Coming out at University

Earlier this year, I decided to take the plunge, and skilfully ‘used’ February’s LGBT+ History Month to come out properly as a bisexual woman. For most of my adult life, my sexuality has been something that I have kept private for many reasons, including fearing judgement from family and friends.

Despite having only very recently found the confidence to be more open about my sexuality, I have known that I am bisexual since I was 16, but it has never been something that I have spoken about to too many people, for several reasons. What has made me feel uncomfortable in talking about my sexuality is the fact that while I have – in the past – experienced attraction to both males and females, I also feel that my sexuality changes on an almost daily basis. I wasn’t certain as to whether telling people “I’m bisexual, but also I don’t really experience any sexual attraction to people of either gender,” was going to make me sound as though I was merely attention seeking. I vividly remember lying in bed one night in floods of tears because I didn’t know if I should come out as bisexual or asexual. I did come out as bisexual because I know that, even though I would 100% label myself as asexual, I am certain that I could fall in love with either a man or a woman. Shortly after this emotional night, I read an article with a list of the various definitions for sexual attraction and I found myself identifying with several of these definitions, including aromanticism, asexuality, bisexuality and demisexuality.
Everyone’s experience of their own sexuality, and whether that sexuality changes over time, are unique to them. How open people want to be about their sexuality is also totally up to them. I count myself lucky than those who I am more open about my sexuality to are amazing and non-judgemental; something which has helped me feel more comfortable about being open about my LGBT+ status is being around people who are proudly and happily open and honest about their sexuality. However, I have also faced judgement when I’ve chosen to talk about identifying as both bisexual and asexual; judgement in the form of snide comments and being called an ‘attention seeker’, among other things. Dealing with judgement is different for everyone and I certainly don’t advise people to do what I have done and still sometimes do, which is to push an internal self-destruct button. I would advise talking it through with someone you do trust and can rely on.
Swansea University has been my ‘home’ now for 5 years and feeling comfortable enough to finally come out during my time here is something that I will be proud of for years to come. Being able to further explore sexuality and LGBT+ through writing for Waterfront is also something that I will look back on with pride as it has encouraged me to be more open and honest about being part of the LGBT+ community.

by Emily Maybanks


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