Published in QVegas issue December 2007
Holidays are not just about the presents, the music and the food. For many they are about family and bringing significant others home to bond with the family for the first time. This year, Kimberley Lowe will not be bringing a significant other home for the holidays.
After coming out in late August, Kim has still not found that special someone. Las Vegas might seem like the perfect place for LGBT people, but for Kim, this is not the case.
For 25-year-old Kim, coming out in Las Vegas was very hard and frustrating. “I think if I would have come out in California, I would have felt a lot more comfortable,” Kim said as she ripped the tissue she held in her hand in tiny pieces. “There is too much religiosity here, and it is holding things back.”
She told a story about seeing a gay couple sitting at Starbucks, having their coffee and conversation, just as people typically would, but unlike all these people around them, they were holding hands underneath the table. “I don’t think people have to hide it so much [in other parts of the country],” Kim said as she wished Las Vegas was more like those places.
Kim recently came out to her family and friends and is having a hard time adjusting to this lifestyle. Kim, who suffers from Aspergers disorder, a form of autism, knew she was different but always blamed it on her disease. However, after evaluating problems with her past straight relationships, Kim knew she was gay. She tried holding it in, but she realized she had to come out. “I was trying to figure out what to do, and I just couldn’t keep it in anymore,” Kim said while fighting away tears.
Kim was lucky. Her family was 100 percent supportive. “I was totally shocked,” Bonnie Lowe, Kim’s mother, said about her daughter coming out. “But I just want mydaughter to be happy.” Kim’s parents attend LGBT events, ask friends for information about the gay community and try to help their daughter feel more comfortable and confident. “I don’t know anything about this world—this gay and lesbian world—so I don’t really know how to help,” Bonnie agonizingly expressed.
Although Kim’s parents are supportive, they are also very protective. They have warned her to only tell those she trusts in fear that their little girl will suffer more persecution and segregation from the community. “I only feel safe telling my mom, family and a few of my friends I met from the Democratic Party meetings,” Kim said.
“I’m not sure who else I can tell.” Kim is frustrated and scared about what this lifestyle will entail. She doesn’t know how to meet other LGBT people or how to one day find a partner. “It’s hard to find places that aren’t bars or sleazy,” Kim said. “I don’t want to meet people there.” Kim uses the Web site, glee.com, which stands for gay, lesbian and everyone else, to network with other LGBT people around the country. She is able to ask questions, meet people and is able to be herself. She just hasn’t found that kind of environment and acceptance in the Las Vegas community.
Not only is Kim unsure of how to meet people, she is also fearful about what this will do to her career. After finishing school, Kim hopes to work for the Natural Institute of Health, a government organization. However, the government is not supportive of gay rights and/or gay people.
As a history student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Kim has done much research and studying about LGBT rights. She has studied the progression of acceptance in the government, military and communities through the decades and has her fingers crossed for the future. “I know it’s a long road ahead,” she sighed.
Although Kim knows she faces hard times with meeting people and in her career, she is positive. “I never wish I wasn’t gay. I just want to be myself,” Kim said. “I might have to move to a different state or change my environment to be more comfortable, but it will be worth it.”
In terms of the holidays approaching, Kim said she is frustrated that she still has not met anyone but knows she has other priorities. “I’m just going to focus on my political meetings, school and having a good time with my family.”
Perhaps meeting someone will be her New Year’s wish.