My coming-out story in a non-inclusive community

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Ira Tendulkar, Staff Reporter

I grew up in an environment where no one talked about the LGBTQ+ community so I always assumed it was “weird” to be different. Without the proper exposure, I didn’t even know about queer people until I got older.

While It sounds silly, I realized I was bisexual because of TikTok. TikTok is an extremely addicting app, but most creators strive to build a platform that is accepting and inclusive. TikTok helped me become an ally and I slowly started accepting the LGBTQ+ community. I still felt a strange sort of disgust towards them and I was repulsed by my reactions and my inner thoughts.

And then I started questioning myself. Was I gay? What did it mean? Did I like girls? Did I even like boys?

At that time, I believed that a person could only be attracted to one gender. So I could only be straight or lesbian, and honestly, I didn’t like either. I felt too gay to be straight, but too straight to be a lesbian.

I was torn between my thoughts and society’s prejudice. I ended up completely denying my attraction to girls.

I was thoroughly confused as there were so many sexualities and so much isolation: I didn’t have anyone to talk to. But then something new arose: bisexuality. Bisexuality is when a person feels an attraction to men and women. 

So when I learned of bisexuality, I felt as if a new light had been shined upon me, I felt accepted and the label felt right with me. For a period of time I was blissfully happy. I loved my sexuality and it made me feel more confident.

 I wasn’t ready to come out yet because I was afraid of what my parents and other people would think. I didn’t want to ruin my relationships with anybody. 

Yet, good things don’t last forever and my mom found the journal I was keeping during that time.  From then on, it went downhill. We didn’t talk about my sexuality other than slight remarks here and there, but the reaction and ignorance stuck with me.

 After my parents found out, I thought it was safe to come out to my friends, as I didn’t mind them knowing. They were, thankfully, fully accepting of me and I felt a little better from the whole journal fiasco. I didn’t believe that I needed to make sure everyone knew I was bi.  I didn’t mind if people knew or not, so I only told people if it was brought up.

And then reality came crashing down on me. I started hearing some pretty homophobic remarks like “Imagine being gay” and “Haha watching anime is gay”. The word gay was used as an insult, and people almost always seemed insulted by it. It made me feel just a little inferior and all those past intrusive thoughts came back. 

I eventually got over it, but sometimes I still feel ashamed for being bisexual. Internalized homophobia is real and isn’t something one can just get over. And the fact there is so little true representation of the LGBTQ+ community in the film industry doesn’t help either. 

Straight has become the default setting. People are conditioned to assume that the person they are talking to is straight unless they take the extra steps to come out. 

Even with the internalized homophobia and society’s judgment, I have accepted my sexuality. Intrusive thoughts will always be a problem, but a quote I saw a couple of years ago helped me realize that those are not my true thoughts.

The first thought that comes to mind is what you’ve been taught to believe and what society wants you to believe. But the second thought, the one where you say, “That’s disgusting to think,” is your true belief and your true personality.