|Posted by Alyssa.fenix on July 8, 2014 at 9:45 AM|
Dear 19 year old Heather,
August 2003 will introduce you to someone who will change your life forever, you will meet one of your dearest friends this year; someone you will still know and love in ten years. Your best friend from college will be a gay man who has known for years that he loved other men and while you know what the term homosexual means, you don’t know how much it will mean to you. Through your best friend you’ll be introduced to the LGBTQQIA community at Towson University and for the first time in your life you will actually start to think about and vocalize feelings that you had previously pushed aside. You will revel in a new kind of freedom, one that allows you to not only be honest with yourself but to be honest with others. You won’t feel pressured into not liking or loving someone just because of their genitalia. You will come out as bisexual and be LOUD and PROUD to anyone and everyone who will listen. You’ll love men, you’ll love women and you will thrive in this new found identity. You’ll hear the jokes about bisexuals not being able to make up their minds, or that you’ll be gay one day it’s just a matter of time and they will roll off your back without much of a second thought. Your time in college will be wonderful and you’ll be secure and unapologetic for who you are.
After college you will be in a long term relationship with a woman while navigating a new world of responsibilities and expectations. You’ll get a job and you will wonder if you should come out to your co-workers but quickly realize that quiet and hidden just isn’t your style and you’ll talk about your girlfriend openly. You’ll work in a school environment with open minded co-workers who don’t really care who you go home with as long as you have your work done at the end of the day. It will be a relief because you will have heard any horror stories about people being discriminated against because of who they are, you’ll be a lucky one who can be themselves wherever they are.
Once you’re settled at work and happy at home you’ll begin to think about who you are now and while no one will ever pressure you about your label you will begin to question yourself… “if I’m with a woman for the rest of my life am I still bisexual or would I be a lesbian”, “bisexuals get a lot of flak for their identity maybe it would be easier to just pick one side or another”, “why do you need a label at all why can’t you just be”. These questions will roll around your mind from time to time and cause you some anxiety because you will want to fit in somewhere and you’ll want the security you feel from a label but you won’t really have those answers so you’ll just try to avoid a label.
After almost 2 years together your relationship will end and you will very quickly be blindsided by someone new. You’ve seen this person through mutual friends for a few years but you aren’t formally introduced until then and you will quickly begin something with someone who is transgendered. You will fall in love with him as he is not because he was born female, not because he is a man but because he is an amazing person who makes you feel happy and special and complete. In your time together you two will discuss labels and identity, and realize that the pressure you put yourself to pick a label was unnecessary. You’ll realize that love is what matters for you, some people only love men or women but you just love. You’re not really straight, gay or bisexual and that’s ok. As time goes on you realize that “queer” fits, it doesn’t’ feel restrictive, you don’t feel locked into anything it just seems right. Through that acceptance you found and married the love of your life and found more important things to worry about like: rent or own, kids or pets (or both) and what to make for dinner
If I knew then… that picking a label would cause me so much stress I would have tell myself just to go with my heart, don’t get caught up in straight, gay or anywhere in between. Love who you want to love and enjoy the journey, you will wind up exactly where you need to be when you are supposed to get there.
Almost 30 year old Heather