Hey y’all! It’s June 1! That means it’s the first day of LGBTQIA+ Pride Month. I’ve always been an ally of the community, for as long as I can remember. Growing up Baptist Christian in Alabama, I was raised in a way that taught me that being gay was a sin. I was also raised in a way that taught me that even embracing people who were gay was sinful. And so I never did.
But, one day, all that changed. I just suddenly realized how wrong the way I acted to LGBTQ people was. They’re people too, and they deserve respect. This change was rooted by my best friend at the time coming out as bisexual.
Shortly after she came out, I started exploring bisexuality and pansexuality myself. I had always looked at guys differently and thought some of them were cute, and I knew girls were cute. Around age 12, I knew that I was at least in some way gay. And I absolutely hated myself for it. I felt ashamed. I felt like I had in some way gone against God. I prayed and prayed and prayed some more, but nothing changed. So I assumed that this was the way God made me. And I slowly came to terms with it and explored. Pansexual is the term I use, because it fits me.
My first coming out experience was in early 2019. I texted the bisexual girl. I said “hey can you keep a secret” and she said yeah. I said “I’m pansexual” for the first time ever. And she replied with “That’s 100% cool, broski!” Those words made me confident and those words have impacted me more than she will ever know.
I came out to my stepmom before my actual mom, because at the time, I feared that my mom was still Christian homophobic. I told my stepmom about it on June 1, 2019, as a way of a backup plan if something had gone wrong with coming out to my mom. She had an amazingly positive reaction, and she told me that she would always support me, and that my dad was right there with her in that. Then, I came out to my mom, and her reaction was being shocked, but it was still very supportive. I’ve been happily living out to most people since June 20, 2019. They will both never know how much their support means to me.
Then, the hard part: telling my other friends. I slowly built a support system by making friends on LGBTQ apps. And then I began gradually telling people. I was very strategic with who I told, and still am, because I know how Alabama works. Alabama is full of bible-thumping, homophobic, racist people. And I had to be sure not to come out to those people. I told my closest group of friends very early on, and a majority of them were supportive. I lost a few, but later learned that if they can’t accept me for me, then they aren’t worthy of my time. And I live by that, still to this day.
I came out massively on Instagram on November 24, 2019. It was the biggest group of people I had ever come out to at once. The response was overwhelmingly positive, but I lost more people again. And I was okay with that.
I was out and I was living my best life, being happily pan.
Throughout this time, I was also building my advocacy platform via Twitter. On Twitter, I was “straight” and wasn’t comfortable enough yet to come out. And so I kept being “straight” there but out in real life. And I was okay with that. I had originally planned to come out on Twitter today as my first public coming out experience. I was ready for today to be that day for me. I had planned and planned and planned for today to be the day and I had written blogs like this and Tweets like this in preparation for today to be the day I came out.
Unfortunately, I was robbed of that opportunity. A person who I considered to be an amazing friend and ally took that opportunity away from me. He outed me on Twitter on February 2, 2020. I wasn’t ready. He knew I seriously wasn’t ready. I went into a panic, a frenzy, trying to figure out what to do to manage it. I had to acknowledge it. So, I did and officially came out on February 2, 2020, as a method of damage control. That is not what I wanted my coming out to be. But, it’s what it was. So I made the best of it. And I’ve been out on Twitter since then, and received a lot of support, but backlash as well.
Well today, I’m here to redefine my coming out as one done on my terms that I am proud of! Hi, I’m Derek, I’m 15 and I’m pansexual.
Thank you all for the support over the last few months and the continuation of it. I am proudly pansexual and nothing anybody says is going to change that for me. I’m fine with myself being myself, and anybody who isn’t is not worthy of my time. I’m out now on my terms and it feels so good. Thank you all once again.