I remember the first time I told my mom that I liked girls at sixteen years old, and one of the first things she said was “I mean Katy Perry kissed a girl, and she liked it sooo.” She wiped my tears, and we giggled. I still cried, but we giggled nonetheless. Back in high school, I thought I was just bi-curious and assumed it was a phase I would grow out of. Well, I was wrong. Though I went to a liberal high school, and my peers were pretty accepting of others, I just wasn’t secure enough in myself to come out. At the time, I felt as though I had an image & reputation to uphold: pretty, long hair, dancer.
Today, at 21 years old, I realize that sexuality exists on a continuum – it’s fluid. Not all women who like women have to be masculine with short hair. They can have long hair, and wear high heels too. Gender expression and sexuality are two separate entities. My fear of coming out stemmed from being put into a rigid category where people viewed me as the term “bisexual” and everything that comes along with that term, rather than Sydney. I would hear things such as “oh you’re just confused”, or “oh, you’re just a freak.” Or..I’m just human, no?
It amazes me how people equate the interest in both sexes with being confused. I know exactly what I like, both males and females, no confusion over here. It’s called self-awareness. If I marry a man, cool. If I marry a woman, cool. Truly, I appreciate my ability to give and accept love. I use the term fluid because my attraction shifts based on a number of factors, some of which I can’t even begin to explain nor have control over. But that’s the beauty in being human – having the freedom to explore sexuality.
I am not trying to say that everybody’s sexuality is fluid or that everyone has some level of attraction to their own gender, but I do believe that it is natural to have those inquiries. Going back to the sexual education I received in high school, sexual orientation and gender were not a part of that discussion. I received all of that information either from the internet, social media, or my friends – all of which are not reliable sources. Yes, my mother and I would talk about it from time to time, but this was before she knew that I was bisexual, so it didn’t seem like a dire conversation we needed to have. I hope that healthy conversations around sexual orientation will one day be taught in classrooms, because they are so important. Understanding that gender is a social construction and sexual orientation is not always dependent upon one’s gender expression creates more open-minded, educated, and accepting citizens. Granted, I am not taking such factors such as one’s religion or political views into account, but maybe it’s time we re-evaluate the curriculum. Like my mother always says, it takes all types to make a world.