Kiki is a 24-year-old Belizean who came out three years ago to her mother. She comes from a deeply religious background and has a young son back from what she calls her ‘straight phase’. With her child, conservative family background and lack of information on how she could communicate, coming out was a journey for her which helped her grow into who she is, develop and plan her ambition and reconnect with her mother. Now, she acts as a guiding force for others who find themselves in similar situations as she was in three years ago.

It was just me and my kid. When I started to engage in activities with this organization, I was educated about different things. I went to the meetings, forums, activities, me and my son. Before I came out, I didn’t worry about family. I just used to worry about my grandmother because she’s heavily Seven Day Adventist, which I was too. I felt like I was weird, and I was disappointing my family, but when I meet others and I see that there’s a lot of other people like me, I would say, “This is normal, and this is just who I am.” When I met the group, and I started to do stuff with them and getting to meet other people, friends, when I started to have friends, because I didn’t have any, I met some cool people. I came out to my sisters and they told me how they feel, and they were quite accepting. It was important that I first came out to myself.

Then I started to go to family events where I could engage my mom. When that happened, that is when I got happy because then she got so accepting. She felt free when she saw other parents, hear the different views, she just got open minded, and then she accepted me. It wasn’t acceptance at first, she was still standoffish, but it came slowly. Without the group, I wouldn’t know where to turn, I wouldn’t know how to come out to her. They had a family coming out night, and that is when I told her. That is when she also came out to me that she was– I won’t say she’s gay or lesbian, but was she was thinking about it in her younger days, but she didn’t do it because of her family background. Now my mother wants to volunteer with me. Whenever there’s family things and related to LGBT parents, she’s the first one to volunteer. She wants to attend, she wants to show her face out, she doesn’t care!

Without family, without friends, you feel like you’re alone. You could feel like you’re not normal, because that is the way they put it. Then, when all of that come together, all of that in your mind and you want to commit suicide, this is the only next thing people think about. When I started to be free, to be who I am and engage my family in it and I see that they’re accepting and they got opened minded, then I started to draw away from thoughts like, “I am not normal. I don’t need to commit suicide. They just need to accept me and be open-minded.”

I don’t even worry about anything else. I don’t worry about my grandmother and the religion because it’s just religion. I am accepting with myself now. My son knows. He’s five years old, and he knows that mommy loves girls, and that is just that. You’ve got to love me for me. I have self-love, they helped me with that because I had low self-esteem. Coming and joining the group and doing a lot of activities and getting out there to the public and so, it helped me with self-love and I’m not afraid.

Before this, I was single, I didn’t know how to go about meeting people, but for some months now, I met somebody, I changed my attitude because it’s not all about me. I changed my attitude and I met somebody and I am here helping her to reach where I am, to that getting out stage, and I am happy to bring her here. I want her to get that sense of feeling that it’s okay to be gay if you’re a gay, and she’s here with me now. I have a partner. She’s still in the closet. She’s not in the closet to the public. She’s okay with PD, she’s okay with the public knowing that she’s gay, but taking me home, she wouldn’t want to introduce me as a friend, and I am not your friend. Me bringing her around more gay people, more LGBT families, that would give her the encouragement to go home to her mom and be like, “Mom, I am gay, and this is my girlfriend.”