My coming out story

Two year ago, I came out by writing an article for the Spartan Daily. There have been many things I have struggled with over the past ten years, including my sexuality. I decided I had no reason to hide, no reason to not be true to myself. I am lucky enough to have people in my life who accept me for who I am, but not everyone is in that situation. It’s easy to say JUST COME OUT but what about those who live with a family that demonizes their identity? It’s not safe. If you’re not out, don’t feel ashamed, don’t feel like you somehow hate yourself because of it. Come out because it’s right for you.

Here is my 2014, award-winning article: “Coming out to make change”

I remember the first time the thought of being attracted to women crossed my mind.

I dismissed the thoughts because I figured thinking a woman was attractive did not make me a lesbian.

Girls were always telling each other they were pretty without thinking they were flirting with each other.

Throughout high school and into college, I found myself attracted to men and women.

Earlier this year, “Juno” star Ellen Page came out as a lesbian.

On February 14, during a speech at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s “Time To THRIVE” conference, she said, “I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission.”

Similar to Page, I spent years hiding and lying about myself because I was scared to be out.

Page also said her spirit, mental health  and her relationships suffered because of her secret.

“And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain,” she said during the speech.

I never realized how scary coming to this conclusion could be, especially when there are so many people who are against people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.

It also scared me because of how many social stigmas I already have as a black, overweight woman.

A social stigma is a belief shaped by a dominant group of people who influence societal attitudes that look down on those labeled “different.”

Already being discriminated against for who I am is stressful, and the idea of adding “bisexual” to my life resumé caused extreme anxiety.

When I was 18, I vowed I would be a genuine person.

I categorized things I felt needed fixing: my mind, my body, my hair and my relationships.

I concluded that if I worked on these flaws, it would make me a better person.

One of the biggest things I have ever done is admit to myself who I really am.

I am attracted to both men and women … and it is perfectly normal.

According to its website, Advocates for Youth champions efforts to help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health.

The website featured an article called “Bisexuals: An Invisible Majority” by Keziyah Lewis.

The article discussed that even today, people still insist bisexuality does not exist.

The San Francisco Human Rights Commission’s Advisory committee put out a report called “Bisexual Invisibility: Impacts and Recommendations.”

The report states that a bisexual orientation speaks to the potential, but not requirement of, involvement with more than one sex/gender.

Bisexuals experience high rates of being ignored, discriminated against, demonized, or rendered invisible by both the heterosexual world and the lesbian and gay communities.

Often, the entire sexual orientation is branded as invalid, immoral or irrelevant.

This Saturday marks the 26th Anniversary of National Coming Out Day.

This day is observed as a reminder of the influence of coming out.

The whole month of October is LGBT History Month.

The tradition is to celebrate the achievements of 31 lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender icons.

The 2014 icons include comedian Margaret Cho, singer Frank Ocean and boxer Orlando Cruz.

Every person who speaks up changes more hearts and minds and creates new advocates for equality.

Being true to myself has been one of the biggest reliefs in my life.

I should not be afraid of my identity.

The problem America has always had is not accepting people for their differences.

Our differences make us unique — they make us human.

Most people do not know about my sexuality, so this article is essentially my official coming out.

Bisexuality is not a phase or a pit stop to being gay or lesbian.

Bisexual people are not indecisive or promiscuous.

Coming out matters because we still live in a heteronormative society — society that views heterosexuality as the “default” sexuality.

The Human Rights Campaign stated that when people know someone who is LGBTQ, they are far more likely to support equality.

Every person who speaks up about his or her sexuality creates compassion, which generates new supporters for equality.

We need to educate people around us about different sexualities, especially ones misunderstood, namely bisexuality.

I’m proud of who I am and I know I have a long way to go when it comes to finding myself.

I’m now not ashamed to say I am bisexual.

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