Despite wearing a skirt and blouse to school every day, I seemed to have forgotten that my school was traditional with Catholic standards. I was reminded of this when I asked to wear a suit to prom and was told no. I received the usual gender stereotypical responses, but I figured that I could push this until I won. A week later, I ended up crying after being tag-teamed by the principle and administrator. Of course I tried again, asking to start an LGBTQ+ club in my school. Once more I was shut down. The point is, I’ve been attending Catholic institutions since I was seven years old and I know the rules can restrict LGBTQ+ youth. While some people don’t want to give up their sexuality for their religion or vice versa, there are others who have no choice but to balance both. Here are some tips on being completely you from a “Bi Spy.”
DO: Breathe. Whether you’re confident about your sexuality or still questioning, there are times where everything may seem like it is falling apart. Being a member of a religion that could make you feel insecure or uncertain doesn’t help. Trust me, I understand that completely. As cheesy as it sounds, things do get better. You need to find activities that can calm you down. That could be venting to your family or friends, eating your body weight in Taco Bell, watching sappy movies on Netflix or taking a much needed nap. It’s okay to not be okay, but finding something to make you feel better is very important.
DO: Go on social media. While some people feel that social media can be negative, there are also some positive aspects of it. There are Tumblr accounts that connected me to LGBTQ+ folks and by talking and simply browsing through tags felt that I was truly in a supportive and safe community. There is also a sizable Catholic (and LGBTQ+) population on blogs. Twitter is another social media app that is supportive of both LGBTQ+ and religious members. It should be noted that there are always going to be hateful comments or members on these platforms, but the overwhelming support and information you get from these apps are worth it.
DON’T: Try to fit in. I’ve been told multiple times by multiple people that high school is the best years of my life. I’ve also been told that it’s the worst. Regardless of which it is, high school is hard. Friends are intense, family may not understand, school is stressful. It’s easy to shove the conflict of sexuality and religion behind you and try to forget. But it isn’t worth it. You’ll end up feeling isolated from your closest friends and a stranger to the ones who you love the most. It’s an awful feeling that no one should have. As scary as it is, just by voicing support for one of your communities is a way to keep true to yourself. You should never come out if you do not want to or feel uncomfortable, but try to keep yourself even in little ways.
DON’T: Accept toxic perceptions. It’s not a surprise that Catholics and the LGBTQ+ are both victims of bashing. Members of both communities have had a rough past that has baited them against each other for decades. However, it is important to not accept the negativity both sides can perpetuate. You are not dirty or inhuman, and you are not a hypocrite. You are simply a human being who loves what you love.
You are not required to choose religion or sexuality. You can choose both.