The whole time I was growing up my sister struggled with depression, even to the point where she attempted to take her life a few times, or admitted herself to be monitored because she wasn't feeling mentally stable. During her time in Middle school and High School she was very much bullied for a lot of things that very much impacted her mental state, and most of all, didn't help encourage her at all.
|Her High School Graduation - Only time in a dress|
Fast Forward about 7 years.
My sister had been spending a lot of time online talking with friends she met on the computer. I had a feeling, a hunch, but with the way we were raised, I wasn't about to say anything, let alone, heaven forbid ASK her! So I kept it to myself. We had slowly begun to develop a bit more of a relationship, hanging out, not wanting to completely kill one another, able to talk and get along for longer periods of time.
I was cleaning my room, my sister and I were the only ones home, and she was downstairs on the computer. I took some things down into the basement where she was and she told me she wanted to talk. I remember instantly starting to cry. I knew what she was going to say.
"Karen, I'm Gay. You can't tell anyone right now, I'm just not ready, I'll do it when I'm ready" (Or something to that extent.....I think I briefly blacked out immediately after hearing the word "Gay"). The tears burned on my cheeks, and I dropped what I had in my hands and ran as fast as I could upstairs to my room, locking the door and throwing myself on my bed in deep, heaving sobs!
I thought initially that my thoughts had made her gay. That it was my fault. I did this to her because I thought it!
We didn't talk for a while after that. I needed time, and afterall, I wasn't supposed to tell anyone.
With that request I had a tough time. This was the first time when anorexia entered my life, when I briefly began cutting myself and the suicidal thoughts entered my mind. I didn't know what to do with this information. I couldn't tell anyone. The religious community we grew up in surely wouldn't welcome my sister after this news got out. What would our parents say, or do? I couldn't even tell my friends, God only knows what they'd think of me too! Plus, I had NO information or anything to stand up for my sister if they should say something cruel about her.
At the time I didn't agree with what she had told me. It made a lot of sense, and I knew she was, but with our religious background and not knowing anything else I disagreed with her and began to separate myself. I just couldn't deal with it. I just kept repeating to myself "Love the sinner, hate the sin. She's my sister on top of everything".
Eventually she told my parents and she told them that I already knew and had been keeping it a secret. They were upset about both pieces of information.
|Garden of the Gods - Colorado|
I am an ally for Same sex couples receiving the same rights and benefits that I am able to receive with my husband. Why shouldn't they?
My sister and sister-in-law are a wonderful, strong couple. Sure, they have disagreements like any couple, who doesn't?! But they've been committed to one another far longer than some heterosexual couples!
|Me, Sister, Husband|
I'm so grateful that my boys have the opportunity to be exposed to something other than a heterosexual couple. They're able to see love in different forms and that it's still no different. They are loved, and spoiled and doted on by their aunties. In fact, we've let our wishes be known that if anything were to happen to Everett and I that my sister and sister-in-law would take over caring for our boys, because they're the only ones that have agreed to do so in the manner that we would like them to be raised. And they've agreed to take on the challenge, should anything happen.
My boys will see that love is love, no matter who it's between. Whether it's a relationship love, a friendship love or a family love. Hopefully they will be able to encourage and change their generation and those they come into contact with in the future as they grow up.
|Photo posted on Medela Facebook Page|
|Sister, Sister-in-law and my oldest son|
My sister is happy, sure she struggles with depression still, but that's not something that goes away. She's in a strong, committed relationship where she'd love to get married, but can't, and if she does, still won't receive the rights that all other couples are able to get. I'm proud of my sister, she's a strong, independent woman who has stood up to those that were mean to her, if not physically, emotionally and I believe she's come out on top. She's a fighter and I couldn't be more proud to be her sister, and her #1 supporter and ally.
I love you sister, and I hope I get to see you get legally married some day. You deserve it!
In addition, here are some interesting facts on the acceptance and limitations facing those in same sex relationships: (Information from - Human Rights Campaign)
- 15 States and D.C allow hospital visitations to those in same sex marriages
- 16 States and D.C. prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. (only 16!)
- 18 States and D.C. allow second parent adoption for same sex couples who have a child
- Only 9 States have same sex couples that have SUCCESSFULLY petitioned for second parent adoption
- 16 States an D.C. prohibit discrimination in the work place based on sexual orientation and sexual identity.
- There are some states where people can get fired from their job just for being Gay.