Still Discovering

May 1, 2012 | 2012 Spring - Voices of Youth

By Jessica G.

What is it like to be you?

It’s kind of hard. Senior year is tough, especially with my tendency toward procrastination. In addition, I’ve got a lot of idiots in my classes. My sisters are usually pretty cool (except when they steal my donuts!), but my parents are… old-fashioned, to put it politely. Racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, excessively hetero/cisnormative, subtly sexist and misogynistic, to put it bluntly. Not to mention my mother’s emotional abusiveness, which has more than once led to my self-harm relapse.
Oh, that makes my life sound awful. It’s not, really, I promise. I have lots of friends, online and off, and my sister and I don’t fight nearly as often as we used to. I can bike to the local library in the summer, and that’s wonderful for me. I’m a huge nerd (I like calling myself that because, for me, it feels just as reclaimed as queer is) who reads all the time. Not just books, but fanfiction, too. I am a crazy fangirl shipper with fandoms in which I participate.

How did you come to identify as bi, pansexual or fluid?

You know what, I don’t quite remember. It must not have been a sudden realization. It definitely started late in my sophomore year of high school with the usual, “Oh god, I can’t be gay, can I?” followed by “Why is this happening to me?” and then moving quickly through the next three stages of loss of my heterosexual identity. Surprisingly, considering how conservative my parents are, I didn’t actually have a whole lot of internalized homophobia to work through. I credit that to the fact that they never talked about gay people at all, thus allowing me to make my own (thankfully positive) opinions about gay people from Wikipedia and the school library.

Where did you learn about bisexuality?

Probably the Internet. Mostly Wikipedia.

Is there a Gay/Straight Alliance in your high school?

Ha, I wish! I tried to start one this year. Although I’ve got a lot of support, I couldn’t find a teacher who I was certain was both gay-friendly and had the free time to advise it.

Are your friends accepting of your identity?

Super-mega-definitely! I hang out with the nerds and the theatre kids. The nerds know what it’s like to be marginalized and pushed around, and the theatre department at my school is (just like TV and movies would have you believe, ha-ha) really gay-friendly.

What about your family?

Sisters, yes; parents, hell no. I’ll tell my parents when I’m out of college, employed, and living far, FAR away.

Do you have any role models?

Dealing specifically with my bisexuality? No. In general, however, I’d have to say my friend Kylie. She’s like the big sister I never had.

Are you a role model for others?

I don’t know. I’m lazy and I procrastinate, but I like helping people and I always speak up when someone is using bigoted speech or actions.

Where do you get support?

Tumblr, mostly. It’s really got the sweetest, most helpful, most kindhearted people you’ll ever meet.

Do you consider yourself an activist?

I am as much of one as I can possibly be. I have no way to get anywhere, and I’m still not out to my parents, which means my activism is limited to scathing responses to articles and re-blogging petitions on Tumblr.

What advice would you give to other young people who think they might be bi, pansexual or fluid?

Find support. Find someone who understands what it’s like and what you’re going through. is terrific for that. It’s like Omegle, except people go there specifically to listen and offer advice. Educate yourself. Start with sites like Sex Etc., Scarleteen, and And most of all, keep calm. Even if you are bi/pan/fluid/queer, that doesn’t have to mean anything more than you want it to mean. It’s your sexual orientation; it’s your right to define it how you see fit.

Jessica is a 16-year-old high school senior at a public school in Ohio. She is passionate about reading, writing, and genetics, and hopes to be either a novelist or a geneticist.

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