Embracing My Authenticity + Overcoming My Fears

June 14, 2024

Gabrielle is a second-year Psychology major at NYU, facing life with resilience and courage despite Borderline Personality Disorder. Embracing my identity as a lesbian, my journey involves a love for dancing, musical theater, and the joy of caring for my two adorable baby siblings. Encountering a mental health challenge in the summer of 2021 ignited my aspiration to become a psychologist, now volunteering at crisis hotlines and interning at a mental health clinic. Join me in ending the stigma surrounding mental health as we spread kindness and bravery together.

This story took place in United States

Pledge to Take Action

Attending a religious school for most of my life taught me that being gay is a sin. After years of struggling to figure out my identity, I realized that I was not straight. Once I made this discovery, I felt alone, and like I could not tell anyone. After remaining in the closet for over five years, coming out was a huge relief.

When my friend Tess shared that she was in a dating relationship, I naively asked who the boy was. Initially, I was unaware that girls could desire a relationship with other girls. I remain grateful to Tess for openly sharing her bisexuality, because it  triggered my search for self-knowledge and insight into the LGBTQ+ community.

Growing up in an environment where heteronormativity was the unchallenged norm, my exposure to LGBTQ+ perspectives was minimal. My religious school emphasized traditional values, often leaving little room for acceptance or understanding of diverse sexual orientations. For years, I wrestled with my feelings in isolation, afraid that expressing my true self would lead to rejection and condemnation.

Tess’s openness was a revelation. Her courage in sharing her bisexuality sparked a glimmer of hope within me. It was the first time I saw someone embrace their identity with such confidence, and it planted a seed of possibility in my heart. I began to research, read stories, and engage with LGBTQ+ communities online, slowly unraveling the complexity of my own feelings.

As I delved deeper into this journey of self-discovery, I initially identified as bisexual. It felt like a stepping stone, a label that provided a semblance of clarity in a sea of confusion. However, some of my friends and family’s reactions were far from supportive. Several family members told me to choose one side as if this was a phase. Their lack of acceptance was painful, reinforcing the fear that had kept me silent for so long.

Despite the hurt, I persevered. Each conversation with supportive friends, and stories  I read about others’ journeys, fortified my resolve. I attended LGBTQ+ groups and pride events, spaces where I felt a profound sense of belonging. These experiences were transformative, allowing me to embrace my identity with increasing confidence.

Eventually, I realized that my initial identification as bisexual was a step towards a deeper truth. I came to understand that I was lesbian. This revelation brought a mix of relief and fear. The relief of finally understanding myself was profound, but the fear of further rejection lingered.

Coming out to my family was the most challenging step. The conversations were difficult, filled with tears and tense silences. Some family members struggled to accept me, clinging to their hopes that this was a phase. However, I found strength in the support of friends and the LGBTQ+ community. Their acceptance and love were a lifeline, reminding me that I was not alone.

In the end, embracing my authenticity was a journey of self-love and courage. It taught me the power of resilience and the importance of living true to oneself. My journey is a testament to the strength it takes to confront societal and familial expectations and to emerge as one’s true self.

Today, I stand proud of who I am. I am grateful for the struggles, as they have shaped me into a stronger, more compassionate person. My story is just one among many, and I hope it inspires others to embrace their true selves, regardless of the obstacles they may face. We all deserve to live authentically, to love, and to be loved for who we truly are.


Pledge to Take Action