I was about 16 when I realized most of who I was and who I wanted to be didn't really fall perfectly into the brand of straight, cisgender hetero-normative behavior that I was surrounded by. I went to a private Christian school and I never was really opened up to what the rest of the world was like and really what it meant to be neither straight, white, or cis. I knew I was queer and that was a term that I felt most comfortable using.
I came out as bi to my friends and to my family. I told my parents and surprisingly, I was very strong. There were no tears and I told both of my parents if they were going to make any attempts to shove me back into the closet or to convince me that how I was feeling wasn't really how I was feeling, I would not accept that. I knew what I was and who I am and I was not about to let misguided opinions of others change that.
I am not speaking specifically about my parents, but about teachers, friends, acquaintances, and just a vast majority of people in the South with misinformed opinions.
I in no way think that if you identify a certain way, you have to appear a certain way. Who you are and how you decide to present yourself are two entirely different things. However, for me personally, there are certain things that I have always desired to do and some of these things fall directly in line with my queerness and some don't. I have wanted short hair for a long time. My hair currently sits at an "Edna" type bob, I am sporting the exact same do as the woman herself from the "The Incredibles."
However, for the longest time I have wanted to cut it pixie short or perhaps shorter than pixie into a paper boy's type haircut. I have never been one to hair much about what others thought of me, but as someone coming into a new season of life, I am terrified.
I am scared people won't want me around or won't invite me into parties. Or better yet, won't allow me in. I am scared that I won't find the love of my life in college as so many have done if I look ugly, and maybe even though I would never admit it, maybe I am scared to look ugly. I have also wanted top surgery for the longest time which falls directly in life with my queerness and the fluid feelings I have towards gender. Both of these things are things that I desperately want and know I could not have achieved in high school. But I'm not in high school anymore. I'm in a brand new season of life that hold new chapter. However, they are chapters I am frightened to begin.
I know that in general college students are supposedly more accepting. But being queer in college and appearing queer is a lot harder than most people chalk it up to be. This task is especially difficult while living in the south. I think there is an assumption of automatic acceptance when you're in a college learning environment. That really couldn't be farther from the truth. I am working every day to make the world a bit of a better place, a bit of a more accepting place, a place of equality and love. However, there's a lot of uncomfortable waiting around while that happens. The life of a queer college student isn't an easy one.