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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Furman chapter.

I was born in the South. As much as I wish that didn’t entail that I was already used to homophobia, it does. My high school wasn’t an accepting place so I never came out. This stemmed from a place of genuine fear. Since I’m bisexual, having the occasional boyfriend in high school, for the most part, kept people from asking questions about my sexuality. That being said, I was a bit of a tomboy growing up and the assumption was made by many that I was a lesbian. I remember being screamed at in middle school by one of my peers about how I was ‘going to hell’ for being gay. 

I expected college to be different. I had planned on telling my friends and being ‘out’ in college. This didn’t change that I never planned on talking to my family about it. What a ridiculous and uncomfortable thing to have to do; just because I’m not straight my family is owed an explanation of my sexuality? In general, I couldn’t care less about what anyone has to say about my sexuality. That is the attitude I would like to have, but for years, my fear about how people will react has kept me ‘in the closet’.

I started freshman year by telling my close friends. I felt so relieved at first, but it quickly got complicated. I wasn’t ready to tell others, still not completely trusting that I would be met with acceptance from our peers. Then one day I was told about a group gossiping about my sexuality. Someone had told someone else, who in turn told a whole bunch of people. It was odd trying to navigate who knew at school and who didn’t; sometimes I would even find out that people I have never met knew I’m bi. I’m really still not sure who it was today, but I guess it doesn’t matter. I had been outed for the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last.

That’s the thing about being in the closet though. It is a sort of safety because you get to know how people truly feel about you without them knowing it. You hear slurs and jokes and make a mental note about who you have to be careful to never tell. And then someone slips up. Sometimes it’s an accident, you get outed in front of a group because of a simple comment. And the next few moments afterwards are always the same. Awkward silence and stares followed by a slew of uncomfortable questions. 

“What do you prefer?” 

“Oh, so you like threesomes?”

 “You’re mostly into women though, right?” 

“Top or bottom?”

All of these were said to me by Furman students. To put this into perspective, can you imagine asking a stranger, who is straight, what their sexual preferences are in bed? I understand that some of it is curiosity, but at the same time it makes me ridiculously uncomfortable. I don’t owe it to my peers to explain any aspect of my private life, especially not my sexuality. 

At some point it progressed past unpleasant questions. You’d be surprised how comfortable people are to call you a f*ggot. Or how many women seek you out to use you for a ‘college gay experience’ to check off their bucket list. This wasn’t just outside of classroom settings though; I’ll never shake the comments of pure disgust made by people in my religion class when we talked about homosexuality. But out of everything that happened to me personally, what especially caught me off guard was the reactions that putting a pride flag on my door received. I think people forget that I can hear the comments they make while they are in the hallway just outside my room. It happens every few weeks or so. Usually it’s guys, at varying times of day, making jokes about the flag. 

Every once and awhile I reconsider my decision to stay closeted. A good bit of people know by now that I’m bisexual; a small school with a gossiping problem tends to do the trick. I’m obviously more indifferent to it now, but it doesn’t change the fact that I have experienced a great deal of homophobia from this school. There are other instances as well, that I didn’t personally experience, which influenced my decision to stay closeted for so long. Things like the pride flags around campus getting torn up and stolen or homophobic slurs being written in various locations around school. 

At this point hearing homophobic comments from peers has just become tiring. I don’t care what you have to say about my sexuality because it doesn’t affect you. It isn’t your business, so no, you don’t get an opinion. Telling me that I’m going to hell for being bi is just some veiled threat that if I don’t conform to your religion, I’m going to spend eternity in a fire. So here’s to brushing off more comments, ignoring muttered slurs, and fielding gross questions for the rest of my life.