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.
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 fiancée, no 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.