Sexual Identity and Coming of Age in Today’s World

by Miss Othmar

Special Series: Young Voices

At 13 years old, Miss Othmar is deep into Minecraft, cosplay, and anime. If you knew them you might mistake them for Crona from Soul Eater or Misa from Death Note, depending on the day. In quiet moments, you will find them absorbed in Demon Slayer and Ouran Highschool Hostclub.

Growing up I had not researched or really learned about the LGBTQIA+ community, so I didn’t ever really have a chance to question who I am. When I was introduced to this immense community, I started to question and learn things about myself.

I remember when the realization hit me that I was not straight. All that was going through my head was “Are my parents going to be disappointed?” “Am I an embarrassment to them?” “What are they going to think?” I have gone through so many different sexual identities to figure out what I am. I’ve identified as pansexual, bisexual, and lesbian. Figuring out if I was bisexual or lesbian has been an interesting road of discovery.

Figuring out my sexual identity has not been easy but it has definitely not been as hard as discovering my gender identity. For my whole life I had never heard of being nonbinary or being genderfluid or anything of the sorts. When I learned that being a boy and being a girl were not the only gender options, I immediately knew that I did not only use she/her pronouns. I used she/they pronouns for a good 3 months but the idea that I was faking everything started to get to my head. A little less than a year later I started going by they/them pronouns and I was finally happy with who I was. My friends were all so kind about it and helped me tell my teachers and other friends.

Changing my name was a big step for my gender identity. I couldn’t pick a name so I asked my friends. One of them suggested the names Mars, Rhea, and Archer but none of them really stuck to me. Another friend of mine suggested a perfect name, the one I eventually chose. [Editor’s note: minors are given pseudonyms on the 26Health blog, and neither their birth names or chosen names are displayed.]

For the first maybe 3 or 4 months of my 7th grade school year, I was still going by my deadname with my teachers. Everyday I had to hear that name come out of their mouths, it just hurt more and more. I had not felt any attachment to that name since I changed it so when I had to hear it everyday I felt like my heart was being pierced in 20 different ways. I was worried that telling my teachers would result in my parents finding out.

There was so much stress from that thought, but I knew if I did not tell them the rest of my school year would just be miserable. I wrote out an email to send to them all, sharing my pronouns and chosen name. I begged for them to not tell my parents. Turns out I had some of the best teachers ever. They were so kind and accepting of it. Especially my science teacher. He was just above and beyond with my name and pronouns. He was the teacher I could always go to if I needed something. Having an adult that’s so supportive of you is just one of the best feelings ever. It made coming out to friends and teachers that much easier.

Currently, I use they/she pronouns and I still go by my chosen name. I identify as bisexual as well. I’m still going through figuring out who I am and it hasn’t ever been easy and it won’t ever be easy but I need to remember that questioning your sexual identity and gender identity is never “faking it”. I have heard so many stories that are similar and different to my own. More than half of them included a sentence saying something along the lines of “I think I am faking everything.” You are never faking it neither was I.

I truly hope that reading helps you realize that questioning who you are is never faking who you are. It is always valid and a normal thing to do. You are not alone in your journey, I promise.

26Health offers support services to tweens and teens grappling with their gender and sexual identities.