The Elephant In My Room: An Illustrated Coming-Out Story
In elementary school, I didn’t think about sexuality at all. I didn’t know what that word even meant. But that would change pretty soon.
Because I was very new to all of the terms and labels, I thought I was a lot of different things. Was I straight, gay, bi? After a period of trial and error I finally found a way to identify myself.
I got my first cell phone at the end of 5th grade. With my own internet access, a new world opened. And in that world, I discovered the extensive realm of different sexualities and identities.
And then, near the beginning of 6th grade I met a girl. We got along with each other pretty fast. We always ate lunch together and hung out all the time. Then one day, after school, she asked me a question: “Do you want to be my girlfriend?” And I said yes. Nothing really changed between us — we were only 6th graders! But we started to hold hands. It was my first relationship ever, so it was pretty exciting.
For a while I didn’t really think about telling my parents about being bisexual, because I didn’t see why I should. I didn’t know if they would accept me. Looking back, I realize that was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever thought. See, both of my parents are queer. But I didn’t realize it at the time. When I was younger we didn’t really talk about it, and you can’t really just tell what people’s identities are by looking at them!
And besides that, being an anxious preteen, I didn’t like to make a big deal over stuff. I wanted to just have my parents know without having to say anything. And funnily enough, that’s kind of what ended up happening. I started to get more involved with LGBTQ stuff, like going to Pride and joining the newly formed school GSA in 7th grade. As I did all of that, I just assumed they knew. And that was that.
A lot of the time we think of coming out as a giant event, for better or worse. (I thought so back in 6th grade.) It’s like an elephant in the room. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Cisgender people don’t have to come out as cis and straight people don’t have to come out as straight. I didn’t come out either, I’m just living it.