I was a kid. I didn't exactly have a choice in the matter! One of the many harmful teachings this cult preached was immense homophobia.
As a result of this, I began dealing with guilt and disgust toward myself since the age of 12. That was the age I first realized women attracted me too.
By now, I was in my early twenties. I had long since left my family and that cult. This was part of the reason I decided to move as far away as possible, and start fresh.
For me, that ended up being Seattle. (long story)
Seattle shocked me. It was SO different! And "being gay" seemed almost popular. I had never been around so many people who weren't afraid to hold hands with the same sex... kiss the same sex in public... I mean, what kind of city was this?? Did people really not feel "afraid of backlash" by displaying it?
It took me a while to calm down and realize that this was just a very liberal city and that this place was a pretty good place to be if you were part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
For the first time, I didn't feel afraid of what my community would say if I mentioned I enjoyed dating women too.
I "came out" for the first time and not knowing what "my label" was, I simply went by "Bisexual."
The first time I dated a transgender woman, I realized that "bisexual" didn't really fully explain me.
I didn't care about gender, just the personality and way of being.
And so, I realized that "Pansexual" felt a better fit for me.
At this point of my life, I am lucky to say I no longer battle with guilt for being part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
But in the beginning, talking about it with close friends and my therapist helped iron those things out.
Bottling in never helps!