Dee from the U.S.

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I've grown up in deep south suburbs of Chicago. You could easily walk to a cornfield if you wanted to. Hell, if you were really brave, you could try walking through one at night.

I identify as a gay man and I think I knew I was gay since I was 5 years old. I'm also the 4th child out of 6. My mom had 3 children with one, then met my dad and the rest of us. I was born August 25th of 1986. That aside, growing up in area which is mostly conservative with a mixture of Republican. Seriously, it was just yesterday I saw the confederate flag on a license plate at a gas station. This day and year. I swear it has to be like a superpower for those who resist change, but at the same time I almost get it. There's a fear losing something they hold dear, whatever that might be.

Would I say there are hate crimes in the area? Moderately. Compared to what goes on around the world, I suppose it would be very low but not nonexistent. I had a transgender friend for example. This was maybe around 2011/2012 when she was attending Crete-Monee High. What she went through, well, it isn't my story to tell, but a lot of people gave her a hard time. She couldn't dress is in the girls locker room, and she couldn't dress in the boys. A rock and a hard place. Somehow she made it. She still graduated, went to prom to show there was no way she would ever be beaten, and now lives on her own, looking for her Prince Charming.

I came out when I was 15 to my dad, and that didn't go so well. Long story short, even to this day 15 years later he is still stuck in his ways. To be fair, at least he's somewhat trying. For most of the family, not so well either, but that's OK!

I have a younger sister who claims to be bisexual, but she the kind of person that could flip a switch easily. Long story short, she wrote the word 'Fag' on one my valued DVDs. Of course she got away with, but besides that, she and I no longer speak for various reasons. But that wasn't the worst thing that ever happened to me.

The worst thing that ever happened to me was back in February 2008 when I was living with my eldest sister Tanya in Cedar Lake. Now I don't want to waste any ones times with a crazy long story, so I'll be brief. Yes I was already out to everyone and yes I was still very happy there. For many reasons. But, my nephew was gay and he was in the closet. One day my sister found out about his sexuality and there's no easy way to say this, she accused me of having sex with my nephew and that I made him gay. Obviously a lie, but that night I left.

I cried for two days straight.

A lot of things happened since then. I was kind of a gypsy after that, going from one place to another. There was a period of isolation and starvation, but lets not forget that I am here telling my story. I survived.

In all honestly, I found someone. Or should I say he found me. He came to me at one of the darkest moments of my life. We've been dating for 5 years. Don't get me wrong, it hasn't always been sunshine and rainbows. I think the reason why we are still together to this day is, we push each other out of our comfort zones. Keyword: push. Not: Shove.

I found wattpad, I started to read and it wasn't long until I started to write. To provide hope for any young LGBTQ+ out there who feel alone and have very little to hope for. Believe me, I was there, and there are so many who have been there as well. So many of us still standing. The world changing and becoming easier, though it may never be easy. For anyone. LGBTQ+ or not, but the rewards sure are worth it.

My nephew is currently living out his own, though we rarely talk anymore, he has a boyfriend and is living a better life.

For every person out there in the LGBTQ+ community who falls in love, stays true to themselves, that is one tiny little victory for the rest of us. Thankfully, we've been getting a lot of those.

I wont hide who I am. Even my mom was getting back spasms, she said Satan was attacking her because her son (me) is a homosexual. But that would never get me to change who I am. Nor should you because YOU are awesome!

Yours truly,

Dee Jordan

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