I Asked My LGBT+ Friends How They Knew They Weren't Straight/Cisgender and This is What They Said
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I Asked My LGBT+ Friends How They Knew They Weren't Straight/Cisgender and This is What They Said

"I Kissed a Girl" was my anthem.


Pride Month is well underway, my friends! And to kick off this 20gayteen celebration, I thought I'd ask a few of my LGBT+ friends about their first realizations that they were different from their straight, cisgender friends and family. These differences make us beautiful, and these "defining moments," whether funny or awkward or even intense, are memories that we will never, ever forget. That being said, I interviewed a few pals on when they realized they were LGBT+ and here's what they told me:

Celebrity crushes

"I realized I was gay when I saw Kate McKinnon in the 2016 version of "Ghostbusters"… I went back to the theater and saw it four times just because of her." —Autumn

"I first knew I wasn't straight when I was 11. I started watching "House" and fell absolutely in love with Cameron." — Karianne

Friends or more?

"My best friend in 6th grade has a crush on this guy. Every time she talked to me about him, I'd get really angry and I had no clue why. Then I realized I was getting angry because I liked her and I wanted to be the person she talked about." —Emma

"I was 8 and I had a crush on this girl in my second grade class." —Abi

"I developed a crush on one of my female friends during my sophomore year of high school…but it's taken three or four years since then for me to become more comfortable in my identity. I'm finally out as bisexual to all of my friends, but not to my family yet. It's a very gradual thing." —Remi

"I found out I was bisexual when I fell in love with my best friend in my junior year of high school. When I made her laugh, when I helped her feel better, it all made me feel like I'd been waiting my whole life for her. Nothing romantic ever came of it, but I am so grateful for her friendship and her help in realizing who I am. She and I are still extremely close, and even though it's not in a romantic way, we'll always be soul mates of a sort." —Sarah

Social conditioning

"I think I always knew [I wasn't straight] to some extent— I was just really afraid of being outcasted even more when I was younger. I would rationalize my looking at other girls as "oh, I'm just comparing myself to them" until I finally internalized that my attraction was natural and that it's a-okay to be gay! Back when I was growing up and figuring this all out, people weren't talking about the LGBT+ community as much as they do today. It was very taboo and I'm so happy and #blessed to be able to be so open about it now!" —Casey

"In middle school, all of these girls were telling me about how they had crushes on this popular boy and I just did not find him (or any other boy) attractive. I kept how I felt a secret all through middle and high school because I wanted to fit in with my friends." —Mackenzie


"I had a weird, but very subtle fascination with men when I was a little kid. There was just something about men that I was curious about, but I didn't know what since I was too young for it to be sexual. But when I hit puberty, I would watch straight porn and realized that I enjoyed watching the men and not the women. It didn't hit me until I was like 14 or 15 that I must've been enjoying guys more for a reason." —Kurt

"I tried watching porn to 'get into women more,' but I never liked it and never understood why men were so fascinated by their bodies. I always thought that beards and deep voices were much more attractive, but I'd always play along when people talked about girls anyway. Once I stumbled upon gay porn, however, I thought, "oh shit, so this is where it's at." —Frank

Gut feelings

"I felt like this is something I've known for a long time. I grew up in a strict Catholic household, so it was hard to come to terms with…but whenever I had boyfriends, it never felt right and the relationships never lasted. I was always way more interested in girls and never saw myself with a guy when imagining having a wedding. I came out as bisexual when I was 17 and as a lesbian when I was 19!" —Dana

"Even before I ever actually had feelings for another guy, I knew I was probably gay. I knew I wasn't the same as everyone else, that's for sure. I had a more feminine side that I'm fortunate enough to have been able to explore because my parents were so supportive. It wasn't until 8th grade when I got my first real crush on another boy that confirmed for me that I wasn't straight." —Kelton

Musical inspiration

"So I started to figure out I wasn't straight after Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" came out. I sat on the bus listening to it thinking that I'd definitely kiss a girl. And then I started noticing girls a lot more and caring a lot less about what boys thought of me because I didn't really want their attention." —Kadie

"I watched Shakira music videos as a kid and knew right away that I was attracted to women." —Kaylee

"I ship it"

"I'm bisexual. I guess I sort of figured it out when I was in my early teens when I was really into fandoms like Harry Potter and such. I sort of realized I wasn't straight when I 'shipped' same-sex couples a lot more often and thought they were just as cute (if not cuter) than straight pairings." —Jayden

Trial and error

"I didn't want to believe I was gay at first, so I just said I was bisexual and continued to date guys. During my senior year of high school, I was awkwardly talking to this guy that's in a band near my city. After he ended up kissing me, I got in my car and said, "yeah, I'm gay." —Kelsey

Gender confusion

"When I was a kid, I was always sort of tomboyish. I hung out with boys, made mud cakes, played rough, and did other "boyish" things. My parents always embraced that part of me and even encouraged it. I always felt "othered" in my friend groups. I was not a boy but wasn't quite classified as a "girl," either. I always used a shortened version of my birth name growing up because my given name was very feminine and felt inappropriate. The moment that clicked for me was when I started working at a fast food restaurant and someone called me "sir." Something about it made me feel amazing. Another customer would come in and call me "ma'am," and some others would very obviously avoid using gendered language. It felt exhilarating for people to not know what I was and for them to not be able to force a label on me." —Jas

Identity crisis

"The first time I acknowledged my sexuality was when I was 13. I told a friend that I "identified as straight, but would be okay with falling in love with a girl." The small dumbass that I was then didn't realize that what I said about being open to liking girls meant I wasn't quite straight. Flash-forward to many existential crises and fits of self-discovery later (am I bisexual? am I pansexual? a lesbian, perhaps?) and I now comfortably identify as "plain-old gay." —Maddie

No matter how the realization comes to you, discovering the identity you most align with is a huge deal in the life of an LGBT+ individual. You are beautiful and loved regardless of how you choose to label or not label yourself. And if you feel ready to do so, don't be afraid to be out and be proud!

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