Growing up, I always felt like I was somewhat out of place, and understanding my feelings was a big challenge. I was bisexual and afraid to talk about my sexuality.
At the age of 14, I knew something was starting to change. I would look at a boy, and I would think he was cute. Then I’d look at a girl and think the same thing – but I was scared to admit it. I was scared to even let myself think that I could find a girl attractive in more than a “she’s just a friend” way.
I grew up in a community where LGBT+ was never brought up. I always thought to myself, ‘girls date boys, boys date girls and that’s just how it is.’
The Catholic religion was instilled in me from the moment I could understand what religion even meant. Until university, my entire education up was done within Catholic institutions, meaning I was never told what being gay meant and it was never spoken of.
In the small town I grew up in, no one in my circle came out and admitted to being gay, never mind bisexual. This alone made it harder for me to realize that it was okay to be attracted to both men and women.
For a long time, I made myself believe that my feelings weren’t right, that I was just confused. I was never directly told that being gay was “bad.” But after years of going to church with my family, hearing and learning things about the Catholic community, I always felt like it was somewhat implied.
I started to struggle a lot with my self worth in Grade 11. For years, I had been repressing this feeling that I had towards girls, who were only supposed to be my friends.
That’s what I kept telling myself, they are only friends.
I’d always get asked, ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’ but never ‘Do you have a girlfriend?,’ and that simple difference would make me so upset.
I would sit and ask myself questions like: “Why is there such a clear difference between having feelings for a girl, and having them for a boy? Why can’t I like both? Why do people care?”
As I got older I found myself slowly drifting away from my friends that were girls and starting to surround myself with more guy friends. I still had one or two girls in my inner circle that were my closest friends, but it would never stretch beyond that.
I felt safe when I surrounded myself around guys because I was afraid of my feelings when I was around girls. I was afraid because I didn’t know what my feelings meant. It didn’t mean that I had feelings for every girl I walked by or hung out with. That’s not how it works. But I knew something was different; I felt different.
By the end of Grade 12, I was tired of feeling trapped inside my mind. I was tired of not being able to talk to my friends about the girl I found cute.
When I told friends I was bisexual, it was the biggest relief I’d ever felt. We were at a cottage celebrating our graduation from four years of social hell, when I blurted out, “hey, I’m bi,” to everyone in the room. They all looked at me. Someone said they knew it but without hesitation, we all went on with the night like nothing happened.
Coming out to my family was a different story. I was talking to my mom about my sister who, coincidentally, is also bisexual. I was telling her about how she can’t be pressuring her to talk about it, and asking her things when she wasn’t ready.
She turned and looked at me and said, “Kayla, are you gay?” and I went, ‘No, I’m bisexual.’
The seconds after I said those three words, were the longest in my entire life. My parents have always been supportive of me, but you never know how someone is going to react. You always have this fear for the worst, because you know it’s not something that is widely accepted.
My mother went on to explain that it would be fine, and that my dad had always thought I was gay. Apparently, me hanging out with only guys for a solid 3 years and never having a boyfriend was a dead giveaway.
Although my story isn’t long, sad or traumatic, there’s a few things people need to take away from it.
When you come out, it’s important to consider all circumstances. You should always feel safe in telling people something like this, because to some, it is a big deal.
Some people are going to react badly, and some people are going to act like it’s no big deal. The bottom line is, you must be prepared.
Please, don’t ever put yourself in a position of danger. Please, don’t ever feel like you have to come out. You can come out whenever you want, and no one should ever pressure you to do so. It is always your decision, and yours alone.