A good friend of mine has a very warped and funny sense of humor. One of his favorite comments is: “Opinions are like a@@holes. Everyone has one.” Every time he says this, while I do agree with him, I also laugh with him. Keeping that in mind, here is one of my opinions. While many will agree with me, I also realize there will be just many who won't. As my friend says, you're entitled to yours. I don't often read magazines; I just don't take the time. I do, however, read books to relax, write stories, and dabble around with photography. Truthfully, I only read two magazines. One of them I do enjoy is The Week; I like this magazine because it contains a bit of news from every state, there is a science section, important national news and so much more. It is just about the most interesting magazines on the market. I probably should have written this article years ago, but at the time, I was angry and put the magazine away, as I kept thinking, “How dare he?” Then through the years, I'd forgotten about it. Now, looking back to that issue of March 27, 2015, one of their columns was about clothes designing company called Dolce & Gabbana. It was that article that angered me beyond words. One of the owners, Domenico Dolce was quoted during an interview as saying, “We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one.” He went on to describe children born through IVF as “children of chemistry, synthetic children. Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalogue.” Apparently, Mr. Dolce does not believe in adoption or in in-vitro fertilization. Actually, according to his statement, he doesn't even believe in gay marriages. It's a shame when you think about it. There are so many wonderful, intelligent, gay people who have made their mark on the world and became pillars of society. I have met and made friends with many people who are gay but rather than go into all of them, I prefer to tell you the response to Mr. Dolce's comment made by Elton John. Elton John has two children with his husband, David Furnish. Each child had a surrogate mother who conceived them by in-vitro fertilization. Mr. John's response was: “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as pathetic. Your archaic thinking an out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce & Gabbana ever again.” Ironically these Italian designers who happened to make this atrocious comment are gay, but they consider themselves traditional believing that while they should and can live together, they should not marry nor have children. That's something I just don't understand. If you have a partner with whom you are in love, why shouldn't you get married? Why shouldn't you have children, whether it's by in-vitro or adoption. And let's for a moment jump off the Rainbow train. Whether gay or not, what happens to couples (men and women) who desperately want a child to increase their family but for whatever reason, can't conceive? You mean to say they shouldn't be allowed alternative methods of having children? Since that article, Mr. Dolce has apologized to the gay community. Yet, I can't help but wonder why? Did he apologize out of sincerity? Or did he apologize because his sales were in decline? Hmm. Makes you wonder. Sorry, even if I could afford the items Dolce & Gabbana sell, I surely would never purchase any of them. I'll stick to Walmart and Target!
2020. A global pandemic. Time alone. I'm 16 and trapped in my own home like a rat in a cage. My only company are two adults I have nothing in common with, two slobbering dogs who only love me for the food I give them each night, and a violent mixture of thoughts and internet access. At the time I already knew I wasn't exactly who everyone told me I was. I wasn't the only student who cared enough about my grades, but I was the only one who didn't, I just happened to be able to pay attention in class. I wasn't the kind of person who would never harm a fly, but I was so close to the edge of insanity that I knew I wouldn't feel anything if I hurt someone, only refusing to give into the urge for violence due to the understanding of consequence. I wasn't a girl. I wasn't a girl, but I didn't feel like a boy either. At the time I didn't understand that there were more options than just girl or boy, so not feeling enough like a boy to call myself one, I decided to keep the label of girl I hated that everyone decided to slap onto my back. Then... I was alone... alone with dogs who could not talk and parents who I'd rather not talk to at all... and a violent mix of my own thoughts and the internet. The internet is a large place, and one day I stumbled upon an idea within this vast landscape called the internet. That idea was about the illusion of gender. That idea was the thought of the non-binary gender identity. To not identify as either male or female. For the first time in my life, I looked at a definition of a gender and was able to say, “oh... that's me.” I have never felt so comfortable in my own skin before. In fact I feel like a skeleton, for skin is the most neurologically sensitive organ in the human body, the part of the body that feels the most pain, so to feel so comfortable means I must not have any skin at all. However... people are always going to be afraid of skeletons. Hearing the words “that's me.” echo through my brain not only filled me with comfort and euphoria, but also with an undeniably disgusting and distinguished fear. “People are going to try to kill me now.” Is a good way of wording that fear. This thought that people want me dead now constantly eats my mind. I'm a kid. I shouldn't be afraid of dying simply because I prefer one word to another when people address me. I shouldn't be, and yet here I am. I'm afraid of children just like me, children from my very same school. I'm afraid of them because they throw around queer slurs like nothing is wrong, and equate queerness to weakness. That is the same thing as a white man saying a racial slur. I know they are only children like me, but if they think that behavior is okay then so do their parents, and if their parents think it's okay then they will give their children the tools to harm people like me. I'm afraid of children. It's as though I traded my safety for the idea of comfortability, like I sold a 24k gold watch for a dime. It's strange how much I value this dime though, a dime of comfortability. I guess if you've been running your whole life and suddenly realized you can walk instead, you would be more content walking away from danger instead of sprinting. I do say though that I'm happy with that exchange though. I'm not happy because it's a good exchange, I would have loved to never know I existed, ignorance is bliss after all. The reason I'm happy though is because there is a much worse exchange that could have happened. A worse exchange? Well of course, I was practically alone when I didn't want to speak to my parentals and couldn't speak the languages of dogs. I was alone, with nothing by a violent mixture of my thoughts and the internet. I was sad. I was depressed. I was alone with a violent mixture of thoughts and internet. So I am happy that this was the horrible exchange I was given during a global pandemic. I truly am. I am non-binary.
“Yes…” he said, trailing off and turning to direct the men. As we got closer, I continued to look at the island. I could make out more details in their faces. I realized not all of them were female. There appeared to be one or two men among the bunch. The closer we got, the more I realized that one of the men on the rock only looked like a woman because of his long hair, almost the same length as the captain's mane. We were only a little ways away now, close enough that the singing of the survivors was clear in my ears. But for me, the singing remained unintelligible. It didn't sound like any language I had ever heard, but still, the sound was beautiful to me. I turned and saw the captain pressed against the rail of the ship, straining his ears to hear the song. I turned back to the island and realized that the captain must have just jumped the railing, because there he was, sitting amongst the people, calling to me. I felt a sensation wash over me, like I was stuck behind a wall, on the other side of which was a life I had always dreamed of. I pressed against the rail, wishing that I had the strength to break through and join them on the beach. I understood the song, even though I did not know the words just yet. The captain was down there, calling out to me. “Jump,” he said. The tired was gone from his eyes, a look of pure joy as he held out his arms. The others did the same, and called out to me. “Jump,” they said, “it is not too high. The sand will cushion your fall.” I looked down. Yes, I thought. The sand looked warm and soft. In fact, It looked to be merely two feet off the ground. I was not sure why I had thought I was so high up, before. Nothing could hurt me if I jumped. After all, the captain survived. He looked so happy, laughing amongst his new companions. They laughed and played with their hair, getting ever closer to each other. I wanted that. I had wanted that for so long. I jumped. The last thing I remembered was the thought of pure happiness, followed by the thought that I had been falling too long, the only sound I heard was the wind wrapping around me. Panicking, I looked down to see a beach of sharp rocks. I knew then my mistake, too late to do anything but fall.
I took a team with me, climbing the hill up to the cliff to get a look around. The cliff was a lone spike in the sea, an island from a long-sunk land. On the top of the cliff, the wind was unbridled in its force. My hair was growing too long, and it whipped around my eyes, preventing me from properly looking around. I squashed it under a bandanna from the pouch tied around my waist. Once I could properly see, I noticed a little island on the opposite side of the cliff. We had not seen it before due to the sheer mass of the cliff, but seeing it now, it was very odd. It looked almost like the nose of a dolphin, a normal island with a sharp point rising in the middle. It, unlike the gray of the cliff, was made of black stone. Very peculiar, but I decided not to tell the captain about it until he was well again. I did not want to raise his hopes just to dash them away again. “Sir,” I heard one of the men say, “look here.” He handed me a spyglass from his pocket and pointed in the direction of the island. “Ah,” I said, peering. Upon closer inspection, there were several shapes on the island. It was still too far away to make out any distinct shapes, but they were all different. “What do you think it is, sir?” “I'm not sure. Perhaps some dirt and sand?” “Shall I tell the crew to take the ship to the island?” “No, the captain needs time to rest,” I took my eye from the spyglass, peering around at the setting sun. “Besides, it is growing dark. We will go when the captain wakes tomorrow.” The group headed back to the ship, and I turned in early. I did not have much hope for the island, and I was wary about the captain. If this was a failure, I feared that he might be driven mad. He had searched for so long that the searching had become the thing that defined him. He had no other hobbies, no loves. His only thoughts were devoted to finding this treasure. The captain stumbled out of his quarters around noon, groggy and mumbling about “wasting time.” I took him to the kitchens to have some food and told him of what I had seen. Immediately, he perked up, his eyes wary. “Ness, are you sure you saw something?” “Aye. it was a very… odd looking island.” “Hmm. how far away?” “Not far. About a league from the ship.” “I see.” he stood up to face the crew. “Men, take us to the island. We may have a treasure on our hands.” The men cheered, glad to finally have some hope. The ship was then thrust into precise chaos, with men readying to go back out and find the legendary prize. We were getting closer to the island. Peering through my telescope, I could make out more of the tan shapes. They were long and lean, and there were many all around the little island. I still suspected them to be just piles of sand, as I was not close enough to determine any detail. The captain took the spyglass from me and peered at the island. “It is strange, I'll give you that,” he murmured. “Yes, sir. The black rock is intriguing.” “Can you see what the little blobs are? My eyesight is too poor to make out the shapes.” “I don't know yet, sir.” “Ah. pity that.” “I'll know more when we get close, sir.” “Right.” He handed it back to me and went into the map room for a time. Eventually the call of “land ho!” rang out, and he came up to the bow with me to catch first sight of the treasure. Looking through the telescope again, I saw that the misshapen blobs were not sand, but women on the beach draped in sails from a shipwreck that had sunk beneath the sea. “Look, captain,” I said, handing him the device. He peered through it and a look of surprise came across his face. “I see. Poor girls, they must have been stranded here from a passenger ship.” “Shame, that. But we can still help them, no?” “‘Course we can,” then, he paused. “Do you hear something, Ness?” I strained my ears to listen. A faint sound of women's voices was being carried across the waves. “Aye, sir. They must be calling out to us.”
He had been traveling for days, and this was it? The captain shook his head. “No,” he said, his face drawing into a resolute grimace. “No?” said I. “No. We didn't follow the map correctly. We'll try again.” “But, sir, there- we haven't even looked around yet.” “Does this look like the place?” he pointed to the cliff face, a sheer, unyielding fortress of stone. It had been made unclimbable by the recent storm, making the rock slick with mud and rain. Surrounding our ship was a forest of fallen trees, swept in by the high tide. Their fallen, dead branches looked almost more dissolute than the captain. The years had not been kind to him. His eyes had grown sunken and almost lifeless, drained from months of searching. His hair was unkempt. It had begun as a neat cut, slowly growing out until it looked akin to the hair of a girl. Now, it was tied back with any spare ribbon he could find, pieces slowly falling into his eyes as he grew more agitated. He had been searching for this fabled prize for almost five years, really diving into the search for the past year. I had been the only one staying by his side. The rest of the crew came and went, coming for the promise of the legend and leaving because of lost hope. I had almost left a couple of times, but I found myself caught in the young captain's quest. I couldn't escape, and I figured that this journey was one worth taking, even if it led nowhere else other than company with a friend. Maybe more. My captain had been growing frantic the last few weeks; his eyes would dart around in a panic. I did not know what the cause of his distress was, but still, I tried my best to soothe it when he started yelling at the crew. I fixed him tea and told him to go lie down. Sometimes that was not enough. He had been staring at the cliff for a while now. No words had escaped his lips, but his eyes grew impatient again. I could see him searching for some possible way that this could be his answer. His prize. “Fine. You know what, Ness? Go. Search around for a while,” he said. I saw the wrinkle in his brow, the way he was scratching his head. I knew that the captain was close to firing the whole crew if I did not intervene. “Sir, why don't you have something to eat, and lay down for a while.” He grunted. I put a hand on his back, lightly steering him back down the bow. “Many sleepless nights in a row are not good for anyone, captain, even you.” “I suppose… I suppose that is true.” We walked back into his quarters. He plopped down on the four-poster bed that dominated the room, although it looked as though no one had slept there for several nights. Dust collected on the bedside tables. I went to the kitchen. Boiling water over a small fire, I gathered some herbs and leaves from the last port we visited and plopped them into the cup with some chamomile. I hoped to let the captain sleep long enough that I could wake him with good news. Maybe he would be fonder of me. Once I had scrounged up some biscuits with my meager cup, I brought it back to the captain, who I found in the map room, pouring over the paper that had led us here. “I don't- I don't- unders-s-st-and-and” he said to himself. I sighed at the stutter, and he looked up at me in surprise. “Are you not going out to look around?” he asked. “Sir, you need some rest. I brought you some food, but eat it in your quarters and rest awhile.” “Alright,” he grumbled, taking the tray from my hands and pushing past me into the hall. I sighed again, looking around at the mess. Papers were pushed through nails in the wall, some maps, some frantic scrawlings of ravings from the captain. I took loose papers and put them away, sealing the ink pots that had already spilled, not meant for the rocky life on the sea. Old fables and legends had been marked over, random lines in ancient poetry circled and crossed out, connections being made in places I couldn't fathom. There was a paper in the middle of the table, one that had seen the most care to it. It was this page that had started the journey, an old nursery rhyme long thought to lead to a treasure long lost to the sea. When I finished tidying the room as best I could, I closed the door and locked it to prevent the restless captain from wasting away in the office. Breaking back out onto the deck, I was hit with a burst of salty air. The crew, having overheard the captain's suggestion, had moved the ship to the water. I nodded at the men and told them to bring the ship around to the side of the cliff, where it was shorter. .
The LGBT in Russia are constantly threatened, murdered, and isolated. For them I became a writer. I believe in writing the way people believe in god. Literature is as banned as religion was in the Soviet Union. My first novel is set in my hometown of Saint Petersburg, Russia. When I learned of queer men being put on a hit list database in Russia, I was unnerved. Coming from a country with few human rights, I imbue my work with representation most personal to me. Writers inspired me with their wisdom. I want to inspire the younger generation of readers who have no mentor. The survival tactic for being ripped from Russia and dropped into Kindergarten in the United States: Understand the aliens around you. Figure out how you can fit in, fast. I've always been trying to understand people; I write entire books about them. I was raised travelling: Speeding through Israeli cliffs and surviving when the bus behind mine didn't. Crying when the plane bumped into Leningrad Airport and I was home in Russia for the first time since I was five years old. My experiences with diverse cultures drives everything I do. I have had lots of jobs. One of my favourites was being camp counsellor on Vancouver Island for high schoolers from the Philippines. I could pee without wiping, make smoke with my hands, and watch a mongoose skid and fall into the river in fright from our kayaking crew. Not to forget, my taste for adrenaline. The flow of typing; the skid of skis, a desperate attempt at friction, force against force. My mind's always lived in the fast lane. Though it had kickstarted my intensive writing, not a word of my journalling ended up in the novel I finished six months later.
Coming out is hard no matter what situation you're in. Believe it or not, the coming out to your family or friends is not the hardest part either. The hardest part is recognizing your sexuality on your own. Coming to terms with it is different for everyone. For someone like me, who was raised in a Christian home, it's hard to realize that you are not broken. You are not damaged and you are not a sin. For someone like my best friend who was raised in an accepting family, it was difficult for her to accept herself due to society and outside pressure. Either way, it can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. The main things you need to remember are as followed 1. Stay positive. Remember that there is someone in your life who will love and accept you no matter what. 2. Don't Rush It. Don't attempt to tell yourself one thing or another about yourself because you will end up hurting yourself in the long run. Patience is key. 3. Talk to someone in the community. Something that helped me was finding someone in the community that I trusted and talking to them about what I was feeling and thinking. They can't tell you exactly what to do, but they can be there for support. 4. Experiment. You could go through a stage in your life when you think you might be a part of the community, and its okay if your not. Finding out what you like and who you are is a part of life. 5. LOVE YOURSELF! This is the most important one. You cant look for love and acceptance from others if you don't love and accept yourself. This took me years to figure out and I'm still struggling with this one. Don't get frustrated if it doesn't happen right away. When you do come to terms with yourself, it feels like its time to come out right away. It's not! If you are content with staying in the closet, then go for it. When you are prepared and do feel ready then here are my best tips for that. 1. Put out some feelers. Start bringing up the LGBTQ community in your conversations with your family/friends and see how they react. If their reaction is good, then you can kind of figure out who you should come out to first. 2. Tell your closest friend/family member. The first people I told were my older sister and best friend. They were super supportive and loving. 3. Come up with a game plan for the rest of the important people of your life. Have a plan, a backup plan, and a plan for if things go terribly wrong. 4. TELL THE WORLD! When you feel that you are very ready and prepared to tell the world, go out there and tell them. It can be the best feeling in the universe. One thing that is always a problem for LGBTQ youth is the fear of getting kicked out. Speaking from personal experience, there are ways to get through it. Even though it seems like the end of the world, I knew that I would get through it. The most important thing to do if you are worried about this is come up with a game plan. Some basic steps to that are to follow 1. Talk to a close friend or family member about being able to go to their house in case of an emergency. 2. Have a bag ready. I know it sucks that you have to have a to go bag ready but when a bad situation arises packing can be hard. 3. Leave as soon as possible. If you get kicked out and you attempt to stay, it could cause your mental state to deteriorate. It sucks that you have to leave but it could save you a lot of pain. Don't worry straight people, I haven't forgotten about you. This guide doesn't exactly pertain to you, but there are some ways you can help your friends who are struggling with their identities. Here are the things that my friends did to help me. 1. Even though you don't understand what they are going through, be there for them to talk to. My friends asked me how I was every day and made sure that I was okay. 2. Let them know that you love them and support them. I don't think there was a single day where my friends didn't tell me they loved me when I was in the process of coming out. 3. Don't let their sexuality change your view of them. I know its hard when your friend comes out to you because its like there is a whole new side of your friend that you've never seen, but its still them. They are still the same friend who you met years ago, they just like the same sex now. 4. Please please please never ask if they are into you/ if you're their type. They don't want to make things awkward and that question makes everything awkward. So, now that I've told you everything that helped me in my journey to coming out, I hope I have inspired you to do some soul searching and figure out who you are. Just remember, it is different for everyone and your journey is unique and special. I love each and every one of you.
I remember a boy breaking my heart once. He tossed it across the apartment courtyard like a Frisbee. It hit the hardness of the concrete, shattering it into several pieces. "Whoops, sorry," He laughed to himself. I was not happy. This was the only heart I had, the only piece of jewelry I ever owned. I was four-years-old and didn't care that it was a plastic heart-shaped piece of junk. I stood feeling belittled by his behavior as he bolted the other direction revealing that it was his time to leave. "Don't tell my mom, ok?" He said with a mischievous smile peeling across his face. He acted as if I really didn't care about the piece of plastic. He stood smiling to himself for a moment before taking off. It was weird and made me think that boys will always be childish in their ways no matter what age they were. I slowly turned around and walked back to my aunt's apartment building. Her husband was standing outside the door, waiting. "What happened to your necklace?" He asked. "It broke," I said burying my head into my chest. "Who broke it?" His face was full of concern. "The boy broke it, he broke my heart," I said pointing over to the neighbor boy's apartment building. We walked over to the broken bits and pieces confirming that indeed someone broke my heart. "Next time when someone asks for something that belongs to you, don't give it to them just because they want it." I let this sink into my four-year-old brain. Never give someone something that is yours just because they want it. Since then, I never really liked boys. They all seemed to teasingly want to break my heart. But then I found out that girls do the same. I was always fond of female characters from my favorite stories and T.V. shows but I never thought that would leak over into puberty and into my young adult years. When I finally got fed up with the feeling I wasn't just fond other girls I decided to tell my mother that I didn't just like girls, I loved them. I also told her my teacher happened to have the same sexual preference. My mom responded with a smile and bought my teacher a bottle of wine which I wished was for me. I didn't care if I was only in the 6th grade, having a taste of wine seemed to match the moment of growing up. Besides, I just confessed a deep feeling I had for other females. This feeling spun in my heart like a spider's web trying to catch the next meal, except this time love was the prey. As soon as I got into High School I spotted her during the first week of my sophomore year. There was something about her that lit up my heart and I hoped it wasn't just because she happened to be attractive. I hoped that whatever I was feeling wasn't about her looks but was something beneath the surface that resonated with my spiritual being. I had a difficult time trying to place my finger on what this feeling about this girl was. All that seemed to surface when searching for the answer from within was the desire to be loved without the sameness of our physiques getting in the way that a human could love one another. In my mind I wasn't in love but rather I wanted to love another woman without the mixed perceptions of society's protocol on how love should be. I understood by this time in my life when you choose to put your feelings out in the open to someone, it is possible that they might not accept those feelings you have for them. This was how society was and despite that knowledge, I did it anyway, I put my feelings out there for someone to see. We had the same art class together. The art table she sat at was just her and this other guy, and that was all. It was just her and this one dude that wanted to be the president one day. I sat at another table with people from my school year. The following year I told her my feelings through a letter. The paper had a background that made up the colors of the rainbow, which was ironic to the symbolism of the LGBT gay rights flag. I was nervous and could feel my heart palpitate in the concave of my chest as I handed her the letter. She thanked me with the soft tone of her voice, but right after I handed her that letter, it was as though I saw doubt twinkle in her eyes. It was the day of a pep assembly. Her cheerleading peers performed and that's when it happened. She did an awesome acrobatic spin and landed perfectly on her feet. She then glanced up at me and then smiled gently. It was like she really did like me but she also liked guys. That's when I broke down. She played me like a game and it broke my heart. I felt ashamed for liking someone else that was the same sex as me. I felt apart from everyone else too. I had a nomadic life as a high school girl and spent my time trying to figure out who I really was on the inside. It was tough and I wish I could go back through at time portal just to tell myself, "It's okay, you can be gay. No really, it's okay. Don't be ashamed of who you are."
Hi, my name is Abby Dougherty and this is my coming out story. In eight grade, people starting dating (if you called only seeing each other at school and being "boyfriend and girlfriend" for two weeks dating) and I starting to notice girls. According to what I was told by society and those important in my life, I was supposed to like boys so I did but girls, that was new. They were so pretty and so different from the boys, I was entranced. It was not until September of my freshmen year in high school that I came to terms with the fact that I indeed liked girls and started the life-long process of coming out. The first time, it was at my very first marching band competition to a junior girl who was bi who I barley knew. She was super cool about it and told me to take my time coming out and to just enjoy being queer. I did not take her advice in taking my time however; I was just too excited. Granted, most of my friends are christians so I probably should have taken it a bit slower. In all honesty, I cannot remember the details of coming out to my friends. Only that all but two were either happy for me or simply comfortable with. One of the ones that was entirely supportive was my then boyfriend. I guess having your girlfriend realize she likes girls while dating you, you guy, is not the best experience but it still does not make anything he said okay. I ended up breaking up with him the following March. The other was my best friend since fourth grade. She is very tradition and very set in her ways. I love her to death and she has come a around a bit but I fear the day she has children in the case one is gay or trans or anything else she does not understand. I did not plan on telling my family as the vast majority are devote christians and are not fully on board the LGBTQ+ train. Plans were made to live with friends if my family found out and things went sour. My mother found out during and argument it witch I yelled that she would never understand and when she yelled back why, it just sort of came out, no pun intended. I screamed that it was because she was straight. She insisted it was a phase or something to be hidden, feeling that we do not act on; my heart broke. It took a year for our relationship to be the same again. A month or so later I told a cousin of mine who I thought would be supportive as they adore your gay uncle. She told me bisexuality does not exist and that I needed to choose and side and then proceeded to out me to my entire family. The next time I had seen my dad (my parents are divorced), he explained to me that it was Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve (his actual words) and that I needed to rethink my choices. After other things happened, I stopped talking to him and am better for it. My dad's side of the family does not talk to me because of both being gay and not talking to my dad but oh well. It was not until March of my junior year of high school after a nasty break up with my boyfriend of over a year to finally realize I was gay. Why I hated the romance and the dates and the kissing. It made so much sense but I was so far in the closet and the influence from my family was so ingrained into me that I forced myself to endure. The second time coming out to everyone was much easier and casual, well except the first. I called my best friend up, slightly panicked, explaining how and why I thought I might be gay and she just went "Oh yeah no you totally are gay. That makes so much more sense." After that, I just would randomly say, "So I think I'm gay", and my friends just said yeah that makes sense. I was nervous to come out to my mom again, given how the last time went, so over a lean cuisine before I went to work, I out of the blue said "I think I'm gay". My mom just said "I know". How you ask. Well she said it was because all I ever talked about was girls. Did I mention the long-term boyfriend? I still have no idea how I did not realize it sooner. Now, beginning my senior year in four weeks, I am happier than I have been because I get to be myself with out fear.
I've already gone through three prompt ideas before this, just give this one a shot alright? I'm demisexual. Demisexuality is defined as a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form an emotional connection. I don't think most people know about demisexuality. I guess with all the sexualities out there, it gets lost and forgotten. We even have a nickname of "Graysexual" (and even a flag)since it's in the middle of the asexuality spectrum. Some LGBTQ+ members would agree that it exists and some would disagree apparently depending on the person. Considering that I'm demisexual, I obviously agree with its existence. I feel a little hurt by those who deny its existence because it feels like they are denying my existence as a living person. It feels even worse by the LGBTQ+ community, but I guess that's bound to happen. Basically, I knew there was something off about me since I was a kid. I'm not primarily physically attracted to people, I need an emotional attraction. I had a few crushes before don't get me wrong, it's just that there's more to the crush than just a pretty face. I had this one crush since the 8th grade and I still think of him even after my graduation. It was only him though, when I have a crush it's only one person at a time and it does not happen to just any old cutie. Funny story, I went nearly half a year in the 8th-grade English class we took together (another funny story, I walked right out of that classroom on the first day of school, thinking I went into the wrong room before realizing it was the right one)without noticing him until one day I don't know what happened but it clicked that I had some ounce of affection to him. Maybe I'm just dense, ha. I think it was those deep soul gazing eyes and the way he spoke in that quiet voice that caught my attention. I liked his aura, his intelligence(as weird as that sounds), and the way he carried himself. He was the kind, shy, and calming sort. And by far the only one who has ever got me completely off guard by my emotions. Oftentimes my relationships spur off of friendships. You could be the hottest person in the world, but if there's no bond then there's no attraction. I don't think about sex the same way other people do. I have little to no interest in it. I kind of find sex to be undignified. That doesn't mean I don't have an attraction to people, it's just that the attraction only happens when I form a strong bond with someone. I mean I have a sensual side to me, but it rarely goes anywhere past my mind. You see, sex is just one factor that I'm not interested in, it's any physical contact such as hugging, kissing, cuddling, etc. All of those make me want to run away in utter anxiety and fear. Keeping relationships is hard and not hard at the same time, mostly because the relationships come to the same problem of demanding something I have no interest in giving just to keep the relationship going to their standards. Dating in the modern world for me now has been excruciatingly painful and difficult. I don't even hug my friends or family unless forced to. I just don't like being touched, something about it disturbs me and leaves me feeling disgusted afterward. It's unimaginably hard to tell my family that I'm demisexual(I hope to one day, I'm just scared that they won't understand it). Especially, since they keep pressuring me to go the traditional route of marrying and having kids. But I have no intentions of doing either of the above. I have more interest in my career path than anything. Sometimes I feel I will be lonely forever because it doesn't seem I'll ever find that one person who'll make me feel safe or comfortable enough to be intimate and not disgusted by their touch. There are other people out there who are just like me and if you're reading this and things are kind of clicking for you in the sense of "Hey this sounds like me". I hope this helps in understanding who you are or at least points in a general direction. Life is confusing, to some people so is demisexuality, but both are real and both are validated.
“What does asexual mean?” The smile falls from my face as I stare down at the phone screen. A simple conversation of get-to-know-you questions now turned into a confrontation of my own validation. My mind pushed this topic of discussion for further down the line in our interactions. At least after the first-time meeting face to face. With trembling fingers, I swallow a dry lump in my throat and begin to craft an answer for the straight mind: “Asexuality means that someone does not feel sexual attraction to anyone. An asexual person can want to have sex and/or become aroused. Or they can want nothing to do with sex. It is different for every person.” My heart drums in my chest as I hit send, placing the phone face-down next to me on the bed. It becomes difficult to untie the knot in my stomach, and I pull my knees up to my chest. “Physical and sexual attraction are different. I can find someone to be cute, hot, or attractive but that doesn't mean I want to have sex with them. Honestly I confuse myself sometimes with the difference lol.” Waiting for each reply, my body falls further into a familiar anxiety. It becomes difficult to push the gnawing thoughts aside. “Haha yes I get crushes and romantic feelings towards others. They can get a bit strong sometimes.” Will he still go on a date with me? Will he have the same eyes? “Personally I have a low sex drive. And I don't experience sexual attraction like most people do.” Will this turn him away? Turn me into a disappointment? “No no I can still enjoy sex. I can enjoy intimacy. I agree that it is needed in a healthy relationship, which is why I've run into problems with previous relationships.” Do I really believe that? I've never even had sex. “I've just never really had a positive sexual relationship so there is some weird anxiety hanging around. But there is not one person who can change me from being asexual.” Who could ever love someone who doesn't want sex? Who could ever love this part of me? Each response brings about another question to dance around, a challenge to my brain. But it is different than the conversations I've had before. He's not disappointed (yet). If anything, his words steam from curiosity and interest. Still, the blood pumping through my veins hasn't slowed. It's different when there is only conversation involved. It's different when they can see your eyes, and their words begin to drip with lust. They whisper to you and smile and melt your heart into a soft “okay”. But your mind is anywhere but in that moment while your insides twist, because this is how a normal person is. But you can't be this normal they need you to be.
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