Photo by Kathryn Coffey
October 2018: it just hits me. I was walking to my friend’s car and going to her house to hang out for a bit. Nothing special. But inside, there was something else going on. It was there for a while. I thought it needed fixing.
But now, I wasn’t thinking that way anymore. I needed to tell someone. I asked where the restroom was. She said upstairs straight ahead. I rushed in, looked in the mirror, took a couple deep breaths, and told myself, “I’m bi.”
I said it so quietly I thought no one heard me. It was so strange to hear it out loud, and I wasn’t even telling anyone yet. Even then, I wasn’t sure if it was really me. But when I look back, deep down I knew it was the truth, but I wasn’t ready to admit to it then.
I only came out to myself that night. I never said a word about it for the next eleven months. In that time, I accepted the truth and was finally ready to come out to my friends. And why was I ready? Honestly, it’s a long story, six years in the making.
Of all the safe times and places to explore my sexuality, high school wasn’t exactly one of them.
It’s not to say I don’t have good memories from there, but when it comes to sexuality, if you’re not straight, others will want nothing to do with you.
Being on the LGBTQ+ spectrum was fine if you’re a guy. If you’re one of the girls attending my high school, it was better not to say anything. They didn’t say this out loud. They implied it.
And as sad as that is, I rest easy knowing I’ve lived a fuller life in college than I ever did in high school. I’m a little more sure of myself than I have been in years. I’ve met people who accept me and treat me with respect. I’ve gained a piece of my confidence back.
And slowly, but surely, I was able to find myself and be satisfied with who I am. In turn, I find myself feeling more accepting toward my LGBTQ brothers and sisters than ever before.
It was only a matter of time before I was comfortable with telling my parents.
December 7, 2019: it’s an important day for several reasons. Pearl Harbor day, my cousin’s birthday, Vespers was going on at Millikin, and that night, I added one more reason. We were on our way home from BW3s, and the same tension was starting to come back. My friends were by my side in spirit in Redzilla (Dad’s red truck). I told them I was bi.
To my relief, they said they still love me and accept me. They know I’m still the same person, and they would be happy with whoever I brought home to meet them. They didn’t even ask any questions. While anticlimactic, it’s still better than getting kicked out or being completely disowned by them.
For the longest time, I thought it shouldn’t matter what my sexuality is, so why even say anything?
I finally realized that even if what my sexuality is doesn’t matter to me, it will always matter to somebody else. I live in a country where I may not find housing or a job or anything any heterosexual person could easily get because of who I am. I can only hope things could get better with time.
In spite of all the danger, for me it’s good practice to come out. It’s kind of arduous, since it’s a continuous process. There’s always going to be someone who doesn’t know my sexuality.
But at the same time, it’s also rewarding. Sometimes when I come out to my friends, I find out they’re on the same side of the spectrum as me. It’s great to not be the only bi person in town. And the more of us there are, the more important it is to treat every one of us with respect.
I don’t want anyone else to feel like I did for the last two years of high school; feel like they have to fix themselves. I hope we have the courage to stand together.
I can only hope that they can take a page from Mister Rogers’ book. “There’s only one person who’s exactly like you, and people can like you exactly as you are.”