TRIGGER WARNING: Mentions of mental illness, suicide, and self-harm
Buckle up, babes. This is going to be a rollercoaster.
Hello, my name is Georgia Calloway and I am pansexual and genderfluid. It has taken a long time for me to be able to come out and actually say that. If, for some reason, you don’t know what that means, then let me explain it to you real quick. I’m pansexual which means I don’t really see gender as a determining factor for who I am attracted to. I am also genderfluid. This is different for everyone but my personal experience is that I flucuate between female and non-binary. Most days I feel like I align with my assigned gender (female) but there are days where I feel as though I’m kind of in the middle (not female but also not male).
My experiences with coming out to myself and to others hasn’t been the happy, heart-warming story that you hear from a lot of others. I also know that a lot of people have gone through what I have or even much worse. I want to share my story to not only let myself heal, but to also show others that they are not alone. Parents, if you are reading this, love your child. Love them and give them a place where they can feel safe.
I have known for a long time that I liked girls. It all started when I was playing JV softball and I fell in love with the pitcher. I had no clue what was going on with me and I didn’t tell anyone about what was going on.
I felt like there was something wrong with me. All my life I heard that being gay was bad, disgusting, and a sin. I did everything I could to not be this bad thing everyone talked about. I would force myself to “like” and date guys just to prove to myself that I was straight.
I tried doing this for a long time but unsurprisingly it didn’t really work out. I was disappointed and ashamed of myself, of who I was. I didn’t know what to do.
One day, I couldn’t take it anymore and I told my bestfriend. I was terrified and I ended up crying in the school bathroom because I was so scared. Luckily she was so supportive of me and was crucial to me really beginning to accept myself. She was the only one I told for about two years.
Fast forward to my Freshman year of high school and I got my first girlfriend. She was a senior (the first of many red flags… but that’s a story for another time) and was one of the only out girls in our school at the time. Well, people eventually started to put two and two together. Most of the people at school were extremely accepting but I was still terrified because I didn’t want my parents to find out.
I am from a small town smacked in the middle of the Bible Belt. My parents? Conservative Christians, of course. So my parents finding out that I had a girlfriend was not my idea of a good time.
Well reader, can you guess what happened? If you said “they found out” then you would be correct! Shoutout to my sister for causing that one. And let me tell you… it was a shitstorm.
Just to summarize most of what happened:
- Constantly called a disappointment
- Parents crying and asking where they went wrong
- Being told that no one else can know they have a gay child because that would make them look terrible
- I was cut off from all communication to anyone outside of the house (i.e. no phone, no computer, no leaving the house except to go to school) for months at a time
- Most Memorable Moment: My father telling me that I was the reason my parents were thinking of getting a divorce
- Told me that I was to break up with my girlfriend (I definitely did not and we continued to date throughout my high school career)
During this time, I came out to the rest of my friends and even my friends’ parents. All of whom, by the way, accepted me with no issue (go figure) and helped me keep this secret from my parents (take that, parents).
As you can imagine, however, all of this had such a strong and lasting effect on me. It’s something that still weighs heavily on me 6 years later. My relationship with my parents, especially my father, is still damaged. I have had depression and anxiety for a long time (being bullied as a kid tends to do that) and it got SIGNIFICANTLY worse after all of this. I attempted suicide so many times and self-harm became the only way I could cope. All because my parents feared their reputation over the happiness of their daughter.
These days I am doing better. I’m in therapy to recover and cope with what happened. My relationship with my parents is… existing but it’s not great. My mom is trying to make up for everything that happened and is learning to accept me. It’s going to take a long time for me to be able to trust her, if I’m ever able to. I don’t know if I will ever be able to have a good relationship with my father. We are civil but that’s about it. The sister that told my parents? Did a complete 180 and has become my biggest supporter. It took a lot of work for me to forgive her but I don’t know what I’d do without her now. I haven’t come out to them permanently (aside from my sister) or told them about being genderfluid but we have a quiet understanding that I am who I am and I’m not changing for anyone. Needless to say, I’m trying not to rock the boat anymore than I have to right now.
I was lucky enough to have the most amazing friends and their families to support me and love me when I needed it most. I will never forget everything that they have done for me. My girlfriend at the time was also a huge reason I got through it. She was there through it all. They showed me that I’m a beautiful genderfluid pansexual. There is nothing wrong with me and I deserve happiness just as much as the next person.
If you are LGBTQ+ and have had an experience similar to mine, then just know that you are not alone. Find your safe person and hold onto them for dear life if that’s what it takes. It’s not going to last forever, I promise. You can get through this and when you do, then so much weight will be lifted off of your shoulders. Just breathe and take it one day at a time.
If you are the parent of an LGBTQ+ and are having issues understanding or accepting your child, then I have one thing to say. There is nothing wrong with them. They are beautiful and valid and need your love now more than ever. Show them that they can trust you and that you are a safe space for them. They need it.
I’ll leave you all with my favorite quote:
“Queer people exist. Choosing not to accept them is not an option. To anyone watching [reading] that isn’t out, it’s okay. You’re okay. You were born this way. It’s right and anyone that has a problem with it is wrong… Living your truth with pride is the way to be happy. You are valid. It gets so much better.”-Daniel Howell
I love you all. If you EVER need someone to talk to, please feel free to message me on my Instagram: @georgiacallowayblogs.
Trevor Project Hotline: 866-488-7386
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255