No One Deserves to Live in a Closet

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Ginny Weasley. My attraction towards her (read: Bonnie Wright) my freshman year was one of my first indications that I was not straight. Little did I know, the Harry Potter series would play a much larger role in my coming out tale in the long run, but let me share my story before jumping to the point where I signed my marriage license with a Ravenclaw pen.

Growing up, I was a tom-boy. And not your average tom-boy; I wore all boys’ clothes, had a bowl haircut, and would get told often by strangers in public restrooms that I was in the wrong facility. I was blessed to have parents who supported my interests and never made me feel different or ashamed of my “masculine” tendencies. By middle school, I was going through puberty and battling constant self-esteem issues as my body changed. I was hella awkward. And, as you can already tell, I was definitely categorized as a dork among my peers. Therefore, I did not have many deep and close friendships during adolescence. During my 8th grade year, I finally developed a meaningful and important friendship with a girl at school. We were inseparable for a few months before a petty fight drove us apart. However, when the friendship ended, I was inexplicably and disproportionately sad. In the aftermath of this friendship fissure, I began to question my straightness for the first time.

Over the next five years, I was attracted to and dated a few boys, and truly enjoyed myself, but became even more confused. I cycled through crushes on various girls at school, and read every article in Seventeen magazine that was sure to answer, “Am I in Love with My Bestie, or Are We Just Super Close?”. I grew up in a small ski town in Colorado, and I do not have any negative memories about encountering homophobic people in my community. I had never heard my family members talk about their acceptance (or lack of acceptance) of the LGBTQIA+ community, and I just didn’t know where they stood. Recently, I went back and read my journal from my high school years, and was shocked at how much internalized homophobia filled the pages. These are the words I used to describe my feelings about my same-sex attraction: bad, strange, horrible, confusing, uncomfortable, awful, weird, and scared. Looking back now, I feel so sad for my younger self and so proud of how far I’ve come.

Flash forward to college. I chose to go to a university in Arizona, and had the opportunity to pick my future roommate out of a lineup online. I was immediately drawn to Katie, because her profile touted her love for Harry Potter just as mine did. We ended up rooming together, and are still best friends to this day. Our freshman year, Katie started a job in the school’s tech support department and met Nikki (my gorgeous, amazing, dazzling future wife). How did Katie and Nikki connect, you may ask? Harry Potter. I knew Nikki as Katie’s “Harry Potter work friend” and didn’t spend much time with her that year. However, in order to complete one of the classes for my summer program, I needed to stay in Arizona during the summer of 2013, but the dorms were too costly. Nikki graciously offered me the extra room in her and her parents’ home, and I moved in!

Nikki and I fell in love slowly and all at once. We spent so much time together talking, laughing, baking, and being dorky during those eight weeks that we became stuck like glue. When it came time for me to move back into the dorms, we both felt a deep sense of separation anxiety. I could barely keep my phone charged with how much we texted and Snapped after I moved out! Slowly, I began to realize that the butterflies I was feeling were not like anything I had ever experienced. We began holding hands and playing footsie in secret, but never addressed our flirty behavior. Finally, on October 22nd after watching the Pretty Little Liars Halloween special, I took the plunge. “What are we doing?” I asked Nikki. After talking about our feelings for a few hours, she kissed me, and we have never looked back.

The thing was, I knew that if I kissed Nikki that night, I would end up marrying her. If I had not fallen in love with her, I am not sure that I ever would have come out as bi. We knew what the stakes would be if we began dating, as Nikki’s family was not accepting of homosexuality. But we decided to trust ourselves and our feelings, and have now been together nearly seven years. We have endured so much as a couple, but we have also experienced so much joy, acceptance, kindness, and love. I have become exceedingly more comfortable in my own skin and with who I am. I am now confident in my roles as a wife, mother, friend, and daughter. One of the most important lessons I have learned after all this time is that, similar to Harry, no one deserves to live in a closet.

This story was shared by a human named Rachel

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