By Meghan Christian
I have always considered myself to be an ordinary person. I did well in school, but wasn’t the smartest kid. I was in theatre and choir, but never got the lead or a solo. I have always had great friends, but I wasn’t one of the popular kids. I figured that I was just a square peg that fit into a square hole and that would be the end of it all. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I would start to feel a little less ordinary and it wasn’t until high school that I would fully accept my uniqueness wholeheartedly. And what is it that makes me less ordinary than I thought? I’m a bisexual.
Unlike many other LGBTQ individuals, I cannot tell you about when I was six and I felt different than the other kids I was playing with. I cannot tell you about my first kiss with a member of the opposite sex and say that I didn’t feel anything. It wasn’t until I was 13 that I began to feel less like a square peg and more like a rectangle one.
I don’t even know if I was actually fully aware of it, but there was something about the idea that I could not be as normal as I thought that was difficult and I think it is for a lot of 13-year-olds. That coupled with the fact that I was vaguely aware even then of what people thought about girls who liked other girls. We’ve all heard it before and I bet we’ve even said some of those things before. “She’s just looking for attention” or “She’s only saying she’s bi because she doesn’t want to admit she’s a lesbian.”
Even though I am open about my sexuality, it wasn’t until I was in college that I felt comfortable enough to fully embrace it. Maybe it had something to do with being around brand-new people who didn’t know me beforehand that helped, but whatever it was, it felt great to be more vocal about being bisexual.
And now, being open about who I am feels more important than ever, especially as Pride Month came to a close and our rights and humanity are being attacked and under-valued by a certain orange-skinned “politician.”
While our future as a community feels uncertain, I was reminded in June of how blessed I am to be where I am, to be living during this time. I got to witness our community coming together regardless of any fear that we may be feeling. I got to watch as Grace Bacon, a 76-year-old transactivist, finally received recognition for her years of trailblazing, so people like me could openly be ourselves.
As a bisexual woman and a journalist, covering the Flint LGBTQ+ community has been incredibly fulfilling. Not because I am helping push some made up agenda, but because this community, my community, is full of caring, passionate, and inspiring individuals who deserve to have their stories told. I just hope that I have done them justice so far.
Being a bisexual person comes with a lot of challenges from both the straight and LGBTQ communities. Bisexuals are still seen as fence-sitters, sluts, people who cheat easily, and even more painfully, girls just pretending to be queer when they are really straight. Knowing this and the other stereotypes of bisexuals that are depicted in the media, I was a little nervous about attending Flint’s Pride festival.
Flint’s Pride in the Park event was on June 24, a beautiful Saturday afternoon, in Riverbank Park. The event featured tables from various local organizations trying to get more of us involved and other tables handing out information to help those new to the community and their loved ones to understand what it means to be LGBTQ. On the main stage, we got to watch amazing drag performances and Flint artists spread messages of love to everyone in attendance.
But none of these things were the best part of my Pride experience. For me, the greatest moment was seeing how many of us and our allies were there, laughing, dancing, and having a great time. The greatest moment was seeing a lesbian couple walk hand-in-hand without fear of harassment, seeing teens with Pride flags tied around them like capes. The greatest moment was seeing everyone there totally unafraid to just be themselves.
So, during Pride Month I got to learn about the history of the Flint LGBTQ+ community and to hear one of the first transactivists share her story. I got to listen to speakers tell a church full of my people that we matter, that we are loved, and that we are safe here in Flint. I got to celebrate myself and others like me at Flint Pride. This month, I finally felt like a true part of the LGBTQ community.
EVM Managing Editor Meghan Christian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.