|image from www.pexels.com|
I was a teenager when I consciously realized I wasn't straight.
Looking back, there were signs that deep down, I knew way before then. For example, when I was a child, my mother took me to the YWCA to swim, and when we were in the locker room with women in multiple stages of undress, I always got a funny feeling in my tummy. Also, as a young child, I adored a beautiful female family friend who was a few years older than I was, and looking back, I realize that I had a crush on her. I also really enjoyed giving hugs to my 2nd grade teacher because her breasts were so nice and soft.
But despite having these unexplained feelings, it wasn't until high school that I fully came into the conscious knowledge that I wasn't only attracted to men.
I went through a period during my teenage years where I feel in love with a girl and wondered if I was gay. I knew I was attracted to girls, yet I was also still attracted to boys. I had grown up in a very conservative, religious household, and had been raised to believe that there was a man out there that God meant to be with me. And all I really knew about gay people was that gay men liked other men, and gay women liked other women. I wasn't aware that a person could be bisexual or even pansexual.
I also didn't understand that people could be trans. I did, however, go through a period of time wishing that I could be a boy. This was also during high school, and in part, it was due to my wanting to be with a girl. I also wasn't comfortable in my body and had a horrible phobia of anything being entered in between my legs. Over time, I got over my fear, and I came to be more comfortable in my female body, but going through that experience gave me a greater appreciation, even if only a tiny hint, of what being trans might feel like.
Finally, in my 20s, I accepted that I was bisexual. And now, in my 30s, I now identify as pansexual.
For some of us, it's not a simple answer of knowing for sure what we are at a young age. For many of us, it's a personal journey of self-discovery. I write this post in honor of Pride month to say that wherever you are on your sexual/gender identity journey, your feelings are valid. Even if it's confusing, what you feel is real, and if you give yourself time, and you're patient with yourself, you will eventually come to know and hopefully embrace the unique person that is you.
Happy Pride, everyone!