Although many people question their sexuality at some point in their life, especially during their younger years, most don’t reveal their desire to experiment publicly due to longstanding social stigma; however, “The View” co-host Rosie Perez directly challenged that stigma this week when she revealed that she experimented with a same-sex relationship as a teen.
According to CBS News, while giving a revealing speech at TrevorLIVE New York on Monday, an event for the LGBT non-profit The Trevor Project, Perez spoke about having a crush on a girl named Michelle while she was in junior high school.
“All I wanted to do was hump her,” Perez said; however, she explained that she was insecure and ashamed of being attracted to another woman.
“I suppressed the urge and suppressed the urge and suppressed the urge until Michelle one day started humping on me,” she revealed.
Unfortunately, their relationship eventually ended and Perez was “hurt” by the breakup. Making matters worse for her was the fact that she was too afraid of enduring any homophobic remarks or judgment to speak about her heartbreak with anyone.
“That silence brought shame,” she said. “I didn’t have a community. I didn’t have The Trevor Project.”
“I’m not the only one that went through this questioning period. I’m not the only one that suppressed those feelings. Who hid their story,” Perez said, speaking about the importance of The Trevor Project’s crisis hotline and resources for teens.
“If I had other people, specifically adults, if I was just able to call up and they said, ‘Oh, I humped the Michelle-type person too, you’re normal, don’t worry. You’re either gonna go here, there or in the middle, don’t worry about it, it’ll pass. You’re just figuring it out,’ even that simple statement … that would have made all the difference in the world,” she added.
Although she didn’t have The Trevor Project, Perez explained she’s grateful she had “some wonderful people in my life, specifically my father and my aunt but also community leaders that said, ‘No, it’s okay to be different and just let your spirit shine.’”
Although Perez is comfortable now with sharing her same-sex experience, the actress, who married her husband Eric Haze last year, says she is heterosexual.
“I know I’m not lesbian, gay or whatever, I’m a quasi-straight person, I still went through that period. And I thought I was all alone,” she said.
Perez finished her speech by sharing the same advice the elders in her life gave her about living openly and freely.
“There’s no such thing as normal. What is the norm is being different,” said Perez.
She couldn’t be more right.