Reese Tahmalwash

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I am Reese Tahmalwash, I'm from the northwest, am a member of the Yakama Nation and a homosexual. I currently identify as male, however in spirit and sometimes in my body I feel like a mixture of both of the sexes. I came out with my sexuality at the age of 20. I was bullied as an adolescent for being different, which led to depression in my life.

As a child I used to put my sisters jingle dress on and dance in my room. I used to put my grandmothers shall on and dance like a fancy dancer. I even used to pretend I was the Little Mermaid in my swimming pool. I was quickly discouraged from this behavior by my family and associated this passion with negativity.

I decided to come out at the age of 20 because I was tired of living a lie. I was trying to gain the approval from people who didn't respect me and who I didn't even care for. I was afraid of the reaction of my family, but I decided my happiness was worth more then their approval.

I often played alone and was very shy because of my awkwardness around other children. I didn't know how to present myself and it was difficult to make friends. I became very depressed and attempted suicide at 15. I also became addicted to alcohol and drugs. Later in life at 20, after coming out I was overwhelmed and hurt myself. A year later I repeated the harming of myself and was hospitalized.

Today my life is much better. I am on an anti-anxiety medication which helps stabilize my moods. I attend support groups and have great and supportive friendships. I go to counseling to help internalize my path and help me become a more fully realized person. I am happy with my life today living an authentic life.



Dear Auntie, My parents were talking about hepatitis C and getting tested. What is it and how can I get it? Do I need to get tested?