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I was raised in a non-denominational church like I was in the womb going to church. Growing up, and still today, being a Christian was a part of my identity. Despite all of this, I grew up being very liberal and was exposed to the LGBTQ+ community for the first time after watching Glee music videos (I was definitely not allowed to watch full Glee episodes growing up, I realized why when I watched it a couple of years ago). I was confused about why Santana was with Puck in one video and with Brittany in another video. My mom explained to me that Santana was bisexual, so she liked men and women. My little ten-year-old self thought nothing bad of it, if anything I thought that it was cool that someone could like men and women.

Fast forward to eighth grade. The first girls in our grade had come out as bisexual. For me, this raised some major questions in regards to my sexuality. I had realized that I was, without a doubt, bisexual. I told one of the girls who I was friends with at the time (she was one of the two that had come out), and my friend who came out as gay at the end of the school year. But aside from them, I didn’t come out to anyone else. Upon entering high school, I began doubting the legitimacy of my claims. Maybe I really was straight, after all, I was so young when I came out so perhaps I didn’t fully understand whatever was happening.

I created this story that I was not bisexual but I was simply a very active straight ally to the LGBTQ+ community. There were rumors surrounding my sexuality all throughout high school. Since coming out, people have come forward to tell me that they always thought I was queer but didn’t want to make any assumptions. It seemed as though my whole grade had come to terms with my sexuality before I did. Part of the reason that I sold myself this story about my sexuality was because of the church. While I was in a very welcoming, “come as you are,” church, there was always a story that stuck with me that sent a message to every kid who was questioning their sexuality.

I went to the high school service, so there were no adults present in the audience aside from the youth group leaders. We were on the fan-favorite series about sex, and this particular week was about same-sex couples. Oh, I knew this could either go really well or very poorly. My best friend had heard the women speak before and assured me that it would probably go well, but we were still curious to see what she had to say on this topic that is still considered taboo within the church. She told us this story about how she married a woman and I was elated! Maybe this would be an empowering story to the questioning students within the audience. But then it went downhill, she said nothing felt right within her marriage and she prayed to God, got a divorce, and is now happily married to a man. Her conclusion was just to pray and He will lead you to the right man or woman and that it’s okay to have thoughts about questioning your sexuality, as long as you don’t act on them. Well, little closeted Christina knew deep down that coming out and being open with my sexuality was not an option quite yet. My faith is such a big part of who I am, but so is my bisexuality, so it was imperative to me to find a church that would be supportive of my sexuality the moment I went to college.

Now, flash forward to this year, 2020. After being in quarantine for so long, we are forced to sit with ourselves for longer than we have probably ever had to in the past. This made me realize, huh, I’m actually not straight. I told two of my friends that I’m going to start saying I’m queer because truthfully I didn’t know a better label for my sexuality at the time. I waited a couple of weeks to truly process the idea of coming out, and one fateful day in June, I decided to come out to all of my friends. I remember standing in front of my phone and dancing to Girls in Bikinis by Poppy with the caption, “not only do I like guys, but I like…” and cue the music immediately saying “girls.” Thankfully, all of my friends were happy for me! While I still haven’t told any family members, I am happy with the coming out progress that I have made.

Since coming out to my friends, I graduated from high school, and I’m living happily on campus. I have never been freer, I can openly talk about my sexuality with people I meet and I don’t have to filter what I say in order to keep myself from being suspected as LGBTQ+. I even found a church life group that is accepting of people who are LGBTQ+ (as all groups should be, but unfortunately that is not necessarily the case). I know I'm still coming into my identity, but I can confidently say, that for the first time, I'm happy with my life and who I am. I feel like, after an almost five-year battle, I have won and I am finally accepting the love and happiness I deserve as an out and proud bisexual woman.

Hi! I'm Christina, a freshman a UNT (but I'm graduating a year early) with a psychology major and a counseling minor. In the future, I hope to either work in mental health therapy or hospital psychology. I enjoy all things true crime, Edgar Allan Poe, and poetry. Most of the time you can find me either watching Netflix or wandering around campus in order to find something to eat.
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