Black History Month Project: Personal Stories from Young Black Gay Americans

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“Stepping Out”

Well, I always knew I was “different”. I say “different” because at that age I didn’t know what gay or lesbian was. My family or parents don’t know about when I played house in kindergarten, I always played the “daddy” role. At 12, I knew what I was feeling and now I could put a name to it. At that time I was bisexual or for a better understanding of me, confused. Confused because of how I was raised in a Baptist religion setting and I was taught that this feelings that I was having was not right; a sin. I decided at age 13 that I would tell my mother and stepfather that I liked girls. I guess that was the last straw for them. The only reason I came out to them is because I didn’t want someone else to see me with my girlfriend and tell my mother. Once the words came out of my mouth to someone other than my friends, I felt free. That same night my mother and stepfather kicked me out after referring to the bible several times. My father’s parents took me in and I will forever be grateful for them.

Getting kicked out and not talking to my mother and her family was hard for me because that was all that I was used to so it took me a while to adjust but I did. My freshman year of high school was kind of hard cause I was the only openly gay student at L. W. Higgins during that year that was so young. They had a few seniors but I was a freshman. I had plenty of girlfriends in high school and went through plenty of the picking at and looking at me like I had a disease. I didn’t care and still don’t. I am going to be who I am. The only trouble I got into at school was kissing and hold hands with my girlfriend at the time but I wasn’t going to let you try to stop me and you didn’t even try to stop the straight couples!

When my senior year came around everyone wanted to be gay cause it was the “cool thing to be”. After graduation I went to the U.S. Navy for a while with a medical discharge. The military at that time was under the don’t ask don’t tell policy so it wasn’t mentioned and I didn’t force the issue. After my military experience, which was great, I came back to New Orleans. My experience as an African American lesbian in America has not been a bad one but it is still not as accepting as it should be. It shouldn’t matter whether I am attracted to males or females. I am still a human being and until the world starts treating all humans equal being gay or a lesbian will always be an issue. Being black is already an issue and that is not going away just like me being a lesbian. Now that I am 27 years old and I have been out and proud for 14 years. I haven’t had many issues with being who I am other than ignorant, young-minded people but I am a proud African American lesbian and I hope my story will help more youth be true to themselves. WORLD GET OVER IT ALL!

 -@addtigger

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Aryka Randall is a media mogul in the making from San Diego, California. After relocating to Louisiana in 2004, Randall became active in her local LGBTQ community. Randall was recently featured on Go Magazines annual ‘100 Women We Love‘ issue along with Tagg Magazine, the Dinah Shore Blog, and a number of other LGBT publications for her work in the LGBT community

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