Your Identity Isn't Invalid If You Change Your Label Or Feel Like You Need To Come Out Again

Your Identity Isn't Invalid If You Change Your Label Or Feel Like You Need To Come Out Again

Coming out multiple times or labeling yourself different does not invalidate who you are and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

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When you're younger, coming to terms with your sexuality and gender identity can be difficult. Oftentimes there aren't resources or support for younger questioning individuals and that makes it really hard to process your feelings. For me, all I had was one out friend and the internet. Although my friend was a lot of help, they are only one person and I didn't want to annoy them with my questions. So I looked to youtube, social media, tumblr, and other platforms to hear people's stories and see if I could put a name to my feelings.

Realizing and accepting that I liked girls was a hard task. It was even harder knowing that I still found myself attracted to boys as well. Even though I knew bisexuality was a thing, I still was hesitant to label myself as bi. So I came out as a lesbian and began my first relationship with a girl. Two years later, I found myself hiding parts of myself. I felt like I couldn't talk to boys or comment on attractive guys that I saw. I knew I needed to be true to myself and the people in my life so I decided to come out (again) as bisexual. This felt freeing and I was so thankful to have the support of my close friends and family. Fast forward another three years, and I was confused all over again. I had interactions with a handful of nonbinary and genderfluid individuals and although I was in a happy and committed relationship, I couldn't stop thinking about how I was also attracted to them. One day I remember thinking, "Shit. I think I'm just attracted to everyone." Well, to my surprise, there was a word for that too: pansexuality.

Realizing that all my life I was interested in people, regardless of their gender, and finally finding a label to match that feeling was so wonderful. I came out a third time (5+ years after first coming out) and I've never been happier and more confident in who I am. It was scary coming out again. I was so worried that people were just going to think I was confused or wanting attention. But it wasn't about them. It was about me and who I was.

If you are thinking about coming out again or feel that your identity might be in transition. IT'S OKAY. Sexuality and gender are fluid. They are everchanging and it is perfectly normal to feel like you need to label yourself differently to stay true to yourself. It is also perfectly fine to not want to label yourself at all. That is the beauty of the LGBTQ+ community. We accept everyone. This community was founded in love and no matter who you are or how you identify, you are valid and you are supported.

Coming out multiple times can be a daunting task. But I promise, living as your authentic self is so much better than hiding. Even if it isn't safe for you to come out or you aren't ready to, know that you still matter and your identity is still legitimate. You have an entire community that is rooting for you! Coming out is hard. Doing it again doesn't make it any easier. But I've been there, and I know you're doing your best.

Support your friends and family while they are in their journey of finding who they are. Be there for them, reassure them, answer their questions, and remind them that no matter where they are in their journey, that you will love and accept them no matter what. Also be sure to change your behaviors as necessary. Have a friend who is questioning their gender? Maybe ask them if they'd like to try out different pronouns or if they want to go shopping for different clothes. Know someone who is struggling with their sexuality? Maybe introduce them to other queer friends and share resources that they might find helpful.

Figuring out who you are is scary. Questioning your gender and sexuality can sometimes make it worse. So support your friends and family, be an ally to all, and remember that there isn't one set path to being LGBTQ+. We are all on our own journey, but changing your journey doesn't make it any less real or beautiful.

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9 Things Girly Tomboys Know Too Well

It's all about balance.
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Most girls are either girly girls or tomboys, but for some of us, we are a cross between the two. We are a rare breed between wearing dresses and shotgunning beers. We can relate to other girls but play sports with the boys without batting an eye. It's all about balance like balancing your ratio of pieces of pizza to how many pieces of cake you'll still be able to eat.

1. You love your comfy clothes.

You wish you could live the rest of your life in your favorite pair of sweatpants, yet you know you have to "adult" sometimes and put on more socially acceptable clothes.

2. You don't love shopping.

You find it a real hassle to drive all the way to the mall, just to aimlessly walk around looking for expensive clothes that you can't afford. Your one saving grace is the food court, that's your happy place.

3. You LOVE food.

Most of the time when you're in a bad mood it's because no one has fed you in a few hours. When you finally get that burger you've needed, you don't care who sees you devour it.

4. You're not graceful.

When you wear heels you look like a baby giraffe learning to walk. You wonder how these other girls glide around in heels while you're falling in trash cans.

5. You love wearing a dress.

You love wearing a dress, because think about it, it's one piece of clothing instead of having to put an entire outfit together. But you are sure to always wear some shorts under it, knowing that if shenanigans present themselves a dress isn't going to stop you from participating in the festivities.

6. Your makeup routine takes 10 minutes or less.

Sometimes you get in a girly mood and try to watch makeup tutorials, the end result never turns out well and normally results in you wiping it all off and eating an entire frozen pizza instead.

7. You love playing/watching sports.

You feel at home on the field or court, you're never afraid to get down and dirty when it comes to your favorite sport. You'd rather watch sports than "Say Yes to the Dress."

8. You love beer.

If given the choice between a fruity girly drink or a nice cold beer, there is no hesitation for you, beer it is.

9. Sometimes you just really don't know what kind of girl you are.

You don't consider yourself a girly girl, a tomboy, or anything else really...so the best title is a girly tomboy.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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I Won't Forgive The Anti-Semitic Students Of Spain Park, Not Yet

Maybe it isn't time for an apology.

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I am Jewish. It is something I have never been afraid of and something I value as much in life as I do with my family and friends. Throughout my life, though I have witnessed hate of the Jewish people and jokes made about Jewish people.

In high school, I had to listen to jokes about Jews and the gas chambers and was asked because I was Jewish if I could do someone else's math homework.

To say I had to deal with anti-Semitism in the South does not come close to describing what I had to go through. As time went by the jokes stopped and I thought I would not have to deal with instances of prejudice or bigotry but I was wrong. Growing up as one of the only Jewish people in my friend group and in high school it made me consider myself strong and ready for college but in my freshman year I had to go through other jokes about my religion and even in sophomore year had to witness someone I thought was my friend make a joke about my religion because "he thought it was funny."

I let the instances of anti-Semitism serve as times when I could prove people wrong I learned to forgive and forget.

But I had to witness other acts of hate towards Judaism while in college. From swastikas on a fraternity house, a synagogue shooting, the BDS movement and more hate speech, the hate towards Jews have seemed to grow and I do not understand why. I get hurt each time I hear of an instance but it has not allowed me to view my Judaism any differently. However, there was an occurrence that has affected me in a different way.

It happened in my home state and it has not sat well with me.

On Monday a video surfaced of multiple high school students making anti-Semitic and anti-Black comments. The video featured a guy turning around the camera multiple times to show he was laughing and thought it was funny while others made comments about concentration camps, what would happen if Jews ruled the world and asking what the world would be like without the Holocaust. The students were from Spain Park in Birmingham and have gathered quite a reputation online.

To say I am filled with anger, disappointment, and embarrassment is an understatement.

This is my home state and these students are not only disrespecting the Jewish and Black people in the state of Alabama but throughout the US and possibly even in the world. I am hurt by this instance but I am not ready to forgive these students just yet.

After the video was leaked online some of the students sent messages to the person who uploaded the video apologizing. That I took as a mature gesture until I read the apology from the girl in the video. The apology asked if the user could remove the video because it would ruin her life and reputation. It was later found out that the female student is the daughter of the manager of the Toyota dealership in Hoover after the manager posted an apology.

Any remorse I had going for these students was now gone.

They were not sorry. They were sorry that they got caught and were facing consequences. They gave the apology that your parents made you say when you did not want to apologize. They did not care about who they had harmed or what they had said, they cared because they had to face consequences and they know that this mistake would follow them for the rest of their life.

I'm at a loss for words.

I don't know how to feel. I know someone will tell me I am overreacting but how am I supposed to approach this? What they said was wrong and there is no proper way to express frustration for it. I know people get offended by certain things but some things are not meant to be a joke. So I hope what you said was worth it and was fun to say because it will follow you for the rest of your life. Some lessons are best-learned overtime and it looks like you will have a chance to reflect on these events.

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