A while ago I made the decision to come out to my students at the start of the school year. Here’s a little update on this experience!
Why I came out
I find visibility important. Although I don’t personally care much about my sexuality, with some of my students last year I realised they do care and might be looking for a way to connect. So I wanted to be honest and show myself a bit more. There was no reason to hide this about myself!
How I came out
With my first years I had to come out and explicitly say it, although I am note sure if they have remembered it. For my third and fourth year students, I came up with a slightly subtler way.
In introducing myself at the start of the first lesson, I included a list of frequently asked questions I had received from students last year. This included “do you have a boyfriend/husband?”. I explained to my students that not only did I not have a boyfriend/husband, I also didn’t have a girlfriend/wife. Then I emphasised that I was not straight and even showed the Bisexual Pride Flag (which admittedly, was much less subtle, haha!).
I must admit I saw some students shift uncomfortably in their seats. I did not feel a pinch of judgment per se, but I could tell some didn’t really understand why I felt the need to share this information, or perhaps they even though it was complete bullocks (but I’m just filling this in).
However, I also saw a couple of friendly nods. I don’t want to overestimate the effect of my coming out has had, but I really am pleased with the outcome. I feel I have reached my goal: a connection with the kids who might be questioning. I am proud that I have showed that I am here (and I am queer!).
“Miss, last week you said one of the frequently asked questions was if you’ve got a boyfriend/husband, and you answered you didn’t have a girlfriend/wife. So are you into men or women?”
“Both. I said I also didn’t have a girlfriend/wife.”
“Oooh, so you’re bi!”
Perhaps I am imagining it, but I really do get the feeling that some of the students are pulling towards me a bit more. Whether it’s just a chat after class, or to ask me if they can read a queer book (Call Me By Your Name, I’m looking at you). My overall favourite moment was the conversation above that happened out of the blue in class last week, and it was actually what motivated me to write this post.