By Marine Corps. Sgt. Deidra L Freeman
Performed at the first U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Equal Opportunity, Pride Month observance, June 24, 2016 on Patch Barracks. Read about the observance event here.
My life wasn’t always rainbows.
I was a mental disorder until 1974. My life was secrecy and lies.
Hatred, discrimination, lack of acceptance and ignorance caused me to feel as if I should die.
I was sick, diseased, a mental disorder.
History’s cure conversion therapy
Shock therapy, counseling, prayers, ice pick lobotomies, chemical castration.
Physicians kept telling me something was wrong and I believed it
what was wrong?
Why would I want this?
Everything tried didn’t work
The pictures, the inappropriate touching, the prayers, the medication, shock therapy, and the lobotomies.
I remember the vomiting
I never was attracted to the stimulant.
I didn’t want it
Don’t forced it.
Something is still wrong with me.
I remember the 80’s
I really became sick
You could see it in the flesh
I was no longer a mental but physical.
I was labeled the “Gay Disease”.
Feared, wasn’t looked in the face, ran from
AIDS and STDs was killing my community.
The world was in a panic and it still is whether I test negative for any disease
There is a Ban on my blood.
I will never be able to donate.
AIDs are still viewed as a Gay Disease.
Times have changed but I make up a percentage of homeless children that are seen on the streets.
My parents couldn’t accept it. My parents tried to beat it out of me, forced relationships on me, disowned me, and asked me what the family and the neighbors would think.
I never wanted them to find out but I’m not good at hiding or blending in to what society classifies as masculine or feminine.
I committed suicide and in some situations I didn’t have to.
I was in the 11th grade when they shot me on the passenger side, the boys said they wanted to talk to me, I didn’t know that night death would be a “consequence” to living out and proud.
That was in 2008, so I didn’t get to share my story on social media no one really knows my name only that small town.
2011 Things changed and I give thanks to President Obama he is the reason why I get to serve my country, why DADT was appealed, why I fought, why my DD214 now reads honorably discharged. Because I fought for a country I loved
Though the hardest fight was loving myself.
The hardest fight was accepting myself, the hardest fight was making it this far. The hardest fight is forgiveness. The hardest fight is forgiving those of hate, for the bloodshed, the heartbreak, the death, the ignorance, and the hardest fight is knowing I am still not accepted. But I’ll continue to fly high with pride because after every thunderstorm when you look to the clouds there’s a rainbow.