Coming out as bisexual at any time is terrifying. High school is a time of finding out who you are and what you stand for all while worrying about grades, popularity and how you look. It's scary to open up to people and have them judge you based on one thing: your sexuality. Facing your friends, then family and then complete strangers in school was one of the major reasons that I put off coming out as bisexual until my last year. I didn't want to have to have the label of the bisexual kid following me for four years, but I also didn't want to hide who I was. So I never openly said who I was until my senior year, just avoiding the question. But there are a couple of things that I learned and went through throughout the years of hiding it and a year of being proud of who I was.
1. Hiding who you are hurts more than what other people say.
Going home at night and not being honest with your parents hurts. It may seem like the best idea to do, but it hurt so much in the long run. People can say things that hurt, but not being able to come home to people who understand why it hurts so much is such a weird concept. Coming out made it much easier to come home and tell my parents why it hurt and they understood it more.
2. People don't always react the way you thought they would.
I honestly thought that my parents would disown me and would be so angry. However, it was the opposite. They were incredibly welcoming and happy for me. I jumped to the worst possible conclusion because I was scared of the possibilities. I never considered that it would go well. My school accepted me with open arms and I gained many more friends who I would never give up. It helped me to realize that people are usually accepting of things and I am so glad that I graduated with such an accepting class.
3. There was such a big support system.
My high school has a massive GSA community, and coming out as bisexual gave me a huge support system. So many people who I didn't even know were coming up to me and saying they were proud of me. Yes, it was incredibly weird. But it also showed me that coming out was one of the best things that I had done my senior year. The support system when I was considering coming out to my parents helped me to come up with plans in the event it went badly. I will always owe a huge part of my happiness in my senior year to the support system I gained coming out. The advisor for our GSA is such a big role model for me, and she made sure that I was comfortable in my own skin, along with everyone else in her classes and in the hallways.
4. I graduated without regrets.
I graduated without wishing that I had come out. I am so happy that I was able to be open and honest with my classmates in the last couple of months with them. I was able to throw my cap being who I was and not having to hide the truth from anyone who was important in my life. The fact that I was able to teach other people about bisexuality without having to portray it like I was an ally was the best feeling.
5. I was a role model to younger classmates.
There were several underclassman who I took under my wing and was able to show them that sometimes, the worst thing in life does have a good ending. I aided one underclassman through their second year with the lessons that I have learned after coming out. Being openly bisexual also enabled me to teach them about how some things hurt people in different ways, and it was easier to talk to the younger classmates about coming out in high school and senior year.
6. People rally behind others.
It may have just been my class, but I always had someone who was willing to talk to me about anything. My class has always had the "family vibe" and when I was coming out to people, they were incredibly accepting and many of them offered a place to stay if my parents did end up kicking me out. They rallied behind the people in my class who are transgender and, when the underclassman were ripping down the butterflies that we hung up around the school, many of my classmates made more butterflies and hung them up where no one else could reach them, in support of LGBTQ+ students.
7. Who to thank for things.
The advisor for GSA was incredibly supportive and incredibly kind to me and everyone else in GSA. Before coming out and going to any meetings, I was so scared of her from the rumors around school that I tried to avoid her in the halls. I could never thank her enough for the acceptance she gave me and the willingness to fight for everyone's rights. She became so much more approachable to me because I wasn't scared of her because she isn't that scary (although her clicky heels are pretty scary). She didn't push anyone past their comfort zone, and I was able to finally able to find who I was with her slowly nudging me to be more active and more involved in GSA. I can't thank her enough, and I am so grateful for the lessons she taught me.
Coming out was terrifying for me. I was so scared that I would lose friends and my family would fall apart, but instead I gained a support system and my family grew stronger. Throwing my cap at graduation as myself was such a huge relief and while I probably won't come out as bisexual in college, I will always have a family in the Class of 2016. Coming out as bisexual was one of the best things I could have done for my wellbeing, and for my relationships.
Lead image credit; Norfolk Aggie, GSA Page