The Forgotten Letter In LGBTQ+
4th June 2021
"No one should ever feel like they don’t belong. I know now I do." - Alicia Crowley, Talent Partner at Talentful.
I’m not straight. I’m not gay. I’ve had partners of both sex, and yet still never quite felt like I had somewhere to belong.
When I was 15, I came out fully expecting to be welcomed into a community that understood how I felt and how scared I was of a society that still wasn’t entirely accepting. This wasn’t the case. I no longer belonged in the straight community, but I wasn’t wholly accepted within the LGBTQ+ community either. I was told, “you’re straight” when I had a boyfriend and I was told, “you’re gay” when I had a girlfriend.
I was never either.
I didn’t feel straight enough to be accepted into that community. I didn’t feel gay enough to be a part of another community.
Coming out at 15, was a very difficult thing to go through. I went to an all-girls school, and you can imagine the comments that were made.
“Oh, do you fancy me?”
“Oh my god, don’t look at me when I’m changing for PE. You clearly want me.”
I lost friends because they were confused. I started changing in the toilets so I wouldn’t make anyone feel uncomfortable. I couldn’t walk around my school with a friend without comments being made that I was dating them, which led to me feeling very alone. I felt isolated by my own gender for something I couldn’t even control. The funny thing is, many of the girls who teased and bullied me the most at school have since reached out to me and apologised. They explained that they themselves were in the closet and felt jealous that I felt comfortable enough in my own skin to be me.
Now, I’m sure you can guess the reaction when our partnered all-boys school found out. I became the person that all of the boys wanted to talk to. My sexuality became sexual to them. Boys I didn’t even know sent me messages over social media saying things like “Threesome?” or “Can I watch?” which just made me feel dirty. Something that took so much inner strength to admit to myself and to others around me became something I was ashamed of.
During school, I was just always known as “THAT” girl. Being told you’re doing it because it’s trendy or it’s just a phrase, and yet here I am today, turning 23 (today, by the way, is my birthday), and I still have not grown out of it and never will.
I went to my first Pride in 2017. At this point, I was dating a male, but I wanted to be around a community that I felt I belonged in. The experience I had made me feel like a complete outsider, made me feel like a fraud. I remember meeting people and being told I shouldn’t be at Pride because I wasn’t gay. I’ve since been to other Pride events and had an incredible experience of feeling heard and a sense of belonging.
I call “B” the forgotten letter in LGBTQ+ because the connotations that come with being bisexual are often that people use it as a stepping stone before they come out as gay, or people just doing it to be sexual to males. I’m doing it to be true to who I am.
I’m proud of who I am. I now have a very strong group of people around me. Some that are straight. Some who are gay. And some of us are bisexual. But the amazing thing is we all love each other and accept each other for who we are.
I learned to stop seeking this sense of belonging from strangers from the different communities that I didn’t even know and started realising I already belonged. I had my own community of people in my friends and family.
No one should ever feel like they don’t belong. I know now I do.