Coming out was difficult for me. My dad is from Serbia, and in Serbia, men marry women, women stay at home, cooking, cleaning and taking care of the kids. In my home, it was mostly like that, but my mom had a job on top of taking care of everything else.
Growing up, I knew I was a little different from most people in my family but kept it a secret since I didn’t know anyone else who had feelings towards the same sex as I did. When I was about 15/16 years old, I was starting to become more and more ok with the fact that I liked girls more than guys, but I was scared to admit it.
Luckily for me, I had some friends in high school who were openly gay. I still hadn’t come out to anyone at that time, but I saw that not everyone was opposed to people being gay.
When I was 22 years old, my father kicked my sister out of the house and disowned her for dating a guy that he felt was unacceptable. This made me even more scared to tell my family.
It took me 11 years from when I had my first girlfriend, at 17, until I was 28 to say something. But with the fear I had inside me, I wasn’t able to do it face to face.
I emailed my mother, sister, and a couple of other members of my family. I was nervous about what they were going to say.
The response I got from my mother was simple, “We already knew. Love Mom.” The relief I experienced was like nothing I’ve ever felt before. After my immediate family knowing and accepting me for who I am, it was much easier to tell others.
Thankfully, no one close to me treated me any differently. I was still the same person to them and they just wanted me to be happy.
My family and friends have welcomed any partner that I have introduced to them without prejudice. My parents just want the same thing for me that they want for my brother and sister, who are straight; to treat their daughter well and be good to her.