Growing up I always felt a bit different, in many different ways. It was when I was about 17 when I started questioning my sexuality, but because of fear and anxiety, I kind of closed that thought off for another few years and refused to think about it. When I was about 20, I revisited the thought again, and while still anxious and unsure about it all, ‘bisexual’ seemed to be a term that fit best (although I’m not a fan of labels), and still does, for now anyway.
Being inspired by others
I joined a Facebook group organised by an Irish LGBT+ organisation, and reading the posts I saw that there were a lot of people who felt how I did; nervous, anxious, scared. But I also saw many, many people who were out and proud of who they were, who were so unapologetically themselves, and I drew a lot of inspiration from that. Growing up, anything outside of a male-female relationship was practically unheard of, and while it is improving, the Bi representation in media still leaves a lot to be desired!
Embracing my sexuality
I “came out” to a few close family members, and some friends, but that was it for quite a while. However, when I joined organisations like the SpunOut.ie Action Panel, and when I went on a J1 at a camp in the US, I made many new close friends, and I started embracing my identity as more of just a fact about me that people gradually found out, rather than having to “come out” every time I met someone new or when I got to know them better.
I recently came out to some members of my extended family, through text as I felt that was the easiest way for me to do it. Watching the ‘typing’ notification on WhatsApp has really never been as anxiety-inducing as those moments! But in the usual fashion of most of my family, it was lovingly accepted and pretty much a “non-issue” really, just another part of me to love. I then sobbed for about 20 minutes out of sheer relief!
Supportive people in my life
Knowing how supportive my family and friends have always been about absolutely everything, it seems kind of strange now to think that I was so terrified of telling them, but it is a very normal and real fear at the time. Your mind begins to immediately jump to the worst-case scenario, and the “what ifs”. But in reality, it was such a huge relief, and an amazing feeling of not having to hide part of who I am anymore. They reacted so positively, and so lovingly, and it didn’t change a thing about how they saw me.
I know that not everyone is as lucky to have a family or group of friends as supportive as I do, but if you’re thinking of coming out, hopefully you do have someone in your life you’ll feel comfortable saying it to. This experience has made me so grateful for the circle of amazing people I have. Most of all, I’m getting that bit closer to being happy to be me.