I identifity as a bisexual woman. In my early teenage years, I always had an inkling I wasn’t heterosexual. I never sought to figure out my identity until around age fourteen; I owe the development of the internet thanks for that. Before I discovered the plethora of online platforms we use today, I had no words to describe how I was feeling. I knew I liked men, yet I had crushes on women too. Did this mean I was gay? The internet is amazing for so many reasons, but something I used back then and continue to use it for today is finding others interested in niche fandoms. A main website for this would be one I guarantee all ‘gays’ have an opinion on, ‘Tumblr’.
For those who don’t know Tumblr is a blogging website where anyone can log on and make a blog post on a subject of their choice, often the result of a more nerdy fandom. There are also more serious blogs that choose to educate, rant or talk politics. It was on this site where I first heard the term ‘bisexual.’
It was confusing to grow up in the early 2000s and not see any representation for how I was feeling portrayed in the mainstream media. It left me with no other option than to niavely brush my attraction to the opposite sex away. In the same way people could appreciate a good piece of artwork, I assumed wrongly that was what was happening with me. “She’s pretty, I don’t want to be with her, no, I want to be her.” It wasn’t until secondary school that the urge to identify myself became important to me.
My friends both in person and online were developing quickly, finding romantic partners, coming out. People started asking me what my identity was as well, and more intollerant individuals took to calling me homophobic slurs for standing up for myself and my friends. I felt like I had to prove something, the comments stuck in my head no matter if they were good or bad, I needed to know what I identified as. A quick google search would change how I presented myself forever; suddenly everything made sense. Tumblr helped me understand the different types of labels and their definitions. Researching famous bisexuals through history made me certain of who I was. I googled quizzes late at night, such as, ‘I think I’m a lesbian but men are also attractive?’
Pro tip: if you’re googling ‘Am I gay?’ the chances are you are a little bit gay! Despite being out online as bisexual, in person was whole different story. To play it safe I came out to my friends, and whoever asked, as ‘bi-curious.’ My love for the online world coincided with my knowledge and education on LGBTQ+ culture.I learnt about the hardships my queer ancestors had faced and the hardships the community still faces today. I began to follow queer fashion trends as well as celebrities and icons, listening to LGBTQ+ artists. Through all of this I was adopting the culture as my own and carrying it on through how I presented in the outside world.
That’s why I feel it’s important to be a vocal member of the community today. Though my course and time at Falmouth I have been exposed to the media in a whole new way. As a journalist, it is my responsibility to make sure that we as a community get the representation that we need. If I had grown up and having had that representation that I feel I can provide myself now, I would have been able to label myself while still in the ‘questioning’ phase of my identity.
Not only that, but it is a part of who I am, it’s my history in the making. In a society that puts my human rights up for question I will not be silent when simply standing up and saying “I’m a bisexual woman” makes a difference.
It’s also important because I can offer protection and a safe place to others in the community. People knowing I’m out and proud might be enough to encourage them to be too - it’s something we've seen throughout time with celebrities like Harry Styles, Dan Howell, and Freddie Mercury.
While the internet has connected me to others, being out at Falmouth has changed my world. Despite how long I have been out online, there hasn’t been a single place I have the freedom I have felt here. I don’t know if I can say that it’s all down to how great the university is for the LGBTQ+ community or outside factors but I know I don’t have to be afraid. I can dress up, wear flashy clothes, do extravagant make-up and openly love all genders all while attending a 9am lecture.
And the best part? No one really bats an eye.
I hope that sharing my story encourages others to share theirs. There is always more to be done. Always more to fight for, no matter how free I may feel about my own identity. LGBTQ+ community whether that be online or in the real world is one that is accepting, no matter what age. If Love Simon taught me anything it’s coming out is no one's choice to make but your own.