Coming out: My Story
Sports and Wellness Editor
Coming out is hard regardless of whether it be relates to your gender identity or sexual orientation. On February 20th 2018, I finally accepted my sexual orientation as a bisexual individual. This was the part of a multi-year process filled with confusion, pain, and also excitement.
In grade eight, I was a happy young hockey player without a care in the world – besides a naive dream of making it to the National Hockey League. It had been a rough year, and I had been the subject of bullying and hazing among my team mates. One of the many slurs I was subjected to was “gay” and team mates often made jokes about me liking men and wanting to join them in the shower. Then one day things escalated drastically – before practice I was sexually assaulted by a team mate. It happened again on another occasion, and I went into a depressive whirlwind before I finally broke down to my parents one night. I am super thankful I had them as supports, but the event left me hurt, isolated, and confused. I did not enjoy what happened, but it opened my eyes to the possibility that some individuals liked the opposite sex, a notion that was foreign to me in the conservative town I called home.
I arrived at Acadia in a fresh environment free from my past connections and was free to create my own story. At Acadia, I could reinvent myself, or perhaps even find out who I truly was. On one of my first days here I met a transitioning trans gender individual who I eyed suspiciously. Today I am proud to call this individual a friend and am thankful for the exposure and advocacy they have gave to the LGBTQ+ community. Soon enough, I too began to question my identity, specifically regarding whether I was sexually attracted to both men and women; or in other words, bisexual.
The “gay” name calling greeted me at Acadia, and I was told time and time again that there was no way I could be straight because: 1) I was too nice 2) I dressed nice and did my hair and 3) I only hung out with girls. These were actual stereotypes I was met with, and I think its crazy that in 2014 (and today) people feel the need to label others. These labels made me confused because they were all true, but I wasn’t too sure about how I felt about men. For one, I was girl crazy, and had had a girlfriend all through high school. I could admit a guy was attractive because the majority of my friends were girls, and as such I had to hear about their crushes. Sure, I was also nice, but wasn’t that how you’re supposed to be? I may have dressed nice and did my hair, but I did this for me – not anyone else. How was this even relevant? Was I really different than other guys? The internal struggle of wondering how I felt, if it was okay to be gay, and how others saw me followed me throughout first year.
In second year, another break through occurred as I met an amazing man, friend, and mentor – who happened to be gay. This mentor taught me that not only was it okay to be gay, but it didn’t need to be confusing. He told me that figuring out your sexual identity should be about you and requires no timeline or approval from others. Your happiness alone is the most important thing, and the opinions of others do not matter. This individual took the time to listen to my stories and perspectives and was open about his experience which I found very reassuring. I was also exposed to a significant amount of gay and bi culture during this time, and I began to think that perhaps I was bi after all. I had a great relationship at the start this year, and I joked about my sexuality with this girl, but I couldn’t quite admit to her how I felt. I wish I had.
Fast forward to the present year, and I finally began to accept who I am. I’m lucky to have many LGBTQ+ friends and their courage and strength helped inspire me and guide me. After I became single I finally was able to force myself out my comfort zone, and I am proud to say that I have accepted who I am. It hasn’t been easy as I faced judgment from some peers, was questioned on social media, and even woke to a message stating “bi isn’t something you come out as”, but this just emphasizes the importance of sharing my story and advocating for LGBTQ+ rights. I am very fortunate to have supportive family and friends. For anyone who is currently questioning either their gender or sexual identity, I promise that it will be okay, and I wish you all the best in your journey. If you take the time to figure how you feel, and are confident, and focus on you then things will fall into place. We are lucky to attend a great school with a supportive environment. I too am here for you and am always available to talk. Thank you for reading my story, and remember – love is love!