What I Learned By Coming Out

Story By: Sadie Jordan

 

I am Sadie Jordan, a 16-year-old cisgender girl, and consider myself to be bisexual. I don’t necessarily have a coming out story like the ones you see in the movies. I don’t even know if you can classify it as coming out. It might not be as theatrical a coming out as Eugene Lee Yang’s but I still think it needs to be heard, dammit. So this is my story of getting pushed out of the closet, my first girlfriend, and what it all discovering my sexuality taught me about myself.

I think the first time I even thought about sexuality was in 4th grade. I have always been very affectionate towards my close girlfriends. We would hug and kiss each other on the cheek and other girls saw this and began to call us “lesbians.” I was immediately mortified because although I didn’t know much about what it meant to be a lesbian, it sounded bad. It wasn’t until I got to middle school and a couple of my friends (and my older sibling) started to come out as bisexual that I realized that it was normal.

Once I joined theatre in 7th grade, I met the girl that I will forever credit for making me realize my sexuality. After talking to her and discovering she liked girls, I developed a crush bigger than any crush I’d ever had on any guy. Although nothing ever happened between us, she will always have a special place in my heart. After meeting her, I knew I was some form of gay.

After thinking for a while I decided that I was, in fact, a lesbian. I told maybe two people in the span of a year but continued to date boys. I’m not sure why, but I had tried to convince myself that I didn’t actually like the boys I dated even though I knew I did like them. I guess I felt like once you had chosen a label to assign to yourself that you couldn’t go back, even if it feels wrong. By the time I got to high school, I considered myself to be pansexual but I had still only dated boys. At this point, I was completely out and open to everyone at school but I hadn’t told any of my family.

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At the start of Junior year, I managed to snag my very first girlfriend. I thought that as soon as I had an official girlfriend, coming out to my family would be simple. However, for whatever reason, I just wasn’t comfortable telling my parents about my sexuality. Our entire relationship, we would have to be very secretive while at my house. I still feel so bad that I put her through that and I applaud her for never putting pressure on me to tell my family about us.

My relationship with this girl came with a lot of firsts. She was my first girlfriend, my first real kiss, the first person I remained close with after breaking up, the first person I got back together with, the first person I snuck around with, and the first person I imagined a future with.

I grew up seeing a lot of coming out videos on YouTube. While most people might credit Ellen DeGeneres as their first gay celebrity influence, I had Ingrid Nilsen and Connor Franta. Over time I noticed that all of their stories seemed big and dramatic and emotional. They always began with the person saying that they always knew they were different from everyone else, but I never felt that way. I never felt like I had a big revelation that would require a 45-minute video to explain. With these stories being my only representation of what it was like to come out, I began to believe that the only way to let people know about your sexuality was in some dramatic and tear-filled way. I’ve never been one to make a scene so this belief turned me away from ever wanting to come out. I began to wonder why we were expected to come out in the first place. Why couldn’t we have just been born without the heterosexual label? So, being the moody teenager I am, I decided I would protest this heteronormativity by refusing to come out. I never felt the obligation of having to come out and make a big scene. I was completely content with the idea of never explicitly telling my family and maybe one day just showing up to a family reunion with a wife.

Just a few weeks ago I would have considered myself closeted, but now I say I’m “out” because now most of my immediate family knows. I remember when I first told my sister, Maggie. It was the summer of 2018 and we were parked in a Wendy’s parking lot eating some shitty food. I was talking about a girl that I liked and she just looked over to me and said “are you bisexual?” in the most casual way. I said something like “yeah, I think so,” and we carried on with our conversation. My other older sibling Rhian found out from something I tweeted the same summer and just straight up asked me while we were hanging out one day. I wasn’t necessarily comfortable talking about it at that point so I just kinda gave them an awkward smile and walked away. I have no idea how my dad found out but while we were talking on the phone recently, he said, “you dated a girl earlier this year, right?” to which I responded, “yeaahh?” so that was a nice surprise.

Surprisingly, my mom didn’t find out from the pride lanyard I wore or the “love is love” stickers on my laptop. She found out from my sibling accidentally bringing it up in conversation. When I found out that my mom knew, at first I was fine with it. I felt a sense of relief that I wouldn’t have to go through that big confrontational coming out that I was dreading so much. I no longer felt like I had to hide from my family. But after a day of thinking about it, I was actually pretty upset. I felt like I could no longer hang out with my female friends without my mom being suspicious of a relationship.

I think a fear that a lot of bisexuals and pansexuals have is feeling like having more of a preference for one gender over another will discredit their sexuality in some way. For me, I’ve dated mostly guys and I’ve only genuinely liked two girls, so I was scared that I might not be considered “gay enough” to call myself bi in the first place. But on the other hand, if I ended up with a girl, I felt like that might have made all my relationships with guys seem disingenuous. However, what I’ve learned is that sexuality is a spectrum and you are whatever you feel like you are. Labels can be helpful sometimes but there’s no need to confine yourself to a certain label if it doesn’t feel right. You don’t need to have “proof” of your sexuality because frankly, your sexual preferences are nobody’s business but your own.

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Luckily, I am part of a pretty accepting family. To my surprise, none of my family made my sexuality a big deal. I am extremely grateful to have had the coming out experience I’ve had and I feel for anyone who receives even remotely negative of a response to their coming out. Having the courage and pride required to be able to tell people unapologetically who you are is something that deserves to be celebrated, not belittled. No matter how you tell people, whether it be through saying it out loud, making a video, or writing an article for your siblings’ blog, your identity is something that should be celebrated.

Featured Images: Broadley-Vice, Huffingtonpost.com, Wikipedia.co

 

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