Writing my own story

A bisexual student shares how creative writing helped her embrace her sexuality.

NICOLE HWANG | The Temple News

I didn’t know I was bisexual until I was 16 because I had nothing to compare myself to before then, but I always knew my feelings didn’t seem to be the same as my friends’. 

Growing up, no one had ever told me there was another box to check — or rather, several other boxes. That’s just not something parents tell you, at least not to my generation or the previous ones, especially in Brazil, where I grew up. The birds and the bees conversations always followed the lines of “when you like a boy…” The conversation restricted every other possibility, so I never thought that what I feel toward the same gender was normal.

When I was a teenager, I left the school I studied at for six years and went to a different school where I was outside of my comfort zone. There, I met several people who identified as part of the LGBTQ community, and I didn’t feel like a freak anymore. 

Understanding my own sexuality was the first step in wanting to make others safe and reassured with their sexuality, too. The only safe place I found to express these feelings more deeply was in my writing. 

I started writing when I was 8 years old, got distracted along the way, but found my way back to the craft last year.

In 2019, I decided to stick with a project and finish it, unlike the others I had started and abandoned. I began writing the novel that I’m currently working on, which is based on events from throughout my life.

I had some idea of what I wanted to convey: A young adult story of love between two girls, but also a story about growth and finding oneself. 

When I found out I had been accepted to Temple for a year as an exchange student, and eventually got here, I decided to make the story more interesting. Instead of solely focusing on the main character’s sexuality, I decided to put her in a scenario where she is exploring another culture, too.

Being at Temple and meeting people from all over the world inspired me to write about diversity and learn to respect other people’s differences.

In the end, I wanted to show queer people as human beings with lives that don’t only focus on the fact that they are queer. I needed to write a story that displayed this normalcy because I hadn’t seen it elsewhere.

I’m writing my book because we need more bisexual representation in literature. Bisexuals are not confused, they are not in a phase and they are real, just like everyone else.

I’m sure if I had more access to this kind of representation I would have accepted myself earlier than I did. 

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