Enrique - Dominican Republic

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Enrique, 18 @obsidian_panther

Dominican Republic

My name is Enrique and this is my story.

I have always known that I was different, even from a really young age. Not only because I knew I liked guys but because I was an introvert which isn't really called "normal" or at least it wasn't back then.

I was raised in a religious home and it was difficult, I was taught that being gay was something wrong, something to be ashamed of, an abomination. It made me always have an internal fight with myself even then as a young kid because I wasn't normal and it made me sad because I couldn't change, I tried to "pray" the gay away but obviously, it didn't work.

At the age of 9, my mother, searching for a better life, moved to Spain. That was when everything started to go downhill. My sister started abusing me, both physically and mentally. She would often tell me how worthless I was and if I did anything that would make her mad she would beat me then starve me. It was hard because I was called worthless everywhere, at school and then when I finally escaped that hell, I came to another that was even worse.

At the age of 12, I moved to New Orleans with my grandmother. She is a religious woman but I didn't mind, after all I was ignoring my feelings toward guys. The first few months went amazingly well, I wasn't "happy" but it was ok, I was feeling better but everything went downhill when my uncle came, stuff would randomly disappear and I was always being blamed for it which then ruined everything to me.

At the age of 13, my mom married a man from Spain and I moved to Germany. At first, it was really hard because the difference was huge and people there were a lot different than what I was used to, but I slowly began to accept the fact that I didn't like girls the way I like boys, the feeling for boys was more intense, more powerful and after a few months of thinking about it I came out to my mom but she quickly told me that it was a phrase, that her only son couldn't be gay or bi, it hurt but I thought that maybe she was right.

At the age of 16, I really accepted the fact that I liked boys and that it wasn't a phrase, it was there and it was going to stay. I came out to all my friends through an Instagram post saying that I was gay, not even an hour passed before one of my friends called me and told how brave I was, that he was proud of me, it made me feel really happy that I was accepted but like everything in my life, it went downhill once again. After a few hours, my mom and sisters started to send me bible verses about homosexuality and then told me that I was going to rot in the pit of hell, that I was a disgrace.

That triggered something in me, I suffered a lot before that but I always kind of ignored the problem and drowned in books or video games but this time everything came rushing to me, everything that had happened to me and I began asking myself if everything would be better if I was gone, that's how it begun but after a week, it wasn't asking, it was telling myself that everything would be better.

In all stages of my life I was always bullied for "X" reason, which made me have low self-esteem, it was always because I just didn't fit, I didn't like what the other people liked and it made it hard for me to bond with someone. I had a couple of best friends, the first one basically kicked me in the face and stabbed me in the back which made me have trust issues and made me always be the kid in the corner.

I tried to suicide three times, after that I was taken into a mental health hospital for about two weeks. My mom only visited me twice telling me that I was selfish, asking me why I was doing this to her, that she didn't deserve it but instead of making me feel worse, something snapped within me and it gave me strength. I was going to show everyone that I could be happy while being gay at the same time, being gay doesn't make who I am, it's a part of it but it doesn't define me. After that as a punishment and since everyone accepted me there she sent me back to Dominican Republic, for the first time in my life I had friends that worried about me, my friends visited me twice while I was there and brought me gifts and more but she took it all away.

That brings me to now, I'm currently 18. I must say nothing has really gotten better, I'm still the same insecure and introvert kid that everyone thinks is weird and quiet. Most of the people that come to me and become my friends want what I have not me, I used to think I had a best friend but I'm not sure anymore, he has done some twisted things to me and I thought I was already broken beyond repair, silly me. I would explain it but is too recent, it hurts too much for me to talk about it.

Back to the point, it breaks my heart to see how people suffer just for being who they are or for loving someone. Loving shouldn't be punished, it's such a strong and wonderful feeling even if it was never given to me, just by seeing it in people's eyes it's enough no know. In Dominican Republic it was hard, because hate crimes aren't punishable as the leaders are quite homophobic and they don't even hide it. Public signs of affection between males or females can get you in jail. It was a nightmare but it didn't stop me, I kept being myself because I prefer to stand alone or in a jail room than to stand with a lot of people, because at the end of the day it would be a lie. This shouldn't be looked down upon, love should be cherished in all of its forms.

/ Enrique

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