Society Taking Strides Towards Acceptance

Society Taking Strides Towards Acceptance

As time progresses, so do cultures, lifestyles and traditions. They all seem to evolve, but there are some things that tend to stay the same, such as the need for individuals to seek acceptance.

Homosexuality has caused controversy for many people; however, as generations mature, society as a whole is becoming less reluctant to accept the idea of two people of the same sex in an open relationship.

Miguel Gonzalez, a 21-year-old senior at Mercy College, admits that it was a very difficult and scary time for him when he decided to go public about his sexual orientation.

“I was careful about the people I told. I would ask them how they felt about people who were gay, and depending on their response, I’d tell them.”

Gonzalez became aware of his sexual orientation at a very young age and refers to that time of his life as “confusion and a path of darkness.”

After noticing that men gave him a different feeling than women, Gonzalez decided first to come to terms with his himself and then with those around him. “At 14-years-old I sat myself down and I just told myself, ‘Okay Miguel; you like boys. This is happening and you have to face it.’”

Two years later, after coming out to his friends and ex-girlfriends, Gonzalez felt it was time to be honest with his mother.

Trying to ease his way into the conversation, Gonzalez would ask his mother how she felt about gay couples and diversity, but her responses would always result in strong religious beliefs and left him feeling intimidated.

The only thing left for him to do was write a letter.

“I quoted Lady Gaga at the end of the letter by writing, ‘and remember God doesn’t make mistakes,’ and she cried like a baby,” Gonzalez recalls.

It was a bit easier for 22-year-old Nancy Agosto, also a senior at Mercy College.

Agosto was 12 years-old when she realized that she was crushing on a girl while all the other girls around here were going boy crazy, but it wasn’t till she was 16-years-old that she decided to officially come out.

“My mom made it really easy for me,” she explains. “She always knew because I was always more of a tomboy, so when I told her she just said, ‘well, I knew that already.’ I didn’t really have to say anything else.”

Though her mom and friends were very accepting of her sexual orientation, Agosto did receive a little backlash from her grandmother who looked forward to a grandchild. “She’s a difficult person to talk to, but she deals with it a lot better now,” Agosto claims.

It was a much easier experience for Agosto when it came to being open about her interest in the same sex. She believes it has a lot to do with the fact that she’s a female. “When people see two girls, they tend to enjoy it and overlook it, but when it’s two guys, it’s the most disgusting thing in the world,” she voiced. “It’s really awful because you are who you are at the end of the day, and you shouldn’t judge people based on who or what they like.”

As Agosto conveyed, Gonzalez felt the pressures of others judging him.

Throughout his experience of dealing with the burden of coming out, Gonzalez admits that his biggest fear was rejection from friends, family and mostly his mother. “I was so afraid she wouldn’t do simple things anymore like cook for me or tell me she loves me,” he expressed.

Despite his fear of rejection, his mother was supportive, but she did have rules. She did not want to see or hear about his partners; however, that has changed over the years. “I can kiss in front of her as long as it’s socially acceptable,” he discloses.

Mercy College supports the LGBT community with clubs such as GLOW UP (Gay, Lesbian Or Whatever ‘U’ Prefer); however, both Gonzalez and Agosto feel they are past the stage where a support group is needed, but they still encourage those who may have questions or are in need of comfort to be active in clubs of that sort.

Today, Gonzalez walks around with so much self-confidence and reassurance of who he is as a person appreciative of those who accept him as he is and unapologetic to those who don’t.

“A friend of mine gave me advice once saying, ‘Do not put your head down for anybody’ and I had been putting my head down for many people, but not anymore. Those words made an impact on me, and I thank her for that.”