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LGBTQ Voices

How I Accepted My Bisexual Identity

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A person with short brown hair carrying the LGBTQ flag, carrying one with a Jewish symbol on it, outside of a building.
Philadelphia, PA

I realized that I was not straight at the age of 17. My best friend and I were very close to each other. Sometimes we seemed almost a little too close. When I first met her, I felt this strange attraction to her.

I did not think anything of it at the time. All I knew was that I wanted to be friends with her more than I had ever felt about anyone else.

I invited her to a party I was having at my house and when she agreed to come, I felt beyond overjoyed and excited. Much stronger feelings than I had ever felt about any other friendship.

As our friendship began to bloom and grow, we became closer and closer very quickly. We started hanging out almost constantly. We were completely inseparable.

We spent all of our free time together. We were extremely close, not only emotionally, but physically as well. We held hands, kissed each other on the cheek, cuddled at sleepovers, and the list goes on.

To me, this was all very new and different, but I didn’t really think twice about it. I just thought she was a touchy person. I thought this was how people acted with their true best friends.

We said, “I love you” all the time. We called each other “girlfriend” and joked about getting married. Thinking about this now, it’s all very obvious to me, but at the time I thought nothing of it.

I later learned that everyone around us thought very differently than I did. People began asking me if I had a crush on her, if she was my girlfriend, if I was gay, etc.

I would get very defensive and angry, telling them she was just my best friend. It took me months to realize my true feelings for her.

After that summer, I was finally comfortable identifying as bisexual.

I was extremely nervous to tell anyone at first because I was afraid they would treat me differently. I came out to my closest friends first, via text message.

None of them seemed to be bothered by it, but I was still very nervous. One of my friends invited me over the next day. I was so scared that things would feel weird and different.

Thankfully, she treated me just the same as she always has. I began to get more comfortable telling friends, but did not tell any family or adults.

It took me over two years later to finally tell my mother. I was nervous and scared even though I knew she would be accepting. I had convinced myself it wasn’t worth coming out to my family until I started dating a girl.

Thankfully, my family was accepting and did not treat me any differently. I did not have any negative experiences coming out, but I know of many people who have. I can only hope that everyone finds love and acceptance in someone, even if it’s not their family.

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LGBTQ Voices

How I Gained Self-Acceptance Through Queer Straight Alliance

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Author, in a maroon sweater, and grey cap in the mountains and overlooking a vast canopy of trees
Rochester, NY

I’ve come out to friends who know me well. Not family. It’s mainly because they probably wouldn’t understand bisexuality. They would think that you have to be either straight or gay.

I feel like they would consider it ‘just a phase.’ I’m at a stage in my life where I’m fairly independent.

My personal life is something that my family becomes aware of on a need to know basis. I don’t know if I’ll ever come out to them. Maybe someday, but not now.

In high school, I was pretty repressed. I went to a Catholic middle school.

The message there was that being anything other than straight means that you’re going to burn in hell. Even though, at that point, I was starting to question that doctrine.

Moving into high school, subconsciously, I think I still carried it with me. I was pretty sexually repressed until around the start of junior year.

I helped a friend, who was out at the time, start the Gay-Straight Alliance, later the Queer-Straight Alliance, at my high school.

By changing who I was hanging out with, I began to develop self-acceptance.

I realized it was okay to question these things. It was in senior year of high school that I started saying to people, ‘I’m figuring myself out, but I know that I’m not completely straight.’

I’ve always felt sort of weird about being a late bloomer. I do feel privileged in that I did eventually have the space to explore my sexuality. I know that’s not always the case for everyone.

We had a honeymoon stage where it seemed like LGBTQ people were having a lot more freedom to be self-expressive. It felt like there was this social progression for acceptance.

I think the Trump era has definitely reinforced the fact that this maybe not have been true. Although it’s certainly not the 50s and 60s, I think that there is still a considerable amount of struggle when it comes to being out. Especially depending on where you are.

There are pockets where people are very accepting. However, we still have a long way to go.

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LGBTQ Voices

How I Overcame the Expectations of My Family to Conform to Societal Norms

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Author, in a black sweater and red pants, standing against a railing overlooking a canopy of trees
Long Island, NY

Growing up in a conservative household, there was no room to be different or to speak out against the norm.

My parents expected me to be very traditional in all aspects of my life. They even originally didn’t want me to go to college. Instead, they wanted me to just look for a spouse right out of high school.

However, I am not very traditional and I have come to the realization that I probably never will be. Most of my friends are single and in their late 20s.

They do not have typical office jobs and many of them are in the LGBTQ community. Actually, being a part of this friend group is the main reason why I had enough confidence to come out.

Once I graduated high school, I was pretty lost. I was hiding my sexuality from my family for years and even tried dating the opposite sex to please them.

However, once I started going online more frequently, I started to meet people who had similar struggles and stories. This is where I was really able to speak out and make connections in the LGBTQ community.

Eventually, I was able to come out as a lesbian to my family with my friends’ help and support. While I was not accepted right away, I was still so relieved that I was being open and honest with my loved ones.

Personally, I really hope that our community can keep staying strong and speaking out for what is right. In recent years, I have noticed many more LGBTQ characters and figures being publicized in pop culture. This is wonderful for younger audiences, specifically so that they can be introduced to our community at a young age.

I personally appreciate TV shows such as Glee and Riverdale for their ability to use LGBTQ characters. Also, seeing same-sex marriages being legalized and promoted is really a great thing for our community. This really gives our community the validation it needs to keep making a difference in the world.

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LGBTQ Voices

My Journey Testing Out Different Labels for Myself

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Two wrists wearing rainbow bracelets.
Queens, NY

Growing up in the internet age with things like Tumblr and Twitter in my life as a teenager really helped me see that I was bisexual. On the internet, you can be true to yourself.

You can explore and discover who you are relatively safely. You can be anonymous to people you know in real life. That gave me so much freedom.

Because of the internet, I was able to test out different labels and see what was right for me. I identified as aromantic, pansexual, and lesbian. I eventually settled on “bisexual” as the best label for me.

I don’t use Tumblr anymore because it has many toxic ideas on it. Still, it really helped me as a teen trying to find myself.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I hadn’t grown up with the internet or if I hadn’t lived in a progressive city like New York. I think I could have lived my whole life repressing my sexuality and believing I was straight.

Being bisexual is so important to me. I’m so thankful for the environment I was raised in.

The LGBTQ community is incredibly important to me. Having a community like that helps me meet amazing new people.

I love going to LGBTQ+ events. This community is so strong, creative, and resilient. I’m very proud to be a part of that.

All of my close friends are LGBTQ+ too. Even people that I knew before coming out.

Having that in common brings us closer together. It’s something that we can talk about and bond over.

I’m not officially out to my parents but I think they know. They’re very open-minded so they wouldn’t care anyway. I’m out to my sister, she’s bisexual too.

With my friends, it was casual. Like I said, they’re all part of the LGBTQ+ community.

I knew they were LGBTQ+ before they knew about me. That made it really easy to just drop into conversation. Now we’re a big happy LGBTQ+ group, it’s great.

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