Love made me a good liar


In March of 2011, I began dating my partner. The problem that I addressed right away was something I made very clear: “We cannot tell anyone, especially not our parents.” The reason this was brought up was because I did not want any attention at all. I had not told anyone, not even my family, that I was gay.

It was hard to put trust into others. Being young, I had this strange idea that if even one person knew, it would somehow trickle all the way to my parents. Because of this, I allowed a select few to know of my relationship and sexual orientation. It was fun for a while, but naturally, I wanted more. I wanted my relationship to be known, but most of all, I wanted to be myself.

I grew up thinking about coming out, but the idea made me sick to my stomach. I was afraid of not being accepted. I was even more terrified of being separated from her. The thought of being separated from someone I considered to be the love of my life was devastating. I had heard too many times about LGBT youth being forced to change their identities by their family. I would rather live in fear than be apart from her.

Carl Vincent Carallas / Staff photo
Karley Wise (left) and her fiancée, Savannah.

Writing all this now, it seems so silly, but the feeling of anxiety and fearfulness was something I experienced almost every day.

So we stayed together, acting as best friends, having slumber parties and spending summer days together. Chit chatting about “girl talk,” which, for us, was dreams of getting married, living together and still laughing at each other’s jokes, even in our old age. She was my entire world. I could not give her up.

Valentine’s Day came and left many times during our relationship. It was difficult. I had to sneak her some kind of gift and be able to spend time with her without question. I had to exceed the expectations of Valentine’s Day, all while trying to make it seem like we were just friends. 

I would watch as other couples got public displays of affection, romantic gifts, go on dates and express their love without fear. I wanted to do that so badly. I wanted to give her the world and show everyone our incredible bond and relationship. I wanted to be able to express just how much I loved her, but I could not. I was unable to do as others could, all because of the fear in my heart of being in a queer relationship.

This took a big toll on me mentally and emotionally. How was I supposed to be happy if I could not even be myself? I could not sit back and watch everyone be happily in love with their partner. I could not break the idea of being rejected by society. 

Social media showed loving couples post gushy texts and representations of their affection for each other. It seemed never ending, like it was something I could not escape. 

There were times that were very dark for me, but I could not even tell my parents what was wrong because the truth would be out, and it would all be over. Love made me a good liar for far too long.

In April 2016, I came out to my parents. I was 18 and I was prepared for anything. It turned out that I did not need to worry. I am lucky; I was accepted. We were accepted. 

I could not have been happier. It was like opening a door to a locked room to which I had not had access until now. I was free! I no longer needed to pretend to be someone else. I could say what was on my mind and it was amazing. It also helped that my family already liked my partner. We had an easy transition into a new, romantic lifestyle.

Carl Vincent Carallas / Staff Photo

We got to go to Senior Prom together, which I had never been able to experience; I had not been to a school dance with her the entire time we were together. We got to spend as much time together as we wanted without the fear of being caught. Life was really brightening up for me, and I could see it staying this way for years to come.

Today, we are still together. I do not call her my girlfriend anymore, though, because she is now my fiancée.

I can now spend as many Valentine’s Days with my partner as I please. This will be our third Valentine’s Day out of the closet, and it feels amazing. I can buy her as much as I want, tell everyone I want, express myself freely and finally feel like my love can be seen.

Although, there are still LGBT youth who have a difficult time during month of February. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 44 percent of LGBT youth are not out of the closet to their immediate family. Ninety-one percent are only out to their close friends. 

Without the ability to express yourself romantically with someone you love, seeing others who can is difficult. I know, because it is something I had to battle with for five years.  Consider those who do not feel comfortable with their sexuality; give them a safe place to be happy. Valentine’s Day is all about love, and to freely express it matters more than you may think.

A local LGBT resource is the Rainbow Center and Oasis Youth Center (for ages 14 - 24) in Tacoma.

2215 Pacific Ave. Tacoma, WA 98402

Oasis Youth Center:

(253) 988-2108 


Rainbow Center:

(253) 383-2318