The first thing I wish I knew was that I liked girls. I truly had no idea until I was 11-12 years old, and it would’ve saved my parents a lot of money on dresses if at age 4 to 8 I had been like “I’m actually a huge dyke and I know that sexual orientations doesn’t directly correspond to clothing choices… But can I wear loose jeans and cut my hair short?”
But that’s not the way it happened. I didn’t start to accept my sexuality until I turned 15. No one told me how it was to come out, that people might react bad or simply how to be gay. Queer pop at the time was just Glee and some bad lgbt movies. Here are some things I wish movies or tv shows covered up when I realised that I was something else than straight, so it all wasn’t some big rainbow mystery to me.
1. There is no way to be a “true” lgbt member.
Sure, some days I wish there was an instruction manual with FAQ’s on different aspects of queer identity: how to ask if she’s giving off friend vibes or flirting vibes, how to come out to your family, or how to make one of those crazy beautiful rainbow cakes from pinterest. But if you’re looking for a guide of “how to be gay” you should know that that’s not a thing that exists. (If you don’t count 50% if tumblr). There’s no one way to be gay – and for that reason there is not something you can learn. It’s just how you already act. It’s important to know that there is not a “bad” way to be gay.
2. There is no way to test if you are gay.
This is embarrassing but true; when I was in seventh grade I heard a girl say that she “was like 30 percent gay” and for months I walked around thinking that you could take a medical exam to prove how gay you are in percent. (This is how little I knew!). Only you can know your sexuality, and that can be reassuring because it’s a deeply personal thing to figure it out, learn, accept and then become comfortable with it. But if can (if you are like me) be a frustrating thing where you end up repressing your feelings deep down until you drop a plate and cry for 20 minutes.
3. Dyke doesn’t equal lesbian.
4. You don’t have to come out if you don’t want to
I can feel like there’s a ton of pressure to come out from the media, because it seems like the “start of your life” in so many movies. The truth is though, if you are not safe in an environment to come out, you don’t have to do it. Even if people ask if you’re gay you don’t have to tell them, they shouldn’t really be asking in the first place. It’s not deceitful to keep something to yourself because of your own safety. Your sexuality is your own private information.
5. There will be different reactions when you come out.
Some people were truly excited for me, some people didn’t talk to me ever again and some people were like “Yeah… we knew”. Because for me I was like what!? You knew? You straight up knew before me? You couldn’t have CCed me through that conversation? I would have loved that information.
Anyway – people will react differently based on their experiences – so it’s not a super helpful to write down how the conversation might go.
6. There are more queer people than you think
There are a ton of queer people out there, even if they may not live neighbour with you. I was one of the only queer kids at my school and it was really scary to feel like I was the only one going through these things. Finding people online really changed how I viewed myself. Even when celebrities came out and talked about their experiences about lgbt I felt good about myself.
7. Things from your childhood will become clear
So many things became clear to me when I accepted that I like girls. That girl in my second year that I wanted to become friends with was actually a crush, it became clear to me why I didn’t care so much about talking to boys and I realised that I liked watching fashion shows because the girls were attractive and not because fashion was interesting.
8. 50% of the lgbt movies on Netflix are bad.
I don’t know how this happened but it’s true and it’s sad. I will not be satisfied with queer media until I can make my movie, the coming of age romantic meets thriller, Lesbian Edward Scissorhands. (Of course Kristen Stewart is playing the main character)
9. People do care
Coming out for some people are absolute no problem, and for some people it’s the most difficult thing in the world. It can be terrifying and change your life. If your close family and friends don’t take it well, just know that there are people out there that care about you – surround yourself with them. Some great resources are: The Trevor Project, The ACLU and The Human Rights Campaign.