Friday, April 3, 2015

OH's STORY

Name: Oh
Years in Girl Scouting: 7 years
Roles in Girl Scouting: Girl member, camp staff
Location: Beijing, China

I identify as a lesbian.  An androgynous, chapstick lesbian, if you want to get more specific.

I knew I was attracted to women starting in elementary school. I had a crush on a friend of mine. Her name was Cassie and I always got butterflies around her.  I was really confused at that age. I wasn't sure if what I was feeling was ok. My parents were (and are) old school Hispanics. We went to church every Sunday. Exposure to anything gay/lesbian was really not part of my childhood.

My first kiss was at Girl Scout camp at age 14. That year, I told my mother that I was bisexual. It wasn't until I was 18 that I was like, "Mom, look, I'm a lesbian."

Coming out to my mom was actually a nightmare. My brother threw me under the bus because he was mad at me. My mom looked at me and asked, "Is this true, do you like girls?" I responded, "Yes, I do." Then came the tears, the screaming, the Bible versus. My mother was so furious that she then threw the actual Bible at me.
After that, my mom and I didn't speak about me being a lesbian until I had my first girlfriend. It was my junior year of high school and I was 16. My mom considered Rexie to be my friend. Perhaps she did know that we were dating but initially chose not to believe it, I guess.

For some reason, it seems like the older generation of Puerto Ricans are still living in a perfect, heteronormative world of men and women. There are a lot of Christians and Catholics in my family, so they are not huge fans of gays/lesbians. I actually have a cousin who came out before me several years ago. My grandmother disowned her. It was quite ruthless of her. Now, my family is more ok with our lifestyles. I think they are realizing that "love is love." My dad is the only person I do not talk to about my love life. He's still in the, "I-will-never-be-ok-with-having-a-lesbian-daughter" phase. It makes me laugh because I have a younger sister who is a lesbian, as well, so now he has two lesbian daughters....

My first kiss at camp was my most pivotal experience. It was then that I knew for sure that I really had a strong physical connection with girls. I felt like it was ok for me to be gay because I wasn't the only one. Nobody judged me because of my sexual preference. Working with staff who were just like me made me feel more comfortable with who I was. I think working at Girl Scout camp was the best thing for me.


I was completely in love at two points in my life. I was engaged for two years when I was 19. That relationship did not work because of distance and uncertainty, which was unfortunate. My second love completely crushed my heart when she was deployed to Afghanistan. I am currently single and have been for over two years.

Now I find myself more attracted to hard working women, independent women. It shows when a woman can hold her own and is not co-dependent. I'd like to be with an adventurous and athletic woman, one who doesn't mind a little competition and who has witty humor. I'm hoping to find someone who is able to travel with me since I never know where I'm going to be next in the military.

Once "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was repealed, I was able to come out at work. I could tell anyone and everyone, though I was still a bit skeptical. Even today, I don't feel comfortable telling everyone I work with or for, but I am mostly "out and proud." The first three years of my service, I did have to keep my sexual orientation a secret. When I talked about my fiancéeno name was ever given.

Since I cut my hair, people do ask me, "Why don't you put on a dress or a skirt?" or "Why don't you wear heels now and again?" or my favorite line, "Why don't you carry a purse?" Apparently I need all those things to be considered a woman.