On March 23rd, 2000, I came out kicking and screaming, and you know what? Nothing’s changed! Except now, I scream, shout, and advocate for LGBT+ awareness and women’s rights. My journey continues today, as I have only officially came out to a few family members and friends. Through the years of high school, I have learned from my experiences and I hope to spread my knowledge. My story of officially accepting and being myself began here.
Ever since I was young, I had no idea the way I thought and the way I loved was considered different in other people's perspective. I remember being the girl who always held her girl friends’ hands, the girl who hugged everyone and anyone, the girl who thought other girls were pretty cool, the girl who wasn’t anyone but herself. When I was in elementary school, I was playing Cowgirls and Bandits, and I kissed one of the bandits to make one of the cowgirls jealous. It didn’t really work, because the cowgirl went and told the teacher and then I had to apologize to the bandit and his parents. (Good ol’ Sophie!) However, I gave up on that cowgirl and ended up liking another.
When I entered 7th grade, a cowgirl and friend very dear to me moved away. Little did I know the emotions that I felt for her were so strong that I became very sad when she left. Since a young age I was very “sheltered” and I honestly did not know “gay” was a thing until the end of junior high. When this friend left my life, I felt very emotional, because I did not know of people who felt the way I did. I was very alone. So instead of focusing on emotions, I focused on school, science fair, science olympiad, sports, and clubs. My days were consumed with work and more work. I denied every emotion my mind thought and this continued until the summer before freshman year.
The journey that I walk became more rocky as I neared high school. Up until this point, my road had been pretty well paved with the occasional bump or crack, but now it was nothing like before. The emotions that I denied for years spiraled out of control and soon I had breakdowns everyday. My mom knew I was upset, but she didn’t know why. Later on, I joined the robotics team. Ironically, now, when I ask people of their first impression of me, they say, “I knew she was gay the moment she walked through the door.” My now closest friends knew before I did! However, I’m jumping ahead; let me continue. After a few months on the team, I went to a competition, where I ended up feeling very emotional toward one of my friends who is of the female gender. After this experience, I first went home and cried a little, but then decided it was time to figure out these emotions and what they meant. For about three days I stayed home and took all the online quizzes on the internet that were about being gay. After every quiz, I became more and more terrified of what came next.
About two weeks later, I came out to my best friend Kaelyn Dauer, who has loved me for me since day one. I don’t know where I’d be without her. The journey still continues and I am a junior now. Sometimes the unspoken is much more pleasant than the spoken. By not telling everyone in my life, I am protecting myself and my self love. And that’s okay! I am happy where I am and who I surround myself with. I am an avid leader in my school GSA and in the GSA Network of Fresno. I am the historian for my Women’s Empowerment club and the treasurer of the Women in STEM club at my school. I know everyone in my life knows who I am, what I believe in, and what I’m not afraid to talk about. Everyone’s journey is different, but overall, we can help each other and give each other support to be our best selves.
Sophie Brodish P.S. Live Long and Prosper!