Already at five years old I knew that girls were supposed to crush on boys. There was a girl at my daycare-center, one or two years younger than me, who used to cling to me a lot. I remember I asked her one time, as a joke, “do you love me?” I don’t know if she even knew what love meant, but she answered yes when I expected her not to, and I think I realized it right then and there.
At six years old I started school, and that girls were supposed to like boys became painfully obvious. The girls would all ask eachother “who do you like?” I had a standard answer, a blonde curly-haired boy who lived on my street. I can’t remember if I actually had a crush on him or just said it to fit in, but at the very least I must have thought he was cute.
At eight years old I had a huge crush on a girl with long flowing hair. She was both nice and cute and I could not stop thinking about her (and if anyone wonders, she is still incredibly pretty!). We didn’t play the “who do you like-game” the way we did two years earlier, but peoples crushes were still something us girls discussed. I never told anyone I liked that girl though, I knew very well by then. Girls were supposed to like boys.
At eleven years old I fell in love with a band called Tatu. Rumors said that the two girls in that band were actually a couple. My classmates disliked them and they used to tell me “you do know that they are lesbian right?” I used to shrug my shoulders and say that it was only a rumor, but secretly I always hoped that they really were. By that time I knew that some girls liked other girls, but I had never before seen an actual example of a girl like that.
Twelve year-old me went to girls camp and learned the word bisexual. The older girls talked about it like it was no big deal, and I was fashinated, excited and scared all at once. I wrote in my diary “I’m bisexual, and I accept that. It isn’t bad, it just means I can love more than others. I’m not gonna tell anyone. Maybe if I can get a boyfriend I won’t have to.”
Through my teenage-years I had many crushes, although none lasted very long. Both on boys and girls, but I only told people about the boys. My friends and family were never homophobic, but I was still scared. There was a group of popular boys in my class who used to say that things were gay when they weren’t good, and everytime I heard it I wanted to sink through the floor.
When I was 18 we talked about preventing crime in social studies. The thought of investing in youth clubs came up and my classmate said “aren’t youth clubs kind of gay?” My teacher just chuckled and continued the conversation, and my blood boiled when I realized that she was just going to allow that to be said in her classroom.
At 22 I still can’t help but feel different. I know I’m not and I know that people around me have different sexualities. But sometimes feelings doesn’t follow logic. And I can’t help but think back to all those times in my childhood when I felt so guilty about liking the wrong person. What if I had just read a childrens book with a gay charcter when I was seven, or seen a movie with a gay couple when I was ten, or talked about same-sex realtionships, asexuality and maybe transsexuality in sex-ed? What if my teachers had told us that we were ok the way we were?
What if my favorite family-drama had been The Fosters instead of 7th Heaven? If I had seen a lesbian couple raise a family without ever feeling guilty about their sexuality, or seen a boy my age struggle with feelings and labels. I think it would have helped, at least a little bit. It’s so important, just to be visible to kids out there. So when I see Lena tell Jude to not feel any shame about who he is, it gets to me. It makes me wish The Fosters had existed when I was eleven, and it makes me think "I fucking love this show."