The Oarsman

We’re Coming Out

Humans of Venice High

Humans of Venice High is a series of photographs and personal histories, revealing the hidden emotions of subjects. For this issue, two Oarsman staffers went around the school campus, asking random students if they would mind being interviewed regarding their coming-out stories.

Julissa Ventureno
Alejandra Valadez catches the photographer taking her picture during the interview.

Alejandra Valadez, a junior at Venice High, said, “See– I wasn’t in a relationship, but I had feelings for someone. Towards the end of eighth grade and the beginning of freshman year, I’d say I started having feelings for that person.

“I was really confused at first because, you know, nobody had really talked to me about same-sex relationships or different genders people consider themselves. So I was really confused, but then I guess I started looking stuff up and I was like ‘Oh okay, then I guess this is what people consider others that like guys and girls.

“For me personally, at times I felt like I was suffocating like I couldn’t breathe. Like when I was talking to my friends, I couldn’t tell them that this is me, that I like girls. I feel like I was–I don’t know– lying and that I wasn’t being honest with myself or others.

“I guess it kind of makes me feel like you can’t be accepted by society because you’re different, but I don’t really consider myself different because I love like any other person loves.

“I’m sharing my story because I believe there are other people out there that also have stories to share, but are scared to share. For whatever reason because they are scared to share or they feel like they’ll be bullied or they won’t be accepted by their friends and family. I guess I’m telling them it’s okay to be who you are, don’t be afraid. Love who you love. Just be yourself.”

Julissa Ventureno
Student who will remain anonymous fidgets with her hands during interview.

The following student chose to remain anonymous for her own safety.

She said, “My dad is more conservative, and religious too. They probably don’t want a daughter who is gay… even that is hard for me to say. I know that they are going to have a very hard time accepting that. Also, I want to do a lot of things when I grow up, so I kinda need the support–their support– and I want them to see me in a different light. I want to change their mind about people who are gay and see that they are just regular people.

“Sometimes it’s hard when you’re in an environment where you feel so much pressure or so much hate on you, that’s when you’re like ‘Why do I have to keep this secret?’ Especially with your parents when you get in a big fight. That’s always been a tough one on me.

“Sometimes you get called a liar or like you’re hiding something or you are untrustworthy. That hurts the most because that’s the thing you’re hiding every day of your life. But also you meet very supportive people even though they don’t know you’re gay. They are still very open to that and you can see them wanting to fight for your rights or make you feel accepted.

“Right now, a lot of teens are heading to college and a lot of people rely on their parents to go to college. Unfortunately, that’s the case for me, too. I just don’t want them to restrict anything in my life. Like going out with my friends. They’ll probably think I’m doing something when I’m not.

“Or like they don’t want me to pursue my dreams and they want me to suffer in life because ‘You’re gay. You’re different and you don’t deserve this equal life.’ They might feel really disappointed in me for just being gay.

“I want to become more independent. I want to leave this place. Make my own money and just… I’ll come out to my parents one day.”

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