Haley Boros (she/her) identifies as panromantic and bisexual. In today’s Coming Out post, she shares what it was like growing up with internalized heteronormativity and the gradual process of understanding her sexuality.
Panromantic and Bisexual
Growing up in a small town in B.C., it felt like my scope on gender and sexuality was limited! Many of my friends growing up didn’t talk about their experiences, or at least not to me. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I began to hear from friends specifically that they were bisexual, or gay. It was great to know that they trusted me with this information, but I continued to feel that heteronormativity was the only way forward for me – and didn’t consider anything other than being cisgender.
In highschool, I dated boys but had much closer relationships with girls. At that point, I also really began focusing on my arts practice. I have always said that I had an appreciation for the female body. I looked at other women and felt that their bodies were beautiful, while mine wasn’t the picturesque version of perfect (let’s blame early 2000’s diet culture for this mindset!).
After graduation, it seemed like the floodgates opened for many classmates I knew, coming out and living their truths. Again, I was supportive and knew they would be supportive in return if I voiced any sort of hint of my sexuality. But I kept believing I was straight, and I kept dating men. When I was 24, it wasn’t long after I began dating my now husband that I realized that I was actually attracted to women as well as men! Funny what time, access to the internet, and meeting new people will do to open your mind.
At this point in my mid-thirties, I identify as a cisgender woman who is panromantic and bisexual. Arriving at this realization of who I am has been a lifelong (albeit confusing) process.
For me, labels can be a terrific way to identify certain aspects of ourselves. There are so many things that I am that fully encompass who I am as a person. However, so many things change over the course of a lifetime, and I think that the current labels I’ve set out for myself probably will change at some point.
Pretty much right as I realized I might be bi, I told my husband right away. He said “Okay, cool!” and that was it. I’m sure I’ll always be coming out for the rest of my life and that’s okay. It felt right at the time to me and I’m glad he was the first person I told.
I didn’t know what to expect when I started telling other people seven years ago. It was fairly organic. I never really changed subjects that much to talk about my sexuality, but if it came up, I also said, “Oh hey, me too!”
Haley’s Advice on Coming Out
Don’t be afraid to question why you feel the way you feel about yourself and the qualities you possess. We’re all human and it takes time to know how you see yourself in the world.
Knowing about myself sooner might have helped me have the self confidence that I have acquired now, sooner. We can never know what will happen if we don’t do things with our hearts the first time. I’m really glad how things have turned out!
If you live in British Columbia and would like support understanding your identity or sharing that identity with others, Tricia McGarrah is a queer-identified Registered Clinical Counsellor who offers online sessions to adults.