United States

Hi, I‘m Alaina. I am Pansexual.

I am 17 years old and I am from the Midwest. I am extremely passionate about art, music, writing, and comedy improv. I consider myself to be a very outgoing person. I care deeply about others and try to spend a lot of my time helping other people through community service, peer tutoring, and whatever I can do to provide advice. I am super liberal, believe in equality and the power of diversity, and I am a feminist. I play volleyball, participate in track and field as a sprinter and thrower, and I am always happy to meet new people. :)

What being bisexual means to me

I believe that being bisexual means that I am able to truly fall in love with people for their souls, rather than just their gender. Bisexuality is the umbrella term, and I call myself pan, because I feel less restricted to whom I can care about in a romantic/sexual way, and I also feel as if I can see a person more clearly for his/her/their personality traits, unique quirks, and individual opinions, rather than just the reproductive organs of the person. Gender is pretty irrelevant when it comes to my developing feelings for someone. I feel that I am able to simply be me, care about whomever I develop an attraction for, and not worry about stereotypical gender roles/ relationship expectations.

What I would like the world to know about bisexuals

Being bisexual does not mean that someone is unsure of his/her/their sexual orientation. Bisexuality is a valid orientation, and deserves as much respect as heterosexuality or homosexuality. Being bisexual doesn't make you greedy, indecisive, or interested in three ways necessarily. While yes, there are greedy/indecisive/adventurous people in the world, that doesn't mean that all bisexuals are. People who are bisexual are still people, and they should be evaluated as such, and not just given a stereotypical label.

What was your path to a bisexual identity?

I have always had little crushes on boys, but realized at 13 years old that I was also attracted to females, and I even envisioned being in a relationship with someone I went to overnight camp with. I tried very hard to push my feelings and observations to the side, but it became increasingly harder towards the end of middle school, and in the beginning of high school. In the Winter of my sophomore year, at age 16, I told my friends, parents, and maternal grandparents that I was bisexual. My friends, parents, and grandparents were immediately supportive, but asked many questions. I realize now that their curiosity was and is completely acceptable and normal, and shows that they were interested in being accurate and respectful to me, and did it all out of care. Not all of my family members know about my orientation, but I will tell them when I am ready. I have dated boys, and I have dated a girl, and I do not feel embarrassed or ashamed.

What is the toughest thing about being bisexual?

Peoples' ignorance.

What is the best thing about being bisexual?

I would say that I get to know people for who they are, and less of their gender identities/ orientations. I feel that being bisexual gives me a lens of seeing people for their strengths and weaknesses, rather than just as a member of a specific gender, etc.

How have other people in your life reacted to your bisexuality?

All of my friends have been very supportive. Many have been confused, but more than willing to try to understand me. My parents have been supportive, but it did take a bit of time to fully come to terms with the news- which is completely normal and okay! My teachers have been supportive, and I have been more than lucky to be able to be fairly open about myself. However, half of my family does not know about my identity, because I do fear their judgments, and I am waiting for the right time to come out to them.

What advice do you have for someone who thinks they may be bi or who is in the process of coming out as bi?

My main advice is to not do what I did- do not be ashamed of who you are and feel that you need to hide it. Of course you should come out when you feel ready, and there is no shame in waiting, however, you should still be proud of who you are. Your attractions are completely normal, and you are very supported and loved. Never feel that you are alone, or that you don't have any outlets. As a teenager, I know that many people (such as myself at times) are prone to seeing the world in black and white. However, there are always people who will love and accept you, and as cliché as it is, know that things DO get better. In the USA, 74% of the states have gay marriage legalized, and we are in a world where equality is becoming more prominent. Do not forget that things are changing, and that you are a wonderful part of that!