Editor’s Note: The following submission is from Kelsey Costa. Have an LGBTQ+ related experience or story to share? Having your article published on this site will automatically enrol you into a raffle to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Submit an article today via queerdeermedia.com.
[amazon_link asins=’B01F2CWLZC’ template=’ProductAdRight’ store=’ourqueerstories-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’62441fe9-8caa-11e7-8630-2f32a6268534′]The more comfortable I’ve become with my sexuality over the past two years has been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because I don’t hate myself anymore for not understanding why I am the way I am, and a curse, because it’s become so normal to me that it’s difficult to pass as heterosexual when I come home from college for the holidays. This is what rose suspicion in my mom, when I casually mentioned that one of the celebrities I admire is a lesbian.
I come from a very conservative Christian family, and that’s not to say that all Christians are conservatives, but when you put the two words together like that (adding the fact that we’re from South Carolina) it helps to imply that they believe in “traditional” marriage and think that homosexuality is a sin. I am a Christian and I am also LGBTQ+, so being one doesn’t mean you can’t be the other, but my parents do not necessarily think like that.
On December 11, 2016, my mother began to ask if I was gay. This isn’t the first time she’s done that, as she’s been asking those questions since middle school, but this time was different because it wasn’t so easy to lie and say I was straight, and when I was in middle school, I actually did think I was straight.
As she continued to ask her questions she kept adding in, “It’s okay if you are. It’s okay if you are,” to which I replied, “Kinda?”
I almost regret answering that way. I wish I had just said yes, because it would have been much easier for her to understand. But sexuality isn’t black and white like that, and I guess that’s just a difficult thing my parents are going to have to learn.
Let me clarify: I am bisexual, but I more often refer to myself as queer, because I’ve noticed that my primary attraction is to women. However, I still get attracted to men, but on very rare occasions. I haven’t gone into detail like that with my parents yet because I think they’re still holding onto the fact that MAYBE I’ll fall in love with a man someday, and I guess I’ll just let them have that for a little while.
I don’t think I found out what it meant to be gay until sixth grade or so. And I was told its definition through a tone of voice that made it seem taboo, so for years I walked around thinking, “I’m never going to be like that.” The problem was, I already was like that, but I came up with explanations for those parts of me because I was so deep in denial.
I could have figured it out in the fourth grade, when my strange infatuation with Vanessa Hudgens developed after watching High School Musical and then seeing a photo of her wearing a bathing suit in a magazine, which I couldn’t stop thinking about all day at school and I cried when my mom wouldn’t show me the picture again when I got home. Or I could have figured it out when I cried after watching High School Musical 2 the night it came out, because I so desperately wanted to meet her but didn’t understand why I was so upset, but somehow I knew people wouldn’t see it as normal even if I DID know why. Or I could have figured it out when I was an adolescent and would go on the internet and Google search photos of women with their hair wet because for some reason I thought they looked incredibly beautiful like that. Or I could have figured it out when I became curious about sex and went on YouTube to watch the sex scenes from movies, during which I only pay attention to the girl. Or I could have figured it out when I developed a crush on my best friend in 8th grade, which I justified by saying, “I just really care about my friends and want them to be happy!” even though I hated the boyfriends she had over the next two years (yikes). But instead I figured it out when I developed a crush on another friend but didn’t realize it was a crush until the beginning of my freshman year of college, when she got a boyfriend and I cried about it.
I haven’t explained these things to my parents yet because frankly I don’t think they want to hear about it. It’s been two days since I told them and so far things have gone much better than I expected. They are treating me normally and are telling me they love me regularly. They do still think it’s a sin and they do find it strange that I think that it’s normal to have sexual relations with a woman and they do think that I’m confused and my mom did cry when I told her but I think that in time they will come to realize that I’m not an abomination; I’m the same person with the same passion for cats and comedy and the same singing voice they’ve always loved and the same kind heart they’ve always wanted me to have. I just love a little differently than they thought I would, but I feel that there’s room for them to grow and accept all that I am. I think there is room for everyone to grow.
Things could have been much worse, but I’m very lucky with the way things have turned out thus far, considering the circumstances. My advice to anyone questioning is this: acknowledge the fact that you’re questioning and allow yourself to feel the way you feel. With how I was raised, I thought I had to repress any romantic or sexual feelings for the same sex, but that just led to a lot of anxiety and depression and contributed to the insecurities that led to my eating disorders.
Challenge societal norms. If your friends offer support, take it. Witness others living authentically. It’s not a good thing to idolize other people (I’ve learned that the hard way) but if you admire somebody like a celebrity who has gone through something similar, find solace in the advice they give. Two people who helped me in my times of uncertainty were Hannah Hart and Kate McKinnon. Hannah Hart, because she’s openly gay and has gone through more than I can possibly imagine, but has had the strength to rise up and become one of the most famous influencers on the internet, and Kate McKinnon, because she’s been out ever since she was 12 years old, is the first openly gay female cast member on Saturday Night Live, and has been able to defy expectations of traditional comedy because of her pride and certainty in who she is. Not to mention that both of these people have jobs in comedy, which is a dream of mine that I’ve always had but thought I had to push out of my head.
Please always remember that every person experiences the same things differently. Regardless of who you are and how you love, you are worthy of respect, and you have the right to call out anybody who does not give you that respect. It may be a long and tough process but you’re strong enough to work through it. Find yourself a support system and be a support system for other people, as you can have a larger influence on people than you realize. You are the only one who can define yourself, but to define yourself, you need to find yourself. And that will come with time.