Being different should be the best part of you
Lizia Coetzee (Li Grey), 23 | My Lesbian Life #IamELLA
Business Manager, Pretoria, South Africa
I was 18 when I first came out to my parents as a lesbian. It wasn’t as difficult, because I knew they suspected it somehow. My dad patiently sat at the table in our house by the balcony pretending to do something else, but he was just trying to make me less nervous and give me enough time to relax and tell him in my own time. I think we must have sat there for almost 30 minutes. I went through half a pack of cigarettes and then I took a deep breath and said: “So dad, you know I have someone in my life now. It is a woman and you know her.” He looked up for the first time, leaving his pretend-work, and just said, well she is a great girl and I hope you are happy together.
From that point on he was just like any other father, trying to protect his daughter from getting hurt. It was my first love. We were together for 3 years and then we broke up. I just hope with whoever is next, my dad will call her my girlfriend and not my friend.
My mother always knew, I never really came out to her or my brother. They always teased me and then one day it was just all true. My mom actually tells people that she has a beautiful gay daughter and that she is extremely proud of me. It took her a while though. She wasn’t really happy with all of it at first, but she has come around to it now and acknowledges it fully.
With her I am not afraid to say things like “oh, look, that girl is extremely hot.” and “what am I going to do about my horrible dancing someday when I get married?” She jokes with me and we have a good laugh sometimes.
My brother always thought it was a phase, but in his own time he believes now that it is not a choice. It is how you are born. I am grateful for the friends that changed his opinion, because it is hard trying to explain it over and over again to someone who doesn’t want to understand.
I surround myself with supportive people and people who I feel comfortable with. You should be able to be yourself at all times and be proud of who you are. Surrounding yourself with people who love you for who you are and not who they want you to be.
You should take your time finding yourself and learn how to be comfortable in your own skin. This takes a lot of time and patience. Being different should be the best part of you. Once you love yourself for who you are, no one will be able to confuse you and coming out every time becomes much easier. Remember it takes a massive amount of strength and braveness to tell strangers that you are gay all the time, you should take pride in the fact that you are different and that no one will ever be able to change that.
Do you dance crazy when no one is looking?
Yes, I do. I cannot dance to save my life so no one should ever have to go through the painful experience of watching me. I got the voice, but definitely not the moves to go with it!