I don’t know exactly who I thought coming out was for, but I was certain that it wasn’t for me. It’s hard enough to simply find a grasp on your own queer identity, let alone deal with all of the external factors that can come with it. Between the fear of how others would react and my own misguided inhibitions, I hit a lot of detours on my path to finding peace.  For me, the journey towards this turned out to be less about being out. It was more about learning to love who I am.

When I was young,  I spent most of my energy trying to push my identity down. Like most people in the queer community, it’s pretty entertaining to look back at things I enjoyed as a kid.  ‘Oh. Okay, that makes sense now,’ is the usual thought that comes to mind. But at the time, a lot of negative ideology about queer identities were rampant. To the people around me, being anything other than straight was being the butt of the joke. And like so many of us have heard before, being bisexual, to them, was fake – something that the girls did to get attention.

This type of thinking poisoned my mind and sealed the vault shut on the idea of coming out. It wasn’t even real to them, so how could it be real for me? So, there I was, never having had a moment to let my own self come to terms with my identity, already closed off to the idea of sharing that truth with anyone.

Of course, getting away from the toxic people of my youth was a big precursor to finding peace. However, on my own and with the freedom to educate myself, I still felt off about who I was. Despite knowing what I knew about myself, it still felt stuck somewhere in the middle. As if by being attracted to more than one gender, or having a non-binary gender identity, I straddled the line between one concept and another. As if I was between being one person and another. I didn’t feel any differently about myself but had convinced myself that to others, I would be different. And so I stayed in the middle.

Finding a community where I could talk openly about my experiences was key to overcoming all of this fear. I was able to talk to other people on all sides of the queer spectrum. Even better, I learned that there is no such thing as being “queer enough.” I was able to find confidence in myself that I hadn’t known existed.

Now when I think of coming out, I think of the slow progression of telling my friends and loved ones. I think of the trust I’ve established with those people and with myself. I’ve told those I love when I felt private, and I’ve screamed it from the mountaintops when I felt proud. What I do, I do at my own discretion. And I never wonder what other people might think of who I am. I hope I never do again.

  • Shannon Aplin

    Shannon Aplin is an activist and an artist with a love for travel and pop culture. She holds a B.A. in Biological Anthropology and loves nothing more than listening to her abuela tell old stories. When she isn’t writing, you can find her composing music, daydreaming, and fighting the stigma against mental illness.