My Story: I Fell In Love With A Person, Not Their Gender

When Lea kissed a girl for the first time, her mind was buzzing with questions, before she decided that who she loves shouldn't define who she is.

"Love has no gender" (© Jody Amiet/AFP)

Three years ago, I fell in love with a girl. A rather complicated situation to handle since I had always dated guys. Before I took the next step, a lot of things went through my head.

First, she was just a friend. We had just met, but our relationship was already intense. I didn’t ask myself any question, I just saw her as a friend. Then, our relationship changed, we were very close, but not like regular girlfriends. I had never been so close to someone, even physically.

But I went on with it. As if nothing was going on. We didn’t talk about it, we both knew there was something, but we kept quiet. On a Friday, we went out a little, drank a little, came home, and kissed each other before bedtime. On the lips. Then nothing, we just fell asleep.

Teenagers Are Quick To Judge

The next day, we didn’t mention it. The same night, partying with our friends, we drank a bit too much once more. When we came home, we kissed for real. I freaked out. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I wondered if I liked girls or not. My brain went nuts. I couldn’t figure it out. Why was I doing this with a girl while I never felt attracted to any other girl? I was trying to check girls out, to see if I was bi or gay. But nothing. I was confused.

Then, I started to feel pressure. I wondered who was going to react and how. What everyone was gonna say. My dad, my mum, my brothers, what were they going to think? And my grandparents, for whom this is abnormal. They are very old fashion. And high school friends. Teenagehood is a time where people are quick to judge, rumors are legions. So I felt this fear of being judged by everyone I knew. We were the first ones to have a gay relationship, of course people were going to talk. And I was very scared.

So we hid. We didn’t dare to tell our friends, even if they were open-minded! We hid for four months. I had a lot of panic attacks. I really felt lost. I couldn’t bear how bad I was feeling. All of this just because I fell in love with a girl!

My New Highschool Was Homophobic

And then, I decided to let go. I didn’t want to overthink anymore, I wanted to live by the day. I fell in love with someone, not with their gender. I stopped hiding and everything was alright. My relatives took it well, I stopped being scared of what people could say. I felt good, I could hold her hand and kiss her. I felt untouchable.

But, as I said, teenagehood is a time where people are quick to judge. Last year, I went to a different high school, and it felt like it did two years before. The fear to say I was in love with a girl came back. The thing was, before we got the chance to really know each other, I realized that the people of my class were sexist and homophobic, except for one girl.

Homobia was something they were proud of. I was too ashamed to tell them I was dating a girl. It was my last year, I was about to graduate and I didn’t want to tell them. They were too mean to understand and I was scared to end up alone.

Today, I’m in college. This girl and I are no longer together, but lately, I have decided that whomever I end up with, I would speak up. So I did! No one said anything and I absolutely love it. I stopped feeling anxious so that I can live my relationships the way I want to!

Léa, 19, a student in Paris

This story was written during one of the workshops held by the ZEP (Expression Priority Zone) in France, a media project which allows young French people aged 15 to 25 years old to share their everyday lives and their opinions on the news which impacts them.

By La Zep, published on 06/12/2018