Brooklyn White
December 19, 2017 2:31 pm
Atypeek/Getty Images

One night in 2015, I was entertaining male company at my grandparents’ house. I was blazed and enjoying myself, when suddenly my grandma knocked on the door and asked me to come to the living room. I thought I was in deep shit, so I got myself together, put on my big girl pants, and marched to what felt like an execution. I sat down and my grandma asked me two questions.

“Are you high?”

I was not in a place to be professing my marijuana use — especially to my grandma — so I said I was just tired.

“Do you like girls?”

That question hit way harder. My granny said she asked because I was in a relationship with a woman on Facebook (she’s my best friend; it was a joke), and also because I had been spending a lot of time with that same woman.

“No.”

I had been asked about my sexuality several times before, and those questions (and assumptions) came from more people than just my grandma.

Starting in middle school, certain family members would question my fashion choices and try to connect my style of dress with my sexual preference. Later, a high school classmate sent me a Facebook message asking if I liked girls, and a work associate asked me the same question about two years ago. I always said no.

I had too many of my own questions about myself to say anything other than no.

In 2015, I met a great guy who I liked very much. He is bisexual and very comfortable in his skin. We had our fling and were able to remain pretty good friends once it was over. One summer night, when we had one of our deep talks, I tried to explain how I felt about my gender and my sexual preferences. It came out as me thinking that I was  gender neutral — which is how I identified for a time period. I remember thinking that label was accurate for me since I knew I wasn’t 100% on either side of the spectrum — I didn’t know what else I could be. But after moving to New York months later, I realized I wasn’t gender neutral after all. I was a woman; I am a woman.

Once I understood the reality of my gender identity, I still couldn’t shake that feeling of confusion. I kept it deep inside of my head and heart, so I didn’t have a lot of people to guide me and help me come to a conclusion. That was no one’s fault — I just didn’t know how to express myself. I knew that gender and sexuality were separate, and I wanted to figure myself out, once and for all.

***

At a friend’s art show this year, I met the coolest lady. She was smart and pretty, had great taste in music, and was super easy to talk to. She attracted me. I wasn’t sure how to make anything happen, but I knew how I felt and what I wanted.

She and I kept in touch, and we even tried to hang out once before I left town. It didn’t happen, but it made me see the realest truth about myself.

I’m bisexual.

I traveled back to my hometown roots to visit my grandparents right before Thanksgiving. I hadn’t been home in almost two years, and after living in New York City, I needed a serious refresher. It’s been smooth sailing. I’m enjoying being home.

A few days ago, my grandpa knocked on my bedroom door and started asking me different questions about my life (prompted by a nude photo shoot that I had posted on Facebook!).

Brooklyn White/HelloGiggles

So here I am — a Black, openly queer, femme writer born into an intensely religious family. Everything about me — my tastes, the people I gravitate towards, the causes I care for — makes much more sense. I still have a lot of questions and ideas about my life, and I know I’m going to need help as I start this new chapter of my life. I am grateful to my grandfather and to my significant other for understanding me. It is a blessing to have many friends who are like me.

I am thankful for the opportunity to spend my first Christmas, standing in my honesty.

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