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.