I think many people can relate to growing up with expectations and pressures of being straight. You grow up with people asking you which boy you have a crush on. Everyone around you has big dreams of marrying the guy of their dreams. Every little comment is tainted with heteronormativity. Growing up in an extremely traditional immigrant household, I didn’t even think twice about potentially not being straight. I fully supported the LGBTQ+ community and was over the moon for every milestone the community hit in being recognized and accepted. But I knew I could never be a part of it. I thought that it wasn’t even an option for me to be anything but straight. Fighting, disconnecting from my family, being shamed for who I was — I couldn’t even imagine how my family would take it — I couldn’t bear the thought of it.
So I just didn’t think about it. I believed exactly what I was told. It wasn’t until I left home and went to college that I really considered other possibilities. I was finally away from a household that forced heteronormativity onto me and was able to see myself becoming a part of the LGBTQ+ community. I became more curious about my sexuality and wanted to further explore it. For the first time in my life I was letting myself be true to who I was. I realized that I could possibly be attracted to not only boys, but girls too. Though I am trying to figure it out for myself and continue exploring my sexuality, my conservative roots are overbearing. As I come to these thoughts of liking a girl or going on a date with one, I worry myself with all the questions that lead me back to my fear of my family disowning me. Do I really want to do this? Is it worth it? Wouldn’t it be better to leave it be and not find out if I’m bi or not? I can’t end up with a girl anyway! I try to prevent heartbreak in the future by preventing any sexual exploration in the present. I convince myself that Ignorance is bliss. I stop myself from fully embracing my sexuality by thinking that it would be better if I just didn’t try it, if I didn’t explore. That way, I won’t go down a dangerous path.
To this day, I am still figuring out my sexuality and am still terrified to ever open up about it to my parents. But, the journey has been made a lot easier for me because of all the amazing LGBTQ+ inspirations that have fought for and represented their community. Though I am amidst a difficult journey of finding myself, I am so grateful this Pride Month for the encouraging, confident, badass LGBTQ+ community that has inspired me to continue exploring and continue loving whoever I want.