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Junior comfortable with lesbian identity

Kaitlin Hermanson, Profiles Editor

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For some in the LGBT community, coming out is difficult because of unsupportive family and friends. For junior Chasey Lake, her experience was just the opposite.

“I grew up really close to my mom and my sister, so her views influenced me growing up,” Lake said. “She’s always been very feminist and supportive of LGBT rights. She’s bisexual and has been open about that since I was young, so when I came out as lesbian, I never struggled to come to terms with my identity like a lot of other kids do.”

Just because her family was supportive, though, did not mean it was always an easy or clear journey.

“Eventually, I could tell that I liked girls, which was a huge realization for me, but I initially assumed that meant I was bisexual,” Lake said. “Lesbians usually have this thing called compulsory heterosexuality, where they realize that even if they like women, they think that they like men too.”

It was through talking with her friends that Lake said she realized her feelings were not the same as others’.

“Whenever my friends and I would talk about our crushes, I would ask stuff like, ‘Who’d you pick?’ and they’d go, ‘What are you talking about? You don’t really just get to pick your crush,’” Lake said. “I didn’t understand that that’s not how it works. That’s kind of how I realized that I was lesbian – that my feelings toward guys were what I thought others expected of me rather than how it really was.”

Eventually, Lake told her family about this realization.

“I came out to my mom when we were folding laundry one day, and she was just like, ‘Okay. Cool,’” Lake said. “By eighth grade, I was fully out as a lesbian and pretty open about it.”

While the majority of people have been accepting, she has faced some animosity from a small number of people.

“Once during my freshman year, someone called me a ‘dirty queer’ in the hallway,” Lake said. “I had no idea who it was, but it was the most hateful thing someone has ever said to my face.”

The slur was a surprise to Lake, who otherwise has had few instances like this.

“Over the years, it’s become such a normal conversation for me, so when people say something homophobic like that, it sometimes catches me off guard,” Lake said. “I laughed it off and didn’t let it bother me though, because I knew the people around me wouldn’t respect that kind of language. I think that Mona Shores is a really nice place in that regard.”

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