The first time I knew I had a crush on a girl, I had just turned twelve years old. I wasn’t too surprised to find myself attracted to her, as I’d already found some other girls attractive. And one time, upon reading in a science magazine that evidence points to being gay not being a choice, my reaction was, “but I WANT to choose to be gay!” This doesn’t mean, however, that it was easy or fast for me to realize I was, in fact, gay.
I’ll start this story when I was ten. That was when I had what I thought was my first crush. He was a boy my age in my dance class, and because some of my friends were starting to have crushes, I decided, “I’m going to have a crush on this boy.” What I didn’t realize was that crushes weren’t something you chose to have. What I really didn’t realize was that I had already had crushes--just not on boys, like I assumed I was supposed to. For instance, I had always felt a fluttery nervous-excitement around a friend’s older sister, but it had never registered as attraction.
As time went by, I realized I could be attracted to girls. I had that first crush on a girl, and more following that, but I still assumed I liked boys. But around when I turned sixteen, four years after I realized I definitely wasn’t straight, I started thinking--what if I’m not bi? What if I’m a lesbian? A couple months prior, I had had a crush on a male actor, who played one of my favorite characters on a show I was watching. But as soon as my investment in the character faded . . . the crush disappeared, and so did the attraction to men I thought I had. I started seeking out posts online by lesbians about their experiences before they realized they were lesbians, and a lot of what I read sounded like my own experience.
I’m not going to pretend I stopped questioning then. I still have feelings about specific men that make me wonder if I’m attracted to them. I have no idea how I’ll think of myself even six months from now. And that’s okay! I don’t need to know exactly what I am right now. And if you, who are reading this, are going through anything similar, neither do you. Nobody does.
Maybe you’re questioning your sexuality, or your gender, and you can’t relate to anything I’ve written. And that’s also okay. My experience won’t be the same as anyone else’s, and neither will yours. Some people know they’re LGBT+ when they’re very young, some when they’re old, some sometime in between. Many people think they’re one thing and later realize they’re another, but some don’t. And even though no two people have the same experience, no matter when you start questioning and how long it takes, there will be someone who’s gone through something similar.