My Sexuality: A Personal Journey
For me, coming out was a personal journey, where I more came out to myself rather than to the people around me.
Growing Up With Acceptance, Tolerance & Inclusivity
A Neighbourhood of Equality
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a community that was very open minded & non-judgmental towards people of different races/sexualities etc. My neighbours until I was about 12 (& the owners of my favourite cafe) were a gay couple, & still the best neighbours my childhood home has ever had. I'm still a little heartbroken that they sold the cafe & moved to the city.
Through school, most of my friends were LGBTQ+ or experimenting, so when I first found myself attracted to women, I was confused, because I didn't know if it was legitimate or if I was projecting or if it was me "trying to be cool." Or even just misinterpreting my appreciation for another woman's body as sexual attraction.
Coming to Terms With My Own Sexuality
I spent a lot of time as a teenager doubting myself & doubting my feelings & doubting my place in the LGBTQ+ community that I'd thrown myself into & it caused me a lot of emotional issues I tried my best to keep to myself. I hated myself a little for a while, calling myself bi when I didn't even know for sure if I was & making up scenarios in which I realise I'm just straight & have to deal with telling people who already knew me as being bisexual.
The Pressure of Labels
I think a fair bit of it came down to this invisible pressure I made up to label myself as quickly as possible, as well as my really sparse history of crushes. I'm a romantic at heart, but when it comes to romance involving myself, I don't know where I stand. I've never been in love, & I can probably count on one hand the people I've had genuine fluttery feelings for. I'd never even had a crush on another girl until I was 20 & kissed one for the first time.
I don't think there ever was a defining moment where I knew for certain I was bisexual. Kissing a girl & that night in general where I found myself really hoping I wasn't imagining the looks she was sending me had definitely helped my certainty.
But I think I knew for certain before then. Or maybe not even then. Honestly, even now I'm not sure if I'm actually bisexual & not just pansexual. I've decided to just take my sexuality in stride & be pleasantly surprised if new things emerge.
I don't think I'm the only person who has ever felt pressured to label themselves or to know who they are as quickly as possible, I think it's far too easy to feel that pressure. It's along the same wavelength as knowing what you want to do when you graduate... sometimes people know right away, sometimes it takes a while. I don't think it matters if you know what your sexuality is. Sexuality is a confusing & complicated thing sometimes & it works differently for everyone, even if just in minute ways.
My "Coming Out" Story
I wonder sometimes if I should have waited to come out to my friends until I was a little more certain myself, but I've always had a problem with over sharing & telling people things I would rather they didn't know & kicking myself about it later. I speak before I think, luckily I've gotten better at that with age.
The first person in my family I ever came out to was my older brother while we were driving from my mum's place to my dad's to visit for the weekend. My brother has always been a little naive about these things & peppered me with questions (& still does sometimes), but overall was completely chill & accepting. That was the only time I ever really felt nervous about coming out, because other than my tiny group of LGBTQ+ friends, I'd never really told anyone before.
I technically still haven't told my parents, though I'm certain they both know by now, & my dad's wife has made it clear through our conversations about sexuality that she definitely knows I'm not straight. I didn't not tell my parents because I thought they'd take it badly.
My mum has many people in her circle of close friends who are gay, & my dad still sometimes talks about Adam Lambert (who was our combinedfavourite during our American Idol phase in 2007-9) & how "you know the only reason he didn't win is because he's gay, right? Ridiculous!" He's truly passionate. & just the other day he gave a truly inspiring speech (rant) about his opinions on the postal plebiscite.
I've just never been the sort to have those kinds of conversations with my parents.
I still get weirdly shy when my mum tries to talk to me about romance & my dad prefers to talk to me about other things. I've considered telling them before, but never actually went through with it.
Being Honest About Who I & Living My Truth
I think for me, so long as I feel like I'm being honest with who I am to myself, I can be honest with who I am to the people in my life who I care about. I just hope we can get there for everyone. I might not have experienced prejudice directly, & I'm so amazingly fortunate & grateful for that, but so many people do & while we've come a long way, there's still a long way to go & a lot of people who think they have any right to vote 'no' on love.
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About The Author - Alex R
Alex is a 20 something year old living in Sydney, Australia. She works in animation/design/illustration & enjoys all things photography & contributing to LGBTQ+ media as much as she can.