One of the most damaging stereotypes about being LGBTQ+ is the belief that all LGBTQ+ people know from a young age that they are LGBTQ+.
While this is often true for many people, it’s not for others. Many people (both LGBTQ+ and cisgender heterosexual) believe this idea wholeheartedly, and it actually invalidates many queer and trans* experiences; it can even lead to people invalidating their own identities because they didn’t discover this identity or part of themselves until later in life.
As a young kid, I didn’t think about sexuality or gender in any way. I was just being me. I was a “tomboy,” but to me that was just who I was. Attraction and gender didn’t even enter my mind; I was too busy playing Runescape and worrying about whether Harry would defeat Voldemort (spoiler: he does). When sexual attraction did enter my life, I was attracted to men. This is still true, but it turns out that I am also attracted to women. But, did I know this in middle school or high school? Not at all. I was so oblivious to my sexuality; I assumed all girls had a crush on Katara from Avatar: the Last Airbender, dreamed about dating Emma Watson, and felt tingly when hugging girls and boys. Looking back, I was so, so, so bi. But I didn’t know.