Secret Sexuality

My sexuality is a large part of my identity. Before I came to Kenyon, I was in complete denial that I was anything other than straight. I had had a couple boyfriends in high school, so I thought there was no way I could also like women. I simply didn't let myself entertain the idea. I thought everyone found women attractive because they’re objectively beautiful and constantly oversexualized in media. Queerness was never talked about in my home or school, and the few times it came up was never a positive experience. Being queer was never something I thought could apply to me because I simply hadn’t allowed myself to think about my sexuality beyond what was set out for me.

 

When I got to college, things were far different. So many people were queer and open about it. I learned that identifying as bisexual or pansexual or generally any sexuality or gender didn’t come with a set of rules or feelings you had to stick to; everything was self-exploration and how you felt comfortable identifying. Once I was simply able to be in a safe, open environment, it was easy for me to admit to myself that I was queer. It felt like a lightbulb went off in my head and so much I had experienced long before I came to Kenyon suddenly made sense. Telling my friends here was easier than coming out to myself as most of them also identified as somehow queer, and frankly, none of them were surprised. I immediately began attending the various meetings and confidential spaces for queer people at Kenyon, and I felt so validated. During the school year, I can be completely open about who I am and how I identify. It’s not perfect here, but I at least know I’m supported.

However, as for most people here, going home after months at college is a major adjustment. It’s already difficult to go back to the structure of your home, finding a job, reconnecting with your friends, and trying to stay busy. But, I had never considered what it would be like to find such a large part of my identity at school that I know isn’t supported in my own home. A lot of people simply can’t hide their identity when they go back home, and I respect them immensely. But if you’re not able to be open about your queerness at home, or simply not comfortable, that’s okay too.

 

It can be difficult not being open about such a big part of yourself. Even though I would never talk to my family about my sexuality in general, it can still be suffocating just knowing how harshly they would react simply because it’s different. I like to think that once I move out and no longer need their financial support, I may be able to come out to them. I don’t like to think about what would happen if I get into a serious relationship before that. For now, I find comfort in the fact that my queerness is still valid even when I’m home, and everyone around me just thinks I’m just a really good “ally.” If you’re in a similar situation and dreading returning home, I hope you can find comfort in knowing you’re not alone.

Image Credit: Feature,1,2