Tag Archives: Midlands

Love is Love

Diversity should thrill people, yet it doesn’t. Just as love and sex should fill people with happiness and excitement. I am sixteen, I have never properly be in love, I haven’t found the person I want to spend the rest of my life with – so how am I supposed to narrow them down by gender and age?

Gender doesn’t really come into play

For me, falling for people, relies on their character and humour, and when I kiss someone, gender doesn’t really come into play. If someone makes you feel delirious and tingly from head to toe…then go for it.
I am in a place where I would be proud and unashamed to tell anyone if I fell in love with a girl or a guy.

Love is for everyone

No words can quite match how love can make you feel and nobody should have to stop loving anyone because of what other people say. And that’s kind of why I’m writing, not because my story is inspirational or anything – but because love is for everyone, and I’m not willing to negotiate.

Some of them know, it’s not that bad

Around Christmas time 2015, I realised that I liked both genders. I told one friend and she recommended an LGBT account on Instagram. I joined and became an admin. Soon after I told my friends and I looked up different kinds of sexuality. All of my friends accepted me.

She accepted me

I was terrified of coming out to my mum, but I shouldn’t have been. It was hard at first, but now I feel like I have a weight lifted off my shoulders. She did say that I’m a bit too young to decide that I was bi, but she still accepted me.

I will tell them when I’m ready

The rest of my family don’t know, but I like it that way. I will tell them when I am ready.

It is not that hard. Just look past the fear you first feel and you will be fine!

Discovering Me

In year 8, I was in French and sitting next to one of my friends. I just thought of asking him out. I, a bit stupidly, did and he freaked out. I was also freaking out and I started reconsidering my sexuality. I just always assumed I was straight and was a bit scared. All the boys in my year didn’t seem approving of homosexuals as they always made sly jokes about them. In year 9, I finally realised that I was bi. I told some of friends but I tried to be discreet as I was unsure of the reactions. By the end of the week, everyone knew. They were all approving. I was slightly surprised but also relieved. Now in year 10, I’ve had my first girlfriend but still searching for the right guy. I’m only one of two out non-heterosexual people in my year so my chances seem small, unfortunately.

It’s not always so dramatic

I came out a little less then a year ago when I was thirteen, about a month after I worked out that I wasn’t straight. I’ve always been open minded and so I didn’t freak out or worry about my future, because I knew that it was natural. I knew that I wouldn’t allow people to bully me. I was secure in myself and that really helped me. The only reason why it took me a month was because I wanted to do it right. I wanted to come out to my family first, then my best friends and then organise a time when I could get all- well most of my friends in one place at one time and I did. It also needed extra organisation because one of my other friends wanted to come out at the same time. Support from friends makes a big difference. Did my friends reject me? No. Did everyone in the hallways stop, stare and whisper? No. Has it lead to horrible depression-inducing bullying? No. I know that my story is pretty unique but not all coming out stories are bad. I guess what I’m saying is the saying “it gets better” is a brilliant saying but sometimes “it” isn’t bad to start with. Be happy with yourself.

Realising you’re not who you thought you were…

Very few people’s coming out stories are easy. Those whose are are the incredibly lucky ones. I always knew my parents would have absolutely no problem with my sexuality, but that didn’t stop it being incredibly difficult to actually tell them. There was always there tiny thought in the back of my head that my parents would kick their then 14 year old son out of the house when he told them he liked boys and girls. I probably wouldn’t have told them until some years later, had they not noticed I’d been self-harming because of homophobic bullying at my school and online.

I was always more attracted to boys

At the time, I identified as bisexual. I was told by near countless people that “bi people don’t exist” and that “bisexuals are just in denial of being gay”. For such a long time I was determined to prove them wrong, and I was attracted to girls for some time after coming out. I was always more attracted to boys, the ratio being around 80:20 boys to girls. I only dated two more girls after coming out, and have exclusively dated boys since 2010 or thereabouts.

The people who told me that bisexuality didn’t exist did almost as much damage as those who told me I was a freak of nature and that I should die for being bisexual in the first place. Whilst I overcame those who bullied me with help from my parents and teachers, the unwillingness to change the definition of my sexual identity remained with me right up until June 2014, aged 19. I’d known I was gay for a long time before this, but denied it to myself and others, instead saying “I could have a sexual relationship with a woman, but not an intimate/emotional one”. I knew this was rubbish, the ratio of my attractions was now more like 99:1 boys to girls, but I didn’t want those who didn’t respect my sexuality to win. It was a very big deal to start openly identifying as gay, even something as simple as unticking women from my ‘interested in’ on my facebook profile took some doing.

It’s okay to change your definition

I live very happily as an openly gay man, and even just after being bullied I started doing charity work to combat homophobia. I didn’t have a problem accepting myself until people starting making me believe I was wrong, but the one thing I did have to learn was that it’s okay to change your definition of your sexual identity. At 14-16 years old I was terrified that changing said definition was to give in, but I’ve now learned that very few people care if you change it – as long as you’re happy with who you are and how you define yourself, that’s all that matters. I know it sounds massively clichéd, but it’s an absolute truth.

“Girlfriend?”

The first time I met China, we were both eleven, at the year seven open day. The first thing I said to her was ‘Oh, cool hairband!’ (as you can tell, I was a complete social butterfly). We quickly became friends, and formed out own little friendship group from there.There were four of us, or seven, depending on who you counted. By the time we finished our first year at secondary school, we were all very close.

But then, in year eight, one of our group left, and the others drifted – and China and I were left alone once again. We had friends, but not so much a ‘group’. We sort of flitted between circles, but this brought us much closer. This was when I first started to like China. In a romantic way.

She kissed me. And I kissed her.

The first time we kissed was at my house, at about half past nine at night, while an episode of Blackadder played in the background. By that time, I was confident in my sexuality – which at that time I called ‘I don’t know, but it’s not straight’. China said she wasn’t sure yet. She was sitting on my lap as we watched the show on my laptop, when she turned around, and rested her forehead against mine.
‘China?’
‘Mmh?’ She responded, eyes closed.
‘You okay there?’
‘Yeah. Just…Can I do something?’
I could feel my heart in my throat. ‘Sure.’
And she kissed me. And I kissed her. And that was the beginning.
The next day, when we hugged to say goodbye, I painfully awkwardly stuttered out; ‘Uhhh, girlfriend?’
She said yes.

It’s easier once you’ve come out

I didn’t really care for crushes in primary school. Everyone seemed to care about that sort of thing, I just held the opinion that it was stupid. Then in year 6, I began to hold this girl in really high opinion. She was pretty, kind and could sing (this obviously mattered to ten-year-old me). But I just thought it was a deserved appreciation, because of course girls couldn’t get crushes on girls. I never really knew LGBF sexualities were as common as I now know they are. I would say I actually started questioning when I hit high school. I go to an all girls school so I realised that these people were attractive to me. I was suddenly aware that sexualities other than gay and straight existed (mainly thanks to extensive exposure to internet).

I was 13 when I actually started using bisexual to describe myself to myself. It was also around then I began to believe that my parents’ attitudes to LGBT people weren’t exactly positive. I started to talk about sexualities and gay rights more. I read as much as I could, learnt as much as I could. I guess that I’ve probably changed some of my parents opinions.

I started self harming as a distraction

But sometimes my parents would actively say things against gay people (nothing big, just small things that I spun out of control in my head) or my brother would tell me he thought homosexuality was wrong and he thinks it’d be weird to have a gay sister. Having been surrounded by fairly accepting peers at school, I realised that a lot of people still were against it. I started to become sad and worried. I started self harming as a distraction, and that continued for a few months.

Then I saw that my family’s attitudes were changing – they said they’d be fine with their children being gay, as long as they were happy. They spoke out against bigotry in the news. I realised that I had been so insecure about my sexuality and their reaction I failed to notice that damn, they were pretty open minded. I got myself off self harming, and told my best friend that I had realised that I liked girls and I thought I was bisexual. I was happier than I had been in ages.

It became common knowledge and it was fine

At 14 I came out to my class. I say come out, it was completely unplanned and just sort of happened. How it played out was more than a bit weird. A group of classmates around me were talking about how me and my best friend should “totally get together”. A friend of mine (who knew) then said “aren’t you bisexual?” It could have gone either way really. I could have denied it, or I could use this to come out. So I said, “yes”. And that was that. It spread, it became common knowledge and it was fine.

I told my mum soon after, although she didn’t quite believe me. She thought I was too young to have any idea. A few months later I said I was serious, and she told me it wasn’t what she wanted for me, but she wasn’t going to make a fuss because it would be stupid to push me away for something so (comparatively) small. She has since become more accepting than I could ever have hoped.

I try to talk as openly about it as I can

For my dad, I couldn’t pluck up the courage to say anything. I just asked my mum to tell him so he could deal with it without me being involved. He did, and while I don’t think he particularly likes it deep down, he hasn’t said anything negative about LGBT people for a while apart from a slip of the tongue. My brother knows too, mostly because I try to talk as openly about it as I can.

At 15, I started use ‘queer’ now as a label, simply not knowing anymore (I don’t use that now due to issues to do with it being a reclaimed slur). I often felt that I may be gay, as men didn’t actually seem that appealing, but then I’d just end up confused. Now, in my opinion, you can use whatever label you want, or none at all – and if you come out as one thing, you can come out again as another if you realise something later on. I also dated someone at my school now, who was pretty, kind and could sing (which I don’t think matters as much to me anymore), and although we’ve broken up now I am still good friends with her. I’m openly LGB at school. People who know don’t care. I think a lot of things I picked up in what my parents said were minute things that I highlighted and was just the result of paranoia. I don’t worry about it anymore. I’m 16, love girls and am just going with it.

I went from depressed and suicidal to accepted and open in a few short years.

I realized that I was at least somewhat gay aged five, when I got a crush on my female teacher. She was about fifty and was covered in wrinkles, but I thought that she was beautiful and I was obsessed with her. I wrote her name in my notebooks, I thought about her all day, I smiled whenever I was in her presence. It didn’t take me long to search for ‘girl crushes’ on the internet and find out what I thought I was – bisexual.

They called me in to lecture me about how I was greedy and disgusting

Aged eleven, I decided to come out to my best friends.
“Please, don’t tell anyone else, I don’t think people will be very nice…”
Twenty minutes later, insults were spilling out at me all through the corridors. “Faggot.” “Carpet muncher.” “Lesbo.”
It only took another hour for my House Office to find out, and they called me in to lecture me about how I was greedy and disgusting, and how I deserved to be bullied for my sexuality. It took a week before I tried to kill myself for the first time.

Over the two years after that, the bullying intensified. I lost many friends, and every day I was treated horribly – followed home, beaten up, even sent death threats, all for being gay. Privately, though, it began to affect me less. At thirteen, I got my first girlfriend. We lasted over a year, and our relationship gave me a lot of joy. While I did try to kill myself again, the attempts grew less frequent and I had my last one aged fourteen.

Some of my family were not accepting, but other members were loving

Now, at fifteen, I’m okay. Since a whole bunch of other girls have come out, people have been forced to be more accepting, the teachers who picked on me aged eleven have left the school. Some of my family were not accepting, but other members were loving and accepted me. I’ve also had another couple of girlfriends.

I’m okay. You will be too, I promise.

It’s just a phase…until it isn’t

Growing up in a fairly aloof household, physical and emotional closeness have always seemed scary to me. When I was twelve years old, it got scarier. I’d had a ‘boyfriend’, but that wasn’t much more than hanging out after school holding hands. My relationship with Elise was different.

I wanted to be around her, I wanted to do whatever I could to make her smile. Most importantly, I wanted to understand what I felt for her. She was a friend, but every time I thought about her, there was a tug in my chest. It took me a year and a half to realize I was in love with Elise.

‘I shoved my feelings into the darkest corner I could find’

For three years after, I forcefully shoved my feelings into the darkest corner I could find. I never told her how I felt, because, after all ‘it’s just a phase’, right? It’s what all the movies said, what my family said, what Elise herself had said, to another friend of ours when he came out as gay. It’s not love, if you’re going to grow out of it – or at least that’s what I thought.

At twenty, I started to question that rationale. How could I still find myself attracted to both women and men, after eight years? Surely, I would have passed through that ‘phase’, after eight years. By now, I’d had a few serious relationships – with men. I was still staunchly refusing to believe that my attraction to women was anything more than a physical curiosity.

‘I couldn’t deny my feelings for Anna’

Enter Anna. I was finally getting over a nasty break up, when I met this wonderful ball of happiness. Discovering quite a few common interests, it wasn’t long before we attached the term ‘best friend’ to one another, and spent any and all free time together. Again, I felt that strange tug in my chest – by now, I knew that feeling.

I couldn’t deny my feelings for Anna, but I could keep them to myself. Our friendship continued to grow, over the course of a year. We’d even spoken about becoming roommates, to save on rent.

One night, not particularly different than any other we spent together, I found that I couldn’t continue to keep this secret to myself. It took me fifteen minutes of stammering, awkward analogies, and awkward pauses to tell Anna that I was in love with her. I explained that, while I had questioned my sexuality before, that something this strong couldn’t be called into question.

Anna, quite thankfully, understood why I hadn’t said anything previously. She knew what I meant about thinking it was a phase, about being fooled into thinking that bisexuality wasn’t a real thing. Not only had she lived it first hand, she’d had it thrown at her as an insult – ‘bisexuals are just sluts that’ll have sex with anything’ (another woefully common expression).

Fast forward another two and half years, and Anna and I are happily coupled, and proud of our sexuality.

Being curious is natural. Feel free to question yourself, to ask those ‘what if’ questions. Anything can be a phase, but it doesn’t mean it is a phase. Whether you’re homosexual, heterosexual, or something in between, don’t let anyone else dictate how you feel about someone.

 

Coming out doesn’t need to be a big deal

“Really?! I mean that’s cool and all, I just didn’t expect it. I’m glad you told me though.” That was the first reaction I got. I suppose it was a bit of a shock for them. I only asked them if I could tell them something and suddenly, whoomph, it’s all out there.

But they were supportive about it and that’s all that really mattered to me. My heart started beating REALLY fast after saying those words, and my palms got all sweaty but I was just nervous, I think. Not really scared.

It was a relief more than anything really. I could finally talk to someone about crushes and life that I might not have been able to talk about otherwise.

After that though, my sexuality – as well as my romantic attraction – changed definition and it was a LOT harder to, well, spit it out. So, now when I just say it I just slip it into normal conversation. Then if they ask, I’ll say it. For example:

FRIEND: WOW did you see that guy just then?
ME: yeah, what about him?
FRIEND: he was like, sooo hot!
ME: yeah he was attractive, I suppose, I’m more into girls myself really.

And then it was the whole “Oh really? Oh that’s cool”

And then the whole “So do you have a crush on anyone? Hmm?” (I go to an all girls school, which is… ‘nice’… if you get my drift.)

But really I suppose my point is, I never made a fuss about it. I never saw it as something to make a fuss about. It’s love, right? Or the lack thereof, in some people’s cases (asexuals/aromantics – in case you wanted to know).

And obviously, if you wanna tell your whole school and throw a huge party for it, go for it! I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t. Do whatever you want. Likewise if you only want to tell your best friend.

But don’t be afraid. There’s always someone – even if you don’t think there is – who cares about you and everything that comes along in the package of you. And most of the time more than one person at that.

But just be prepared to hear that “Really?!”