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Discovering your sexuality By: Abby Robertson in collaboration with QCanterbury

When I was in year 13 at my all girls’ high school, our music class had this mural called “Baewatch”, where we printed photos of celebrity crushes as a tribute to their sexiness. It started at a modest size of just a couple of faces, but soon almost an entire wall was littered top to bottom with all sorts: boys we knew, Ryan Gosling to Aaron Tivet, to Troy Bolton. Even my gay teacher contributed his own bae, Bauden Barrett. Baewatch was one of the key parts to my lesbian awakening; I realised internally that, oh shit, I wasn’t putting up any actual boy crushes — and there are only so many #WomanCrushWednesdays a straight girl can have. I was seventeen. Of course, I’m not alone in my coming out story. Late last year we asked for submissions in the QCanterbury and wider queer community to hear what people had to say, and wanted to share, about figuring out their own sexuality. All responses were anonymous, and we put the call out as follows: “We would love to hear your experiences: the good, the bad and the ugly. Our intention is to spread awareness of the bad, to educate cishet people and encourage support and allyship, but also to share the joy that comes with the good, and overall to make sure that those in our community, closeted or out, may feel seen and not alone.”

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Coming Out For some of us, the road to self-realising our sexuality is pretty evident from a young age: “I’ve known I wasn’t straight since I was thirteen. I can pinpoint it to the day exactly — my health teacher told our class of 30 that 10% people were gay, so that meant that 3 of us were lesbians. I looked around the class, frantically trying to guess who on earth it could be. That’s when it started to click in my head. Oh shit, dat me. I came out to my mum a few months later as bisexual. She was a little confused, I think, and told me to keep an open mind. She sent me some articles about how more prisoners and pirates are gay, because they’re around the same gender all day. I had just started at a single-sex school, and gosh, it must have corrupted me fast! My parents weren’t not supportive, though, which is really all I needed.” One thing to remember is that it isn’t always a lightbulb moment, where there’s an epiphany and you immediately just know yourself. Given we are living in a world where heterosexuality and cisgenderedness are the dominant social norms, that is unsurprising: “One of the hardest things about being trans in my experience is constantly doubting yourself. You compare yourself to other trans people and think because your experiences aren’t exactly alike, that you’re just faking being trans. Imposter syndrome is a very real thing especially in the early stages of transitioning, and it takes a lot of unlearning harmful behaviours to come to terms with being trans yourself.” The road is not always easy or straightforward, and there are a number of reasons why that may be. The most exhilarating and memorable parts are often when

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CANTA #3 2020