Jenna: My Attraction is Limitless
This year, for pride month, we got in touch with strong voices and allies in the LGBTQ+ community to share their stories with us. It's not surprising that many of them share common themes which questioning young people experience as they find themselves and their sexualities. We hope that hearing these stories will help others on their journey for discovery of self-love and pride.
Jenna (she/they) started her journey to self discovery when she was in high school. “I realized I wasn’t straight when I fell in love with a girl. The love I felt was indistinguishable than the love I felt for boys. I quickly accepted myself, and I never tried to ignore how I felt. However, I was pretty sheltered when it came to LGBTQ+ issues.”
Although Jenna knew she liked boys and girls, the word bisexual was not in her vocabulary. As far as she knew, she was just Jenna.
How did you come out as bi?
“I had never heard the words ‘bi’ or ‘bisexual’ before. I didn’t know there was a word for liking more than one gender. It wasn’t until someone came out to me as bi that I realized that I was bi too. Once I found a word that described me, I felt enormous pride.
It took a few years before I was able to live openly due to issues at home, but once I got to college, I blossomed because I found a group of amazing peers who uplifted me. I became the president of the queer student group, performed as queer characters in plays, and wrote stories about queer characters in my writing classes.”
What does being bi mean to you?
“Bi identity is very individualized, and every bi person will experience attraction differently. For me, being bi means my attraction is limitless. I am allowed to be fluid, and I am allowed to be attracted to all kinds of people in all kinds of ways.”
Jenna’s experience living in a conservative area has shown her that being an ally means more than waving the rainbow flag. “What the community needs is meaningful, unequivocal demonstrations of support that go beyond passive symbolism. Displaying a little rainbow sign is nice, but it’s not enough for many LGBTQ+ people to feel safe.”
On advice to people wanting to be stronger allies:
Although it is a nice gesture, Jenna feels that passive symbolism has taken place of tangible, wholesome love of our neighbors. “I’ve encountered professionals who had rainbow ‘Safe Space’ stickers on their classroom doors yet were incredibly ignorant about anything other than the issues of white cis gay men. If you want to truly be an ally, start by specifically educating yourself on LGBTQ+ people who have been marginalized in the discussion of LGBTQ+ issues. Then, when you feel equipped, be vocal. Openly discuss LGBTQ+ topics instead of treating them as taboo. Be willing to correct people who spread misinformation and advocate for people who are being mistreated. Normalize asking for names and pronouns in all settings and refrain from assuming someone’s orientation or gender. It’s these everyday actions that make a difference.”
Speaking on what she would say to someone struggling with their identity and finding their truth, we are reminded of Einstein’s infamous saying: if you judge a fish by its ability to climb trees, it will live its whole life thinking it’s stupid.
Jenna’s advice to someone struggling to find themselves:
“It is okay that you are struggling, and the fact that you are struggling does not indicate that something is wrong with you. The problem lies in our heteronormative and cisnormative society. These societal barriers may not make it easy for you to feel confident, but I hope you never give up on your happiness because you are 100% worth it.”
CDC LGBTQ Youth Resources
Coming next - meet our Queer Pride and Ace Pride ambassadors...