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As Pride month wraps up, I wanted to take a moment to talk about something many of you know about me, but some of you don’t: I’m queer! I was inspired by a friend who recently shared about her own experiences (you know who you are!), and I decided to finally take the plunge and open up about this.

Growing up, I assumed I was straight, despite whispers inside me to the contrary. In college, those whispers became louder and louder until I finally started to pay attention to them. Once I realized I was attracted to women and non-binary folks as well as men, it really shifted the way I saw myself and the world.

Since age 18, I have dated and had crushes on people of different genders. To express this experience, I refer to myself alternately as “bi” or “queer.” And yes, I am now happily married to a cis man—we’ve been together for nearly 13 years. Guess what? That doesn’t make me any less queer. Sexuality may be fluid—dynamic, able to evolve—but it is also a stable identity. I am bi no matter the gender of the person I am with. I’m bi when I’m dating a woman. I’m bi when I’m crushing on a non-binary person. I’m bi when I am married to a man. I have been definitely, unwaveringly queer for my entire adult life.

Growing up, I was often painfully shy and socially anxious. My childhood was marked by feeling like it was best to keep quiet about my feelings, sometimes to my own detriment—speaking up was frightening, so I learned to repress my own emotions. My adult life has been an ongoing process of unlearning this, and teaching myself to get more comfortable honoring, sharing, and asserting my feelings and the truths of my life. Lately, I’ve been thinking about what it means to truly use my voice and speak up for myself and others. And I realized, how can I use my voice bravely as a force for change, if I am too afraid to use my voice to simply say who I am?

I have not exactly been closeted this whole time. I have been “out” to some extent since college. And I frequently speak up for LGBTQ+ and other human rights. Even still, being “out” is an ongoing process—especially for someone whose queerness is often invisible—and there are times I’ve held back out of fear when I could have expressed something about myself. So now, I am making sure to claim space for myself. I am honoring this basic truth about who I am—one that is important, relevant, beautiful, honest, and necessary. I am making my voice louder so that I can continue to make noise and speak out in a world that needs it.

Note: this was first written as a post for friends on Facebook, and I decided to share it here, too, so that it these words can stay in a more visible place.

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