when i knew #24.
by Michael King
‘I would like to share my story: When I was growing up, I was the typical boy-crazy young girl. But, when I entered middle school, a lot of things started to change. I would say that I always noticed girls, but – once middle school happened – I noticed them in a different light. I always thought that I was weird, because I still really liked boys (in fact, I had crushes on several of the popular boys in my grade), but I also began to have those same feelings towards some of the girls.
“In high school it got stronger. My freshmen or sophomore year, I told one of my friends that I liked her, and she didn’t talk to me for months after. It really hurt. At this point in my life, my parents had a point of view that it was all wrong how I was feeling, but I couldn’t help it. Very few people knew my secret; only those who were really close to me knew. That changed for me junior year.
“I got to go through Challenge Day, and it the the major turning point for my life. During one part of the day, an activity was done called ‘power exchange.’ One of the statements was, ‘If you, a family member, or friend is gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual, please cross the line.’ Several of my friends crossed the line, One of my dear friends gave me courage enough to pass over. I told myself that it was okay that I am this way.
“Later in the afternoon, I came out to the whole room, telling them I was bi. It felt good to tell them. I have to say that no one really looked at me any differently after that. There are days now, even at the age of 26, that I fear I made a mistake, that there is something wrong with me. I don’t know how to feel or how to tell others. I’m afraid of being turned away, of not having the support of my dear friends.”