• Hope McGuire

For the Love of Pans! - Coming Out As Pansexual

Art by @strkmrker_og_appelsinhud

Trigger warning: self-harm/suicide

As I sit here on my computer, typing this out… my heart is racing and my palms are sweating. The truth is finally about to come out. As scary and risky as this is… it’s time. I have been keeping this part of my life a secret for much longer than I ever wanted to. I may lose people in my life along the way because of this, but I can no longer deny who I am. All my life I thought I was different. I knew I was different. I am different. Well, here it is… I am pansexual.

Being pansexual means that I am attracted to all genders - men, women, those who identify as non-binary, those who are genderqueer, etc. I have tried to deny this part of myself for so long. By denying my true self, I was causing myself so much emotional pain and trauma. So many nights consisted of me crying myself to sleep because I worried that no one would understand me or even accept me. I was truly terrified that nobody would love me anymore if they knew I was pansexual and this lead to me attempting suicide, along with other personal reasons. Then, came September 01, 2020.

On September 1st of last year, I was riding home in my Aunt Marcy’s Jeep after a tennis match against our rival school. We were laughing, carrying on, and then… somehow, we landed on the topic of the LGBTQ+ community. I told her that some of my close friends were identifying as bisexual, lesbian, and gay. In a loving tone, she asked me, “Are you bisexual?” The question caught me by surprise and my face started to feel hot. I was not sure how to respond. On one hand, I was desperately seeking to tell someone other than my friends about me, but on the other hand, I was in fear of being judged. I had had past history with being judged by my mother, and I had been scared to truly open up ever since. I finally chose the more daring option and I told her, “I am pansexual. I am attracted to everybody.”

As soon as those two sentences left my mouth, I burst into tears. For the longest time I had felt as if there was a huge water balloon of secrets hidden in my brain, and after that… it had felt as if that water balloon had a hole poked into it. I was beginning to free myself. Aunt Marcy was caring and began to tell me that she loved me just as much as she did before, and that love is love. That she is happy as long as I am happy. It was so reassuring to know that I had her behind me as I ventured into this mess of discovering who I am. However, I still had anxiety about opening up to anyone else, but at least she was a start.

Since that day, I have not opened up to anyone until now. I was not ready. I guess you could say I am still not completely ready. I kept searching for a perfect time and opportunity to share my truth, but I eventually came to the realization that there is never going to be a perfect time. This was always going to be inherently difficult and uncomfortable at times. One of my biggest fears in life is losing those I love, and I did not want this to happen because they might not accept me for who I am.

I am typing this instead of telling my story aloud because I find it hard to put my feelings all out there in person. I take solace in the fact that I can hide behind this screen. I want you all to know that I am still the same person as I was before, but now I am much, much freer. I hope all of you can accept and love me as much as you did before.

Words by Hope McGuire Art by Helene Lindberg Olsen