Humans of Khmer America

Melissa Hem, Nurse, Poet

She’s the first person I’ve met that I’ve ever truly wanted to marry. I was never that little girl who dreamed about a fabulous wedding, and pairing my first name with my husband’s last, but when I look at her I do see marriage. I want to plan my wedding and my future.

I came out to my parents last February.

My mom has been the tough one. She is more traditional. She has always had the expectations of the good career, meeting the perfect man, buying the house, having the kids.

So my mom… Well, I told her at lunch and she just stopped eating completely. There were tears and hurt feelings between us. We both said things we shouldn’t have. She was afraid she’d never have grandchildren. I told her I still want children. Plus I can get a sperm donor! But she’s leery of that.

The best thing my mom told me was that she loves me, no matter what. And that she needs to change her thinking, not me. It was a huge concession on her part… For that I’m beyond thankful.

I think some of my family thought it was a phase, but they see that I am happier than ever and with a partner who actually fits me.

Ashley. She’s a landscape architect.

Gay rights, at least in our little pocket… Is almost unknown territory. So what you’re doing with Khmerican is uniting tiny pockets of very brave individuals… And hopefully with that kind of honesty, more will feel comfortable and follow suit, in talking, opening up, and even coming out.

Melissa Hem, 32, Nurse, Poet
Los Angeles, CA

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