Finding my identity at university
Hi, I’m Hollie and in this blog I’ll be talking about how university experiences and support from new friends helped me to find my identity within the LGBT+ community.
I will be honest, I never really understood what it meant to be part of the LGBT+ community. I grew up believing I was straight and not even caring too deeply about that label at all. I knew part of me always had a somewhat admiration for women, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Honestly? It didn’t really make sense, so I continued to ignore it and the feelings buried inside of me.
When I started to realise
Before going to university, I had questioned things. Was I straight? Was I attracted to women or men? Was I attracted to anyone? It hurt my brain. I had only ever been out with males and honestly, anything else just felt out of bounds. I kept thinking I’d know by now surely. Don’t people say you always know?! Apparently not me.
When coming to Leeds Beckett I was faced with a whole new set of experiences and met so many different people that I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet before. It was the first time I realised I liked females. The only thing was, I liked them just as much as I liked males. I could not get my head around it and once again didn’t really see it as a big deal. I buried it down low and chose not to even question it further.
University was a great experience for me as it was the first time I had made friends with people who were attracted to both or the same sex.
Knowing that other people felt the same way as me just made me feel a lot more comfortable.
I didn’t need to overthink or feel overwhelmed by it. It was just the way it was and that was okay. These friendships and community at university really helped me feel more at ease with my emotions.
The more I spoke to people about it, the more comfortable I felt in myself and the more I was questioning my sexuality. I knew by now I wasn’t fully straight, but I didn’t know what to call myself. It was then that a fellow friend I had met at university who was proudly part of LBGT+ community in Leeds, mentioned that I can be sexually attracted to both genders while only romantically attracted to or see myself spending the rest of my life with one. And then it hit me, that was it! That was exactly it! That was me! While I did look at some females as more than a friend, I never saw myself romantically, settling down with one. Whereas males I did. But the key to hearing this was – it still made me bisexual. It was what I call my lightbulb moment and something I wish I had heard years before (hence why I am telling you). It would have saved me a lot of confusion and questioning and that sensation of not having an identity.
While I never had a ‘big coming out’ story, being able to internally accept myself and know who I was with the help from my time at university and people I have met, has made my experience telling everyone else a whole lot easier.
So, for those of you who may be feeling confused about your identity and about to start university, I hope the experience helps you too because honestly coming to university really helped me as it gave me the opportunity to meet a new group of people who could relate to my emotions and have supported me. You never know the people you will meet or the places you will go and that’s the exciting thing about uni. Just remember, your feelings are ALWAYS valid.
Hi I’m Hollie, a fitness instructor, blogger and Sport Therapy student. I have a passion for all things fitness, wellbeing and mental health. I am a massive advocate of self love and spreading kindness in everything you do! I believe together we can make ourselves and the world a better place.