Lis / Venezuela
“When I was a kid I always felt that there was something wrong with me because I was different: I was not as feminine as my parents wanted me to be, I enjoyed activities associated to boys and had feelings about other girls that I didn’t understood. When I was 11 I discovered that lesbians existed and understood that “that is what I am”, and not an abnormal unique monster – like I felt before-.
The biggest discrimination I have felt came from my own family: My parents had always been upset with me not been the ideal girl they wanted me to be, and when I was 13, they went through my cell phone without my permission and they discovered IT, plus, my older brother sold me out about gay people I met. My mom beat me up that night, my parents were terrorized and very angry.
They took me to psychologists, psychiatrists and even a priest, searching for someone who could ‘change’ me. At that time I didn´t felt brave enough to face them, besides, I believed that any effort to make them come around would be in vain –they had me been already old, and my dad had studied for priest when he was young- they saw me like a confused and rebel little girl. They were really repressive and I was frightened that if I faced them they would throw me out of the house or something like that. So then, I started some exhausting years of lies and hiding.
During that time I lived trying to be myself outside my home – with all the paranoia that involved- and living hell inside it. I had very big fights with my parents every time they found out something they didn´t liked –and they always found out, they are parents-. Meanwhile I got really depressed and had eating disorders, but even when my friends where still kids, they were really supportive and that meant a lot to me, I truly thank them for that.
At some point I got sick of having a double life, and my parents were sick of my lying, so I had to do something I have not did before. I started to try and understand my parents side of the story. We had been in that conflict for years then, and they still haven´t throw me out. Then I realized that my parents did not understand me at all, but they still loved me, in their own way. I understood that they were afraid, they didn´t knew what homosexuality was -just knew about the bad stereotypes- they were afraid of what people would say and were afraid that the world would reject me. They were afraid that I would be unhappy. Realising that helped me prepare myself so I could make them understand that being a good person has nothing to do with being LGBTI or straight, and that I am happy the way I am, and that it will always be reject from the outsiders, but the most important thing to me (or anybody else) is having support from inside the family.
It has taken us years of many long and hard conversations, but we’ve got to a point that 10 years ago I thought was absolutely impossible. Maybe we don’t have the best relationship in the world, but I don’t have to lie and hide anymore, they know I have a girlfriend -and that she makes me happy- and that I am now an activist for the LGTBI rights, and despite they don’t love it, they respect it, and I couldn’t ask for more. I am grateful, and I know this is a life’s work, not only with my parents but with the whole world.”
Lis and her girlfriend Ilem both shared their stories with Where Love is Illegal. Read Ilem’s story here.