Growing up, I struggled to define and accept who I was. Not only was I the only Deaf student in my school, but I was also trapped in the closet. Lying about who I was and suppressing my true self every day took a significant toll on my mental health.
It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I started to see peers, teachers and older role models living happy lives as openly gay people. While this was good to see, it also made me feel more desperate about my own life. Eventually I realized I couldn’t handle the pressure any more. I knew I had to come out to my family and friends or I couldn’t continue to live. Too afraid to tell my parents in person, I wrote a letter for them to find while I was out of the house. I was sure they would disown me and kick me out of the family. Luckily, that didn’t happen and my parents embraced me with love and support. This was a major turning point for me.
Writing that letter was the scariest thing I ever did, but it was the first step in being able to love myself unconditionally - for my sexuality and my Deafness. At RIT I have found communities and support systems I never would have imagined existed. I have a new outlook on life. The journey has been difficult but I’m stronger today because of it.