Allen Thikeo

 American from Boston, MA    

” I had a lot of friends in high school and when I came out, I only had 3 really close friends left.” 

Allen is a student at the University of Massachusetts – Boston studying Computer Science.  He is my little brother who came out at the age of 16. Allen was hesitant at first to open up for this project, but as you read his story the reasoning for his hesitation becomes clear.  Learn more about his experience coming out to his friends and family, his perspective on life, and why these days he identifies himself as just an American . . .

“I came out at 16 after being rejected by my high school crush. I came out to my mom, dad, and my sister. This wasn’t the norm in our Lao culture and my mom didn’t take it well. I wasn’t able to handle the stress after coming out so I tried to talk to my friends about it. But I started feeling like they just found me to be a burden. They didn’t really want to help me. They called me dramatic. I think they just didn’t want to deal with my drama.  So they shut me out and ever since then I started shutting everyone else out too.”

“When I got to college, I didn’t really talked to that many people at the beginning. I’m slowly working on it and slowly becoming more expressive.  But even to talk about my life and to express myself, I’m a little bit hesitant.  I don’t want it to be considered bad again. I had a lot of friends in high school and when I came out, I only had 3 really close friends left.”

Advice he’d like to share for those going through something similar . . . 

“No matter how many times people hurt you by avoiding the fact that you came out, and you feel like you can’t lean on anyone’s shoulders , definitely don’t forget that talking about it isn’t bad. Always talk about it – regardless of all the people who reject you, who avoid you, or think you’re full of drama or full of bullshit. Just talk about it. You don’t want to get into the habit of closing yourself off. Little do you know, it would restrain you and impact your relationships later on in life – like your social life in college and stuff like that.  It will literally scare you from trusting people, talking to people and opening up.”

 Finding a support system will come with time . . . 

“My support system is my boyfriend, my three friends, and now my family.  The LGBT community I have encountered is really shallow. I couldn’t find a support system there. It’s tough.  There’s a lot of people who base relationships on looks in that community and I felt as though if I were to focus my life on that, it would just invite a lot of negative thoughts. But in time, I think I’ll find my group. My philosophy on life is to be positive and just get by.”

While money allows for freedom, it doesn’t equate success.  Allen prefers simplicity. . . 

“Currently, I’m at UMB studying Computer Science. I’m thinking of switching back to Sociology because I like the idea of helping people and understanding human interactions. I switched to CS because when I was a sociology major, my extended family members weren’t supportive. They didn’t think it was going to make me rich and I let that get to me .”

“At the end of the day, I just want to live a life that’s comfortable. I want to live stress-free and be able to travel without any restraints. I just want to graduate and live a normal, simple, and humble life.”

And he finds comfort in music . . .  

“I have a lot of passions and hobbies that probably all can’t be listed but a majority of them have some sort of musical aspect to it.  I don’t want to pursue music as a career because I don’t think I’m good enough yet but I do like to play my guitar for fun. I just play to express myself. It’s like how guys play Call of Duty to unwind, I play with my guitar. “

Lastly, on why he defines himself as just an American. . .  

“I define myself as an American, not even a Lao American because I don’t like labels.  For me personally, being that I am a double minority, I don’t like to judge people based on their labels. When my friends tell me a story and when they start to describe people as ‘this black guy’, ‘this white guy’,  or ‘this latin girl’, I actually cringe when they call out the ethnicity. I tend to just say, ‘that person’. It just doesn’t feel right.  To specify someone on just their ethnicity makes it seem like we are isolating them. I don’t want that person to feel like I just see them only as their race.”

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