When I was a teenager, I believed the narrative around me. I believed that bisexuality was only a stepping stone to being a lesbian or just a phase or something girls said to get attention. Movies, TV shows, and brainless teen magazines as well as the gay and straight people around me diagnosed the feelings I had as being some phase. At best, I thought I was just a really progressive ally, and this would all go away. But I also feared that I was actually certifiable, because I crushed hard over girls at school, and, as my poor parents could tell you, I also obsessed over boys — the boys didn’t really like me back, but that’s another story for another publication.
If you know me, it’s no shock that I was a very social, boisterous kid. What no one knew, though, was that I actually felt incredibly isolated for the few years we lived out in the suburbs on Long Island during high school. I guess you really can’t be what you can’t see, and until I got to college, I knew no queer females of color my age in media or in real life.
There are way more examples out there these days for young women trying to figure themselves out than there were in 1997. Still, I know that some 13-year-old black girl is Googling “Can you like girls and boys?” I want her to know that she can. And it’s completely all right. She’s not crazy. She’s not the only one with a crush on her female best friend and her male lab partner. Her feelings are valid, and no one can take those feelings away from her.