitioning, but it just means I am not any type of binary gender."

Coming Out at Notre Dame

"The fact that I did feel so 100% comfortable being myself in my High School was huge for me and definitely influenced me in my advocacy. The way I got involved in my advocacy was through going to school in Notre Dame. I was one of the only out girls in my class, and it was kind of significant to be the only freshman girl who felt comfortable coming out. There was a group call the Core Counsel and they advised the administration on LGBTQ affairs, and I was pretty much pushed to be on that counsel since I was the only out girl at that time. I can definitely say that because I spent the last 4 years in an environment where it was not a big deal to be out, it helped lead me down that path."

Former Politician Barney Frank on Being Jewish and Gay

"I have seen a lot of commonality between being Jewish and being gay. In the evolution, and the end of anti-semitism in America, we have seen the elimination of anti-semitism as an obstacle to peoples professional advancement. We no longer have to have Jewish law firms, Jewish hospitals, etc. Jews are statistically now overrepresented in Congress, as opposed to what it was when I was first there. I think the arc of the major prejudice is more similar between Jews and LGBT people than between either of us and race. Race is harder."

Realizing Her Sexuality in Middle School

"I am out on Facebook, but you don't usually friend your bosses on Facebook. I'm not open with my sexuality to places I've applied to work. I've had colleagues say things that are a little 'iffy,' and I just don't respond and I don't mention my sexuality. I've had colleagues say 'don't get married to a man who treats you like this, or like this,' and in my mind that won't be a problem, but I can't tell them it is because of my sexuality."

Transgender and Gender Expansive Healthcare

"I just finished my Masters in biomedical visualization which is a super fancy term for medical illustration. My thesis work was related to transgender and gender expansive healthcare. Since my partner is a transman, I kind of wanted to know what was going to happen to his body. It is really hard to find information that is accessible for a non-medical audience, or is not just anecdotal evidence from people who have already transitioned, so that is why I created the work I did about visuals for transitioning."

 

Not Coming Out Can Make Your Parents Upset

"When I came out to my family, I came out to my mom and my sisters at the same time. My mom cried, but what surprised me was the fact that she didn’t cry because I was gay or, because she thought that I was going to go to hell for being gay...she actually cried because she was upset that it took me so long to come out to her. She was upset that I waited until I was already 21 and out already out on my own. I guess she would have wanted to know when I was younger."

Presenting as Masculine

"I knew from an early age that I was a lesbian, but as I entered college this year, I started playing more with the idea that I was transgender. I pushed myself to play with that idea and see if I felt okay with presenting myself as more masculine. So far it has been pretty good."

The Most Conservative Part of California

"I want to teach people that there is no difference between a same sex/gender couple and any other, and that will be accomplished by living my life in the open and not hiding because I’m scared. If I’m afraid to be myself – If I’m afraid to hold my boyfriend’s hand – that tells people that I think there is something wrong with me."