By Amanda Townsell
My freshman year of college is when my story begins. Deep
down, I think I knew that I was attracted to girls as well as
guys but I refused to admit it, even to myself. Plus, I grew
up in a rather rural area where it was not okay to be gay
in any form. So off I went to a private liberal arts college.
I had a close female friend that I was crushing on so hard.
One night, while we were hanging out, she confessed that
she had a crush on me. We started dating and it went well,
but I did not want to go public. The thought of telling my
friends and family made me break out in a sweat. This led
to a very short-lived relationship with hurt feelings on both
sides. It made me realize that I needed to come out, but more
importantly I needed to find a support system specifically
for LGBT people.
I began by joining the LGBT group at my college. I was
amazed to discover other people who were bisexual, but
who also had different attractions than I did. I learned a lot
about self-acceptance and defending myself to people when,
for example, I dated a guy and people said that I did not
seem gay anymore. I learned over the next few years that I
would have to educate people on what bisexuality was for me and that it is not so black and white. I learned to navigate
meeting new potential partners by letting them know that I
was bisexual and what role that played in my life.
I also was in counseling for some family issues and had the
wonderful fortune to work with a therapist who was in the
LGBT community. She got me involved with local LGBT
organizations and I expanded my circle of support even
further. I also checked out every book from my local library
that I could get my hands on to find out more information.
I got a subscription to Curve, a lesbian magazine. I used the
Internet to find forums, websites, blogs and authors. I found
friends in the LGBT community who I could rely on for
support and for advice with dating situations.
If you are in this situation and do not know where to
turn, there are so many resources available: the Internet,
books, podcasts, conferences, and groups in many major
cities. The best advice I can give is to just be true to yourself
and know that you are not alone. There is so much support
waiting for you!
Amanda is a queer activist who likes to hula hoop, drink
espresso, shoot photos, take her pups to the park, and have