14 Pages

Don’t Sing: Growing Up Lesbian in Catholic School

I knew I was different from most of the kids at St. Mary’s Elementary School when my teacher, Sister Mary Lena asked me not to sing. Sister Mary Lena taught first grade and was the first African-American nun I had ever met. Her cocoa skin glowed in contrast to her blocky, white habit bandeau, coif and guimpe, and her perfect, white teeth. She was as energetic as any six-year-old and had a voice that could put Diana Ross to shame. From the first day I saw her I thought she was amazing and beautiful, and I would have done anything to please her.