As if school isn’t bad enough; the constant tests, dealing with puberty, friendships, and your over protective parents.
But then it gets a hell of a lot harder when you realize you have a crush on the girl who sits next to you in maths.
Crushes can be exciting, or heartbreaking if they don’t reciprocate, but what about when you’re also a girl. Throwing the struggles of discovering your sexuality into the equation of school life doesn’t make things any easier, and school doesn’t always feel like the safest environment to discuss your sexuality.
I remember first developing feelings for another girl when I was fourteen; she was in a few of my classes at school. Of course many people are usually taken aback when they have realisations about their sexuality or gender identity, and my way of coping with this was to simply not acknowledge it. Or make excuses for it; ‘I don’t like her, I just value her a lot as a friend’. Come the beginning of my last year at secondary school I realized I needed to stop kidding myself; I knew I liked girls, and to some degree I think I’d always known, and finally I’d got to a place where I accepted my sexuality.
Discussing you’re crushes with your friends is part of the fun, and school should be a place where you can explore romance and dating without having to worry, however when your friends have no idea that you’re batting for the other team that makes things difficult. Even if you know your friends will be supportive of you, things like that spread like wildfire round school environments, and even if it’s not in a cruel way, there’s something unnerving about knowing that people are talking about you. And of course there’s always the few who’ll be homophobic. It’s likely just to be immaturity, but even flippant comments like ‘oh that’s so gay’ (which I’m sure nearly every teenager has said at some point) are disconcerting, and make you feel as if there’s something wrong with you.
I truly admire people who had the courage to come out as LGBT+ at school because I waited until college, which was when I told my friends and family. However even if you’re brave enough to come out and everyone is accepting of you, it makes dating a hell of a lot harder. LGBT+ individuals literally are the minority in terms of sexuality meaning it can be difficult to actually meet someone of the same gender who is also gay or bisexual, especially in school when many people are still unsure of their sexuality, and this can be heartbreaking when other friends are already dating. Although a relationship isn’t everything, a lot of teenagers desire one and it’s difficult when you’re an LGBT+ individual and you don’t know any others in the community. Perhaps what’s even more difficult is if, like me, a vast majority of your friends are the same gender as you, and in my case, discussing the boys they like. It can make you feel alienated, isolated, and although your friends think it’s harmless it can make you like an outcast.
Yes, being a sexual/gender minority isn’t easy, particularly when you’re in school. But that’s no reason not to be confident about your identity. At the end of the day, it’s who you are and the people who can’t accept don’t matter; you won’t even have to see ever again when you finish school. And although it doesn’t seem like it, relationships happen when you least expect it and everyone finds love one day, no matter what their sexuality is.