What Pride Means to Me: A Love Letter to Equality

What does it mean to be LGBTQ? What does it mean to be in the community? Is there such a thing as ‘not queer enough?’ Is there a certain quota you have to hit be accepted?

What do you do if you feel like you don’t belong to the ‘straight’ or the ‘gay’ crowd? Where do you belong.

This was something I really struggled with. I knew since I was 13 that I wasn’t fully straight. I didn’t know what to really do about it. We had one bisexual student in our tiny town and she was mocked for being an ‘attention whore.’

So, that’s what sexuality became to me. You were straight, gay, or an attention whore. No grey area, no other categories.

I kept to myself. I mentally shamed men and women who proclaimed bisexuality. I had a friend when I first moved to NYC who told me she was bisexual but she had a long term relationship with a man. So, I wrote her off.

My defense mechanism was cold. Everyone needed to fit into the two boxes my upbringing gave me.

This all changed when I met a very special man, Jimmy. He loved me for me, even my grey areas. He told me I was loved and accepted. And through our love, I emerged (slowly). I’m incredibly grateful for his acceptance.

From there I was able to open up to the people closest to me. This led to me starting a new job and telling them from the start who I am. I was like a frog warming up to the water! My close friends didn’t think it was crazy and my new coworkers were “oh okay. Cool.”

Now, I’m the most me that I’ve ever been! I’ve changed so much over my time in NYC. I wish I could go back and erase every hateful thought I’ve had but I can’t. Instead I have to share my journey to accepting others and myself. If you’re reading this and relate, it’s okay. We can change and heal together.

Moral of the story: sexuality is a spectrum and a journey. Life isn’t black and white and people’s emotions certainly are not. Love each other. Accept each other.

-Mikayla Olivia Orrson