(Featured art by Zouassi)
I swear, this isn’t a blog strictly about sexuality! But, sexuality is something that’s being found to have more of an impact on mental health than we once thought.
It’s becoming more common for young people to realize that sexuality can be fluid, and to have the strength to find the truth about their own sexuality for themselves. I find that to be an extremely important step to becoming a more open-minded, inclusive and knowledgeable society. And, boy, have we needed that.
However, though the younger generations are provoking more open-mindedness in society, it doesn’t mean it’s always well received. We still have an older generation present who grew up in times where anything outside of heterosexuality was looked at as a sin, a broken law, a broken mind, or a broken family. We have people from this specific generation raising the youth that I described previously. That can be a dangerous-ass combination, as one could imagine.
This can lead to a lot of queer youth remaining closeted for long periods of time (sometimes until they’re old enough to move out on their own) out of the fear of their parents’ reactions. Having to hide a part of who they truly are, especially from the people who are supposed to care the most, is absolutely detrimental to mental health and overall well-being. Why the hell don’t we talk more about how we can help, and how they actually cope with this?
We’re about to today, though, suckas.
I caught up with one of the best people to follow on Instagram, Deja (aka @souljunkie_) to gain a bit of insight about her experience coming out as pansexual in high school with a conservative immediate family. From posts I’d previously seen, it wasn’t an easy ride at all. But, she still stood her ground and behind her sexuality, and I’m still super proud. I asked her a few questions about it. Let’s see what she had to say:
When/how did you realize that you were pansexual?
“At first, I didn’t know what my sexuality was, but I knew it wasn’t straight. I knew for sure I liked girls a little more than I liked guys. I’ve never actually dated a trans/non-binary/gender fluid person before, but I felt that if I liked the person enough, I’d probably date them. I first realized I was pan around the end of eighth grade.”
How supported do you feel from your family?
“To be honest, a good amount of people in my family don’t mind [my sexuality]. My mom, my dad, and my grandmother are the only ones who are actually upset. I live with my mom, so I’m getting a lot of shit for being the way I am. She’s constantly ignoring me and often threatens to out my girlfriend to her parents. She doesn’t take my emotions into consideration and often makes the whole situation about her.”
What would you wish for [your mother] to understand about this situation?
“I would want her to understand that this is me. I’m not a follower.”
She assumes you’re only pansexual because you got it from somewhere else??
“Yup, I go to an art school, which is full of other queer people, and she assumes that I got it from them.”
*Side note: Oh, wow, she caught THE QUEER. That’s not how that works, and I wish more conservative people in that generation understood that*
What’s helped you cope with having non-supportive parents?
“Mainly talking about it to other people, or venting about it on Instagram.”
What would you say to anyone else who might be in a similar position to you?
“Try not to let your family bother you. At times, it might be best to turn to your friends. At the end of the day, this is YOUR life, and, at this point, make yourself happy.”
Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
“I’ve learned that I’m not very strong, [and] that I have to rely on other people to keep myself standing. I’ve learned that, sometimes, family sucks balls and that you’ll need to learn to support yourself. I’ve learned that friends are, in fact, important.”
And that was the end of that.
First of all, I’d just like to be like a gushy parent for a second, and show my pride in how well she handled coming out to her mother. I’d seen on previous posts where she’d mentioned that she could never even imagine herself coming out to her mother no matter what. That still would have been a respectable choice, but one where she would have had to keep hiding herself. So, when I saw her post about her coming out to her mother, I felt a sense of dread for her, but I more so felt an overwhelming sense of pride. It may seem like a small feat to many, but coming out to conservative parents has the potential to change someone’s entire life. Not to mention the fact that being a queer person of color can be especially intimidating due to the fact that the LGBTQ community can be highly stigmatized in communities of color.
So, to Deja, and others like her, we fuckin’ see you, and we wish we had the same courage for life in general that you all have for this one aspect of your life right now. We’re rooting for you. Holy shit, wow. You’re amazing!
In addition to that, I’d really like to give SO MUCH FREAKIN’ THANKS to Deja for being willing to give her insight on how she’s coped with a problem many face, but aren’t willing to speak out about. It’s people like her that gives everyone a starting point for knowing how to approach issues that everyone is timid about.
I do want to add, too, that, in spite of what she thinks (I’m sorry about how harsh that sounds!), I do thinks she’s strong. I know that sounds cliche as all get out, but I genuinely feel that. People tend to assume that, just because they need help from others, it means they don’t have the strength to stand on their own. From what I’ve understood so far, the fact that she’d even chosen to come out speaks volumes about her capability to handle herself. Plus, even reaching out and admitting she needs support speaks volumes about her smarts in regards to coping with everything. So, there. I gave my own little two cents where they probably weren’t warranted.
Do you guys have any additional thoughts or questions on this topic? Have any of you had to deal with coming out to conservative parents/family members/friends? If so, feel free to leave all that stuff here, or DM me on my Instagram page.
And, of course, thank you SO much for taking the time to read (or even skim through) this. How beautiful of you!