From my point of view the issue with LGBTQ+ rights is that there is no equal treatment even today. Not only is there no equal treatment for the LGBTQ+ community, members of that community are also going through violence and other abuse because of their sexual orientation.
I was a victim of violent abuse within the LGBTQ+ community. My name is Mariah Salevao, I identify as a lesbian woman and this is my story of how I am succeeding due to the circumstances I went through. It all started in the summer of 2019 when my mom found out I had a girlfriend. She found out because I had pictures of us just smiling, hugging and kissing — nothing that explicit. When she found out she brutally beat me and made me promise that I wouldn’t be gay anymore, which I did promise though I knew I was lying to myself. I complied with it for my safety.
I wasn’t able to be my true self at home because I wasn’t welcomed or accepted due to my sexual preference. It didn’t end there though. There were a couple of other times when my mom found out I was still in contact with my girlfriend and she just kept beating me down to the point where I no longer wanted to be alive.
It got worse each time she found out. I would be beaten to the point that I had bruises and marks on me. With each beating she tried and tried to break me and kept telling me that I’m not gay or “I didn’t raise you like that.” In all honesty her words hurt more than her physical beatings—the beatings did hurt and left marks but they were bearable to me. Her words are what hurt me the most; they were like knives cutting deep into my mind and just leaving scars behind.
How can you be my mom and claim that you love me but can’t accept me for who I am?
On her last attempt at beating me I was saved. The cops were called and the social workers came and I got removed from the only place that I ever knew and called “Home.” That was probably the most traumatizing moment of my life. I moved from Long Beach to Glendora, and the move happened quickly. It honestly has been a great change in my life but also one of my greatest challenges. I now live in a foster home for kids who have certain sexual preferences. I have a foster mom and three foster siblings, and I love each of them as if they were actually my blood siblings. Don’t get me wrong — I do miss my actual siblings I grew up with but things happen and time changes people. I still love them and that won’t ever change.
So I know most of you are probably wondering what happened between me and my girlfriend. We ended up staying together for a while, but a couple months back we ended our journey together. It was hard but bittersweet. I wish her nothing but bliss and happiness because if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have found the courage to be who I am now. I also want to thank my loving friends I’ve met along the way who have continued to support me throughout my life.
No one can change my sexual preference besides me. I am a lesbian woman. That is how I identify and what I’ll keep identifying as. This is who I truly am and nothing anyone says or does can change that. Due to my sexual preferences I have faced major consequences with the path I chose because “for every action there is a reaction” (Newton’s Third Law), and that is exactly what happened to me. I don’t regret my choice or action. Love is love and you can never change that. Because of my circumstances I have truly succeeded and this is my story.