It is already difficult enough to be oneself in this world, at a time when hatred prevails and compassion and love are languages forgotten. Although the world is slowly normalizing difference and choosing to celebrate diversity, there is still a long way to go before we can eradicate all the hatred and intolerance. So, when someone is LGBTQ+ in a society that is strictly conservative and hetero-normative, it becomes a challenge to act like yourself.
Growing up in my country, I was never exposed to anything that wasn’t hetero-normative. Boys and girls are made for each other. Marriage is between a male and a female. There are only two genders. That was all I had ever known in regards to gender and sexuality, and all I had ever seen. I didn’t even know that other types of love and feeling like you don’t belong in your body were a thing.
As I started 6th grade, I was first exposed to the word ‘gay’ and discovered what it meant. I found it odd, but not disgusting or bad. I thought it was weird, sure, but I never thought that it was morally wrong. However, everyone around me used it as an insult. They considered it to be gross and laughed at people who were gay. Since I was insecure at the time and wanted to be accepted by my peers, I started using it as an insult too.
In eight grade, I had become pretty normalized to all this LGBTQ+ stuff. I still didn’t know about the smaller terms–like asexuality and pansexuality–but I knew the basics. I still found it slightly odd but I had moved pass the stage of using the terms as insults. I defended the community at whatever chance I got. I knew some queer people myself, so I did get offended when people used those terms as insults. I still remember the first time I had questioned my sexuality and told my friends about it. I thought I was developing a crush on this girl I’d met online, and I jokingly asked my friends, “What would you do if I was bisexual?” They laughed with me, and asked me if I was, and I said, “Nope, I’m as straight as a pole.”
In ninth grade, when I was at my most religious point, I started becoming homophobic. I was against the LGBTQ+ community now. I wasn’t violent with my views, I didn’t enforce them upon anyone, but I just began to think it was morally wrong. I also noticed that I hated topics of sex. My friends talked about it a lot, and I’d isolate myself from them when they did so, because I just could not talk about it. They told me I was strange and broken and that that would change on my wedding night, but I disagreed. I was uncomfortable with the idea of it. I didn’t like reading about it in books, I didn’t like seeing clips of it, I had no desire to have it with anyone ever, I just hated it. I was fine with other people doing it but me, personally engaging in something related to it or the act itself? No thanks, I’ll pass. And that is when I came across a fateful instagram post, talking about asexuality. I read it, and related to every single bit of it. I remember going, “Me, me! That’s so me! I’m not the only one who feels this way!” Then I realized that the account that had posted it was an LGBTQ+ account. It dawned on me that asexuality was part of the very community I was against. The one community that would accept my feelings and tell me they were valid, and that I wasn’t broken…I was against it.
I drifted away from religion involuntarily, and before you knew it, I was comfortable with my sexuality and I became a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, seeing as how I was now a part of it. Many people here still don’t understand asexuality, and the ones I have told I’m asexual to don’t believe me because I like kissing my boyfriend. Not to mention, people believe that when you get married, you’re going to have to provide your significant other with sex whenever they want. I’m just lucky to have found a guy who wants to marry me, and who doesn’t mind having little to no sex.
In tenth grade, I started questioning my sexuality even more. I noticed that I felt very attracted towards girls. I thought everybody was that way, until one day when I was with my friends and I commented about the stunning appearance of some other girl, and my friends looked at me weirdly. I asked them if they’d ever felt that way before about someone of the same sex, and they said no. So I began to question myself. I spent months and months thinking about it, I had no peace of mind. Was I bisexual? I didn’t know.
On November 18, 2016, I researched a lot on bisexuality. I discovered the similar term–biromanticism–and realized that I am biromantic. I repeated it to myself for a few times, letting my mind process this, and then I immediately came out to my best friends and boyfriend. All of them were supportive and didn’t care about it at all, only my boyfriend was worried that I’d fall in love with some girl and leave him, which I assured him wouldn’t happen.
Being biromantic in this society is hard. I can’t tell anyone except for my close friends. People would make fun of me and isolate me. They would say I’m going to hell. They would hate me. So I have to hide it everyday. When I develop crushes on female celebrities and started publicly obsessing over them, I have to tell people that I’m just a fangirl. That that celebrity is my role model. I can never say that I romantically love them.
In the past year I have educated myself on the LGBTQ+ community. I am a raging supporter of it, I try my best to make everyone feel validated and I have learned about the smaller terms as well. Being a part of this community has also made me more open-minded, tolerant, and accepting. I am extremely grateful for that, and blessed to be a part of a community that only projects love on one another. I can only hope that one day the entire world will be more accepting of this, realize that love exists in many forms, and fight to change the conservative views. After all, love is love.