Lovers & Fighters In America: Celebrating Love Without Shame

“If even one person was affected and my story makes them feel like they can finally be free, then that’s all I can ask for.” - Kahla Grams

“If even one person was affected and my story makes them feel like they can finally be free, then that’s all I can ask for.” - Kahla Grams

The Lovers & Fighters of America' is a weekly column here at Ravishly featuring behind-the-scenes stories of inspirational people taking a stance against hate.

Meet this week’s brave Lover & Fighter, 21-year-old Orange County receptionist, Kahla Grams. Her story is a love story: a simple, honest tale of a woman who met an amazing person, fell in love, and then told her friends and family about her relationship.
For Grams, telling her friends and family was the only part of the story that wasn’t easy to do. It is also what makes her story inspirational by reminding us all of the positivity that grows (within us and around us) when we show people our authentic selves.
Last week, Grams proudly — though nervously — announced her relationship  on Facebook with her girlfriend Kim, a 23-year-old social science major. Grams’ immediate family already knew and are supportive of her and Kim’s relationship, but many friends and family members learned for the first time on Facebook that day that Grams is gay.
The Facebook update was monumental for the young Californian who was raised in a religious environment and is aware that some of her friends and family hold negative views of same-sex relationships.
Due to this fact, Grams had kept her sexual orientation hidden since she realized she was gay, at about the age of 16. 
She told Ravishly: “I grew up very religious and hid who I was for years. I think deep down I always knew I wasn’t straight because I never pictured a future with a man. I always wanted the family, the house, etc., but I never truly saw it with a husband. I always thought I’d do it alone because the way I was raised, being gay wasn’t an option; I would have been ostracized.”
“Love is love is love. It shouldn’t matter if it’s a straight couple, two men, or two women.” – Kahla Grams
A Facebook update, sharing her relationship, was Grams' way of “showing off” her new girlfriend while refusing to let the fear of other people’s judgment take away her joy. Grams explained: “I was compelled to come out on social media because I felt it was time that I wasn’t hiding who I was. It was more so coming out to say I was in a relationship; it just happened to be with a woman this time. She’s the best thing to ever happen to me so I figured I should show her off.”
To Grams’ surprise, with the exception of one person, everyone who commented on her news was positive and supportive. “I was a little worried about some of the friends I have saying rude things, as I know their religious beliefs towards same-sex couples. I was shocked at the outpouring of love I received, especially from the friends I barely know.”
Sharing who she is and who she loves with her friends and family has had a positive impact on Grams. She said: “I have a huge weight off my shoulders. Being gay shouldn’t be a burden, but when you’re hiding who you are from your friends and family, it definitely can weigh you down.”
By clicking "share" to that FB status, Grams has freed herself from secrecy. She is no longer hiding and, with Kim by her side, she's getting more and more comfortable being out and openly gay. She said: “We are pretty open with our relationship. I still feel uncomfortable sometimes even holding her hand in public, but if it’s okay for a straight couple to show affection, why can’t I? Love is love is love. It shouldn’t matter if it’s a straight couple, two men, or two women. She’s a lot braver than I will ever be and it doesn’t bother her to give me a quick kiss or hold my hand. She’s brought me out of my comfort zone and for that I will be forever grateful.”

We are honored to feature Kahla Grams’ brave act of authenticity and self-acceptance this week on Ravishly. And we wish her and her girlfriend Kim all the best in their relationship.

If you're thinking about coming out and would like some support, click here

Lovers & Fighters say "hell no" to racism, sexism, bigotry, and xenophobia. These men, women, and children are saying "heck yes" to equality, human decency, and love. From bold acts of advocacy to simple moments of goodness, these everyday people remind us of what it truly means to be American.

These lovers and fighters are resistant in the face of intolerance. They are bold in the presence of judgment. They are determined to join forces (or to stand proudly alone) to ensure their message is heard: #LoveTrumpsHate

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