I dream of a world where ‘coming out’ is an obsolete idea. Where people shouldn’t have to worry about being different. Where you can love whoever you want and be yourself.
Sadly, we don’t live in a world like that.
It’s how I spent nine years in the ‘closet’ – a dreadful term used to describe those who are gay, bi or trans, and not out.
When you’re closeted, you feel like the whole world is against you. You fear rejection and abandonment from those you love – your family, your friends and the people you see in your day to day life. It’s a fear you live with until you embrace who you are. You fear being assaulted or even killed on the street for simply holding hands or kissing your same-sex partner.
Even though the United Kingdom has full LGBT+ rights, and society is generally accepting, homophobia is still rife.
I spent my teenage years suppressing my sexuality. I am sexually and romantically attracted to both men and women – bisexual, to put a label on it. Every time I felt sexually attracted to a male, I shook it off, trying to convince myself that it was just a phase I was going through. I started hating myself for feeling the way I did, therefore impacting my mental health. I tried not showing it, not fully being myself.
I was never proud. I felt ashamed, embarrassed and I couldn’t tell my parents in fear of being treated differently. It is an awful struggle that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
On Good Friday, I took the chance. My mental health was deteriorating and I started having toxic thoughts. I couldn’t keep it to myself anymore, so I told my family. Then eventually, everyone on Facebook.
I was terrified as soon as I clicked ‘Post’ and a dozen questions kept going through my head as I watched the comments roll in.
How were people going to react?
Who would turn against me?
Would the people I love treat me differently now that I’m out?
But fortunately, all of my fears were proven wrong. I received a phenomenal amount of support from everyone I love – my family, friends, colleagues and people I went to school with. I have been accepted by everyone in my life, and I am extremely lucky. Not many LGBT+ people receive that, so I counted my blessings.
This is what should happen. No one should ever fear about damaging their relationships because of who they are. It’s not something we choose, we’re born to be who we are. Yet society has historically conditioned us to feel ashamed.
If you don’t have to ‘come out’, consider yourself lucky.
It’s not as easy as you think.
My family and friends’ support means the world to me. 9 years ago, I would’ve never imagined receiving so much love after revealing who I am to the world. It was a foreign concept, but I know now that my fear clouded my judgement of the people around me.
No matter how bad life gets, or how much biphobia I encounter for the remainder of my adult life, I know I will never be alone. I have a lot of people on my side, and I am incredibly grateful for the acceptance and love I’ve gotten over the past couple of days.
I have closed that dreadful closet, and to all the LGBT+ teens who are frightened of coming out, please remember – you are not alone. Your sexuality does not define who you are.
For the first time in my life, I can say I am bisexual and be proud of it. And mean it. And for all the LGBT+ people reading this right now, I hope you can say the same too. You are valid. You are loved. You are you. Don’t forget that.