A global support network for the LGBTIQ+ community

February 18, 2018

Robert

I did not know I was different!

I did not know I was different!

Many stories start “I always knew I was different” I had to be told and taught by life that I was different.

My mother is from Jamaica my father is from Canada I was born in Toronto. I grew up wanting to be an artist to paint and sing and be creative, which in my family was embraced and the norm. All of my sibling are creative artistic and outside the box thinking individuals. So I fit in. Going to school I was fortunate to have teachers who encouraged my creativity my love for art and dress up. It wasn't until the 2nd grade when children started to ask questions and make comments about my only having female friends and playing with dolls not playing sports. Calling me ‘gay’ and instead of ‘tomboy’ ‘tomgirl’. But again I still didn't understand, I played with dolls with my cousins and no family members said anything (My Jamaican family at that).

It wasn't until 11 or 12 when I started to have a vague understanding of what I was feeling and when I started to really feel as though I didn't belong anywhere. I didn't identify with anyone; light skinned but not mixed, Jamaican and Canadian, effeminate unknowingly so, so artsy it hurt. And I could not pin point why I truly began to feel I didn't fit in. In hindsight I realize my peers where starting to date and talk about sex I was not dating and had nothing to contribute to conversations about sex and I began to suppress and feel more and more alone.

By this point I was in an arts program in high school and there where students male and female ‘coming out’ not without some ridicule. I even had friends ask me “are you gay” “its ok” to which I always replied “No”. Looking back life and loved ones where trying to help me be my self, create a safe place. But I was afraid and had so suppressed the idea of being gay that I truly didn't believe I was. Gay to me was white, gay to me was HIV/AIDS, I was also becoming painfully aware of how Jamaicans viewed homosexuality.

Unlike many African-American and Jamaican families I was not raised in a strictly religious house hold I entered the ‘Pentecostal Church’ at 18 and quickly began praying and fasting for my ‘deliverance’ and trying to further suppress what I felt and who I was.

I began living in secret and hiding. But the foundation of how I was raised still some how resonated in the midst of all the confusion and convoluted ideas the world had put on me.

So I started to live my life and own who I am ever growing evolving and learning.

Stepping into my truth, I could stand on a mountain top and proclaim it or walk down the street in silence. Its for me and no one else, living in, owning my truth resonates with the world around me and pieces start to fit together and I begin to belong.

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