I wish I was proud on #pridemonth

Mark Segan.

It is June. And it is #pridemonth, as I write I see Medium’s logo with a pride flag at the left top of the page symbolizing the company support to the LGBT+ community. My journey with coming in terms with my sexuality is dated since the day I was born; my Dad wanted to give me a boyish name (I know names don’t have a gender, but sure as hell I would have suffered much more bullying when I was a child being a girl with a common boy name) because he always wanted to have a baby boy. I was his first child, my brother, a boy, was born two years later; the irony I find in this situation is the fact that my brother never did things that younger boys are supposed to do, he never liked to be without his shirt, he never liked soccer, he never liked to play with other boys or in the street getting dirty. As for me, I was always the typical “tomboy” girl. But when you’re a child you don’t think much about it until someone points out, I never thought about the fact that I acted like a boy all the time and its implications; looking back today, doing boyish things back then gave me some type of freedom.

The first memory I have of being called ‘gay’ was my cousin saying it to me, I can’t recall why she said that but the memory never left the back of my mind. Back in then, I thought the word ‘gay’ simply meant ‘happy’; but why hearing that never felt anything close to happiness? The funny thing is that my first kiss was with that cousin. It was a simple peck, we were playing house. She was the wife. I was the husband. Again I was taking the position design for boys. When I went to middle school things started to change, all the girls looked so much mature than I was, all of them had experience with boys, all of them was beautiful, and me… well I was the ugly duck. I experienced some kind of bullying back then, and it hit hard at my self esteem; I only had two girls friends and some time later (years to be precise) we had a fight and I was left alone. Then when I started to drift from group to group trying not being so loner, people took the opportunity to ask all kind of questions. The number one question was about the sexuality of my then two girl friends; the hard thing about it was: they are straight, I am not. Everybody back then assumed they were dating and when I said they were just friends people didn’t believed in me and started to saying all type of things about it. Pure homophobia. Again, it hit me hard. All my life I was around people who didn’t support LGBT+ community, who didn’t wanted be friends with one of them, people who didn’t wanted to have a children like them. The tragic thing was that I was them.

High school was different, I started experiencing more. Let myself being more open. It was still hard, not just because of my sexuality, but because other wounds that never closed. During the three years I spend in high school I always thought I had falling in love with some different girl. Three, exactly. One per year. Pathetic, in some type of way, I hardly talked with any of them. Today I barely remember their names, but back in that time their faces were always in my mind. I was accepting the fact that I liked girls, that I find them attractive. Those girls were beautiful and the funny thing my stomach did all the time I thought it was love was in fact just luxury.

2014 was the first time I said in text to my old female friend that I had a crush in one of my classmates. I had a panic attack before send those texts, she was the only person I trusted with that information and I needed someone to tell me what I was feeling. See, I was 15 years old, and I wanted to kiss a girl so much, so much more than I ever wanted to kiss any boy before, it was confusing. She told me it was okay. It was okay to be a girl and like other girls. It never worked out with that classmate because she was homophobic. Yeah, I know… tragic. 2016 was when I told the second person, my male friend, that I had a crush on a girl in our school. I told him by text. It was safer this way, I didn’t have to see his reaction and if he reacted badly I could simply ignore him the next day, praying so hard that he would keep his mouth shut. He said it was cute. Later that year he told me he liked boys the same way he liked girls. He’s my best friend and he is a LGBT person, it gives me comfort; during years I have to struggle with straight people who didn’t felt the way I did, and it was so lonely. It is like you’re on an island and no one ever comes to save you.

Since I kissed a girl I accepted the fact that I was bisexual. It was so clear to everyone but me. Every single friend that I told, by text I must add, said them already knew. During all my life I unconsciously tried to hide that from people, but everyone still saw everything as clear as a blue sky in a summer day. I guess it is true when they say actions speak louder than words. Even when you don’t notice it.

Kay Tobin/New York Public Library. NYC, 1970.

When I was young I had a theory and it was: when you speak things that are in your mind, they become real. And when they become real you lose them or it will defines you. That is why I never opened my mouth to say “I am bisexual”, because then it would become real and people would know and judge me. But as I said I told multiple people over texts. And deep down, now I know the problem isn’t other people; the problem is me. I am afraid to say those words because then my bisexuality will come to life and no matter how much I run, I will never get hide of it. Because I know I am not straight and I am ashamed of it.

I defend LGBT+ rights in discussions with my family, with random people that cross my life. I post all the time about LGBT+ culture on my social media. I talk about girls all the fucking time in Twitter. My old Tumblr is the epitome of sapphic. I look up for LGBT+ artists and their representation. I go to #prideparades. I use too many rainbows t-shirts and socks. I live life as a LGBT+ person but still I am ashamed of it. I am ashamed of saying the words. I am ashamed of it become real even knowing it is already real, it is in every single thing in my life and in every atom of my being, because it is me. It is me and I wish I could accept myself the way I accept others.

It is June. It is #pridemonth. I am so grateful for all the LGBT+ people who came before me and fight with their lives to give our community dignity. It is because of them I can marry a woman. It is because them that homosexuality is not a disease anymore. Neither transexuality. It is because of them I am still alive today. I just hope someday I can be as brave as they were, and saying out loud to everyone to hear:

“I am a bisexual woman and I am proud of it.”

Engineer student, aspiring writer and activist. My life is a mess. Contact: alessandrafigueiredo@outlook.com | I write in English and/or Portuguese.

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