I always knew that I liked girls. I tried denying it at first, pretending that the crushes I got weren’t romantic, I just really wanted to be friends with them, but I couldn’t hide it for long. I remember the first girl I ever liked, we were in fourth grade and she was the new girl. She was funny, smart, and was the prettiest person I’d ever seen in my life. I remember wanting to be with her most of the time, trying to eat lunch with her, play with her at recess, anything. If she didn’t want to do something with me, I wouldn’t push it and I’d let her do what she wanted, but I thought of her a lot. It was so innocent and cute, but she turned against me. She started ignoring me, making fun of me, and saying things behind my back, like “she follows me around like a puppy, like she has a crush on me or something.” I didn’t realize that what I had was a crush, so to have such a negative reaction to what felt so natural came as a shock, and I was disgusted with myself. Why did I have to bug her so much?
My parents had been supportive of the LGBTQ+ community my entire life. We had close family friends who were openly gay, and my parents had never lied to me about them. "Jim and Jessie are in love" they’d tell me, and that’s perfectly fine. I had never once considered that wanting to be with someone of the same sex might be considered wrong, it wasn’t something I was raised with. I think that my first crush was the reason I didn’t come out even younger. She had scared me, made me realize that not everyone was as supportive as the people I had been raised around.
I realized that my feelings for women overpowered how much I cared about negative reactions by the time I was about 13, and so I came out to my parents. My mom told me that she’d love me no matter what, and my dad said “cool beans”. I told my sister, who joked (good-naturedly) that she’d always wanted a gay sister, and that was that. When I told my brother, he was just mad that he was the last person I had told. I started dating young, and fell in love with an amazing girl who subsequently broke my heart.
Laramie is one of the best places in Wyoming. Although I’ve been called a f*ggot by a vice principal once, and I’ve had plenty of homophobes who tell me I’m going to hell, all these people have been completely outnumbered by the sheer amount of support and love I’ve received from the majority of the community. Both our middle school and high school have GSAs – they’re called SALLY in the high school to be trans-inclusive, and almost every single teacher I’ve had has been a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community.
Sadly, I know that my story is relatively rare, especially for such a conservative state. I was lucky enough to grow up and come out in an amazing community, and have been able to avoid a lot of negative experiences because I am straight passing. Being bisexual has barely been an issue for me, and I hope that in the future others are able to say the same.