My name is Franshelis Calderon. I’m a junior here at UAlbany, and I identify as queer.
From the moment I arrived on the UAlbany campus in August of 2014, I knew I had a lot of self-exploring to do. It was finally my chance find myself independently, without the worry of what anyone else had to say. I had been waiting for this moment for, what felt like, a lifetime. Some of the things I discovered about myself during this time were that I loved to learn languages, Wings over Albany was my favorite place to order from, living with a random roommate was tough, and that I liked girls.
I had a few girl crushes in high school, but I always thought it was a rite of passage, a normal thing to have one or two “gay crushes.” But when they kept coming, I didn’t want to accept it for one reason alone—my parents. I was raised to believe homosexuality was wrong, and was convinced I was a horrible person for feeling the way I felt. I lied to myself, and those around me. As I settled into this university though, I found the courage to say it out loud for the first time. After that, loving myself became easier with each passing day, because I was surrounded by the support of my peers who didn’t look at me differently because of my sexuality.
The process of exploring your sexuality can be one of the most confusing and complicated things that a person can experience. A lot of emotions are running through your mind. Alongside it being my first year of college, it was a lot to handle. It definitely reflected on my grades and personal relationships. I became lazy and unconcerned with going to class, because of all the stress of not being comfortable with who I was. I also was involved in a very unhealthy relationship, as a result of my low self-esteem, which also affected my academics. I was so focused on trying to please another person that I lost sight of what was truly important.
Through surrounding myself in positivity, a strong support system and self-discovery, I have been able to embrace my sexuality. Looking back; the amount of growth I did in accepting myself is commendable. I went from hiding who I am to feeling comfortable enough to unapologetically yell it from the rooftops, from settling for whoever expressed the slightest interest in me, to knowing my worth and recognizing a healthy relationship. Even though I still struggle with my sexuality, I am slowly learning that if I accept myself, maybe one day everyone else can too.
With this blog, I will be writing about the experiences I have had at this university as a queer student. I will discuss the struggles I still face with my sexuality in all aspects, and all the ways in which I’ve grown because of these struggles. I want anyone who has ever felt the way I have, to read this blog and embrace themselves, and understand there is nothing wrong in loving who they love.