By Erica Campbell
Life as we know it has been changing and evolving since it has begun. Every day there seems to be something new discovered or changed. Just five short years ago a same-sex couples were finally recognized and able to get married. Growing up in the LGBTQIA+ community throughout the ages has definitely changed a lot, but here is my story.
For the entirety of my life, I have always felt like there was a part of me that didn’t seem right. I was your average sixth grade girl, I had good grades, I had a crush on the cutest boy in the school, and I had a plethora of friends. Everything was normal, until one day I had a crush on a girl. I thought to myself, “This is wrong, girls can’t like girls, can they?” I confided in a close friend about my secret crush, only to be told that what I was feeling was completely normal. That same day, my friends had me come with them to the “Gay Straight Alliance” club at my school. I asked about what “gay” was, and I was told all about the LGBTQIA+ community and the many different sexualities it includes. I resonated with this community, but for some reason I didn’t want to.
I didn’t come to terms with my bisexuality until about half way through seventh grade. Even though I was comfortable telling myself that I was bisexual, I chose not to tell anyone else. A few of my close friends knew, but that was it. While I was more comfortable with my sexuality, I was not too sure how other people would perceive it. This was my little secret and I wasn’t going to let anybody ruin it.
A few years passed, and I met someone who helped me come out to some more of my friends. My new friend convinced me that who I was was not something to be ashamed of. Who I like should not matter, but who I am should. It wasn’t really a secret anymore, I told more and more people until it became a known fact that “Erica is bi” and that was that.
Of course, as for everything in life, there is a downside to me and my situation. There are still people out there who don’t accept people in the LGBTQIA+ community for who they are, and there always will be people to try to bring us down. I learned that there is no way to get rid of the haters, you just have to continue being yourself unapologetically, and that is what I continue to do each and every day.
While this is my story about coming to terms with my sexuality, everyone else has their own story to share as well. I want everyone to know that no matter who you are, and no matter what you’re going through, eventually it will get better. Straight, gay, or anything inbetween or not at all, you and your story are valid.
Hopefully my story has somewhat made the future look the slightest bit brighter for you. Remember these words: you are normal, you are loved, and you are valid.