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Embracing My True Self: A Journey as an LGBTQ+ Individual


My name is Joelle Morillo, and I am a homosexual!


I am the L in LGBTQ and am not ashamed of it. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, but that took a while for me to figure out. I think I best start at the beginning, but before that, I've been asked to make an additional introduction. I'm also the latest addition to the blog writers squad, and should you be interested in writing about anything, please feel free to email us at info@GibraltarLGBTQ.com


Back to it, I remember when I first realised that I might be a little different (for lack of a better word) than the rest of my peers (as far as I knew) when I was about 12 or 13. It happened late at night on a school trip, with everyone staying up past curfew and chatting. All the girls sat around talking about all the boys they liked the look of and who they wished would invite them to the prom.

Eventually, someone turned to me and asked, "So Joelle, who do you like the look of?"


I had never been asked this question, and up until that point, I never really thought about it. As I sat there mulling it over it, I realised I didn't find any of the boys I knew attractive. Looking around at the other girls, I did know which of them I did find attractive. This sudden realisation filled me with so much fear and dread. At this point in my life, I didn't know what a lesbian or a homosexual was! I just knew that at that moment, I immediately felt like ET -sorry if you are too young to know who that is. While listening to the others, it became clear that I was alone in feeling the way I did and didn't know what to make of it.


At this point, all I feared was exclusion. I didn't overthink it one way or the other. I convinced myself that I was just a 'late bloomer' and that these things would happen to me eventually, and that my 'like' wasn't any different to anyone else's 'like'. As time passed, it became clear that this was not the case.


I am not a stranger to LGBTQ people. My Auntie Nadine, by this time, had been with a woman for years, but I never thought of her as a woman that loved other women, just as Auntie Nadine. I had little doubt of being loved, at least in my family.


The issues came when I began to think of the following:


1. What could my future look like? - This may sound very stupid, but I worried about what growing up would be like. As far as I was concerned (remember, I was in my early teens), people are born. They go to school, get a job, find a partner, get married, have children, grow old and then die (more or less). At this time, gay marriage was illegal, so I didn't have the option of getting married, and for similar reasons, I believed I couldn't have children either. I didn't know what my life would look like or could be like, and that's quite scary for a young person.

2. Would I be accepted as part of the community? – Being a child born in the late 90s meant that if you didn't know the answer to a question, you asked Google! Unfortunately, google was not a very good help in this scenario. From the internet, people flat out deny the existence of homosexual people or believe that we are mentally ill, that we could be imprisoned and or killed in some countries, and that we seek to convert others to our ways when no one ever converted me. It's important to remember that just as there are people that support LGBTQ rights, people that hate us still exist. Some of these people may present themselves as the type of people we would look to for help and guidance, like clergypersons, educators, and politicians, and some refer to themselves as doctors despite not having studied medicine! It is straightforward for a young person to see this and internalise all the negativity because it appears to come from the person they know and trust. For a long time, I felt that something was wrong with me, that I needed fixing and that I was not worthy of love just because I was different. I had suicidal thoughts and regular anxiety and panic attacks. But the worst part was that I couldn't talk to anyone for the longest time, almost killing me.


The important thing is that I am alive, and I am alive because of all of the love and support that came from my family and friends. I love you, and thank you all for standing by me and for showering me with unconditional love. But for those whose family or friends may not be supportive, I want to let you know that you aren't alone. You are beautiful and brilliant, and the world is full of people who will love you for who you are. There is just as much love in the world. And for all the parents being LGBTQ doesn't make your child a completely different person. They are still the children you know and raised, so continue to love them as you always have. When they come home, be ready to greet them with your arms wide open because it's what every child wants.


If you are feeling depressed and or suicidal and don't feel that you have a safe person to talk to, please call Gibsams on 116123 or Childline at 58008288.

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