“…when my mom was talking to me about the whole story of how they came over here, they just kept saying how much of a difference it made when the health care professionals that took care of them were understanding for their needs.”

Michelle Photo“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse. A big part of it is actually because I used to struggle with my mental health and I still do. Another big part of it is me wanting to be an advocate for patients who were like me in the past. So when I was a kid I was in and out of hospitals all the time and my parents were immigrants from Cuba so they didn’t know any English. They were completely new to the country. One thing that really stuck with me when my mom was talking to me about the whole story of how they came over here, they just kept saying how much of a difference it made when the health care professionals that took care of them were understanding for their needs. Even though they couldn’t speak that same language they would still try their hardest. From the beginning, that’s what motivated me to be in the healthcare field in the first place.”

“After I graduate I just I want to be “that” nurse. I explain it like that nurse everybody talks about, that nurse that helped them when they were at the emergency room or when they were delivering their baby or when they were in treatment. I just always hear stories about this and every time it amazes me because I’ve always wanted to be that person for someone else because I never had that kind of person for me. So when I do graduate from ASU, I want to be a health care provider that is accepting of LGBTQ patients and understanding and cognizant of what they need and attentive.”

“In seventh or eighth grade, that’s when I really decided I want to be a nurse because I developed an eating disorder in seventh grade. To go through that alone and be LGBT, I just put the pieces together over time of the disparities between heterosexual and cis gender. Those people are obviously not going to have the same health care experiences as queer people. I put that together when I was googling and I was seeing all these experiences from other people. When it occurred to me that this is a community that I’m a part of and I’m born into, it’s almost like my calling.”

“When I began middle school that’s when I actually started questioning my sexual identity. Honestly I didn’t think it was normal growing up because I grew up in a more conservative area. I grew up in Texas and I lived in Houston. I didn’t have a lot of people around me that were queer so I didn’t have any role models and I didn’t really have anyone to look up to. I would hear the words ‘faggot’ thrown around all the time. I’d hear shit like that all the time. ‘Dyke’ – those kind of words always bothered me because I was thinking well hey what if that’s me… I feel like I noticed that in a weird time because I had a crush on this girl in 6th grade who was my best friend and I had to keep it a secret. In terms of my sexual identity, that’s where things started. Because I don’t feel like I was growing up in an environment that was really conducive to someone growing up queer because obviously I’m in Texas. I didn’t really have that kind of support and from the beginning when I realized that and when I realized that I also liked women I thought something has to change, I can’t be the only one like this. Honestly a lot of my information came from the Internet and that’s why I was kind of interested in this project because literally I found out that I was queer when I just started googling and I found all this information. That’s a huge part of why it’s so important for me to talk about my experiences being queer because that’s how it was for me growing up. I didn’t have those kinds of people around me and I didn’t have those kinds of influences. Whenever I thought of queer people it was always something negative. Now that I think of it it’s completely opposite of how I am now. I was really close minded because that’s just how I was raised, that’s what I was around and I totally thought that if you kissed a girl you’re gross. I didn’t really process it until I started thinking about it myself. When I had that crush that’s when I realized. So from then on it was important for me to be that person for someone else.”

“I pretty much I told everybody but I still didn’t tell my parents because the area that we grew up in and how it was I didn’t feel like I should. The reason why I didn’t tell my parents until just a couple months ago is because I didn’t want to feel like if I ended up with a woman they’d be disappointed in me. I didn’t want that, which is why I took so long to come out to my parents. A big part of me struggling with my identity I think stemmed from that background of not wanting to disappoint other people because I’m a people pleaser and I didn’t want to be to outlier when everybody else was straight and I’m the only girl that likes women. I was young and I didn’t know that there were a lot of other people like me. So I didn’t come out to my parents for a very long time but I was out to my community and I would casually tell people. But honestly I would still kind of keep it under wraps at least when I was in Texas because of the community that I was in.”

“I actually founded a club at my high school called Student Alliance for Equality. It’s basically a Gay Straight Alliance. I had an epiphany with my sexual identity in my sophomore year where I realized that I had not felt accepted in my community in the past and I wanted other people in my school who felt like me to have a place where they could convene and share their experiences just like I wanted when I was in sixth or seventh grade and I was alone like that. My school didn’t have a Gay Straight Alliance they didn’t have training on LGBT issues, they had none of that. So I founded that club.”

“Around the beginning of sophomore year I decided that I was going to make a Gay Straight Alliance because nobody else is going to do it, so I was going to do it. I met up with a bunch of friends who were also queer (because a lot of my friends were LGBT) and we just exchanged ideas. We talked about what we wanted to change in the school. I knew that I wanted to make a GSA but I didn’t want it to be like previous years because we used to have to GSA clubs and it just fell out of existence and plopped away because it just wasn’t an active community and they didn’t make an active effort to make themselves known and make themselves visible. I really wanted to change that. Finally I found a teacher who was supportive of my mission, because a lot of teachers were uncomfortable just sponsoring a club like that. Everyone was very religious where I’m from, everybody’s Christian, it’s the Bible Belt. It was really hard for me to find a sponsor because nobody wants to say “I’m okay with queer students” maybe they’re going to say that but like are they really going to host your meetings? Are they going to be supportive? I think that’s why it was hard for me to find someone because I think they were hesitant of putting their name out there because of the stigma associated with being queer and being accepting of queer people in Texas. I finally found a sponsor who is wonderful and still heads the club to this day. That’s one thing I’m really proud of myself for. Looking back, I took that experience of not feeling like I fit in a community and making a club that still keeps going. It just amazes me that I started this in sophomore year and now there’s an established community. I did that and I want to keep doing that.”

– Michelle Mullings, She/Her, Bisexual

Twitter/Instagram:  @michellelolwhat

 

 

 

 

 

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