I once thought, “I don’t want to be gay.”
Why should I not want to be gay? I cannot help the fact I am gay. I can’t change the fact I am attracted to females. Why can’t I just be straight? It would be so much easier if I were because then I wouldn’t have to ‘come out,’ worry about acceptance, etc. But why should I let society or myself deny me the fact of the love I feel inside my heart when I fall in love with a female?
My goal for 2016 was to try and be happy within myself, and part of that means accepting myself and loving myself for being gay. It’s part of me, and I am proud of that. I am lucky that I have family and friends that all support me. However, that doesn’t mean discovering who I am was easy.
Looking back now, I think I always knew I was gay, or that there was a possibility of me being gay. I’d had boyfriends, but at that age, they aren’t serious. The more I think about them, the more I feel like I was subconsciously looking for companionship rather than a relationship. However, I didn’t know that at the time and felt like I was in love with them because at 8-years-old, I really had no idea what love was. I refuse to let myself think that I ‘used’ them to figure out who I was, because until I was 16, I’d had these feelings, but I thought I was attracted to males.
I was 13 when I first had serious thoughts about being gay. However, I was not ready to accept that identity and did all I could to suppress it. Although I was very accepting of the LGBT community whilst going through the process of questioning myself, I was less accepting of myself than others. I thought I wouldn’t be accepted because there were many people who were homophobic. This hindered embracing how I felt. On the other hand, big developments have been happening for the LGBT community and if it was so wrong, why was gay marriage being legalised? I’d had a friend who tried to get me to come out, but I wasn’t ready to accept myself, let alone let others accept me. I found it challenging to deal with these feelings and thought it would easier to ignore them, so that’s what I did, or more to the point, that’s what I TRIED to do.
During years 11 and 16, I had to explore these feelings. The feelings filled such a big part of thinking space in my head that I had to do something. I had my GCSEs coming up, and all I could think about was my sexuality. My counsellor at the time told me that there was no way I was gay. I apparently just wanted to have close friendships with females and didn’t know how to do that. The best thing I ever did was ignore this ideology and have the confidence to go on and continue to explore how I felt. I spoke to teachers and friends, and they reassured me that it’s okay, and I was okay for feeling like that. However, I couldn’t reassure myself.
I then developed my first real female crush. I had liked females before, but this was the first person I felt serious about. I guess it was kind of a lightbulb moment, and I started feeling like I could accept myself. I couldn’t try and force myself to find guys attractive anymore. A lot of my friends were in relationships (straight ones), and they were happy, and I was happy for them. However, I couldn’t stop wondering why I couldn’t have happiness like them. I was never one for a committed relationship, always backing out before it got too serious. I was never interested in sex. Then I realised.
I AM GAY.
I AM A LESBIAN, AND I LOVE GIRLS, AND THAT’S OK.
- AJ Tennison