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Senior Atticus Kelem shares coming out story

milp-3Senior Atticus Kelem describes himself as an impulsive person, which is why he came out to his friends almost immediately after realizing he was bisexual. “There was maybe a 30-second gap [between realizing and coming out] because my internet was down,” he said.

About a year ago, Kelem realized he was bisexual. “I’d never really bothered thinking about it much before,” he said. “I was talking to a friend who was talking about her crush, a guy,” he said, “I Facebook-stalked him to see who it was, and I realized I thought he was really hot.”

Though he wasn’t interested in a sexual or romantic relationship with another male at the time, Kelem recognized for the first time that he was attracted to both males and females. “I realized I was something distinctly not straight and I wondered what that made me,” he said, “I started telling people I was bi[sexual] because I was pretty sure that’s what I was. It didn’t really surprise many people, which I took as a compliment.”

Although his news did not shock anyone, telling others publicly about his sexual orientation helped validate his feelings. “The first time I felt like I truly came out was at Camp Everytown,” he said. “Even though it’s a pretty historically amazing place to come out, the fact that I came out to a group really cemented that I was out in my head.”

Kelem also used social media to come out to friends and acquaintances. He participated in National Coming Out Day with a Facebook status. “Happy National Coming Out Day. I came out of the house today, then went back inside because it was hot,” he posted. “Also, I’m bisexual.”

For Kelem, coming out turned out to be a positive and liberating experience. “I had no expectations for how people would react,” he said. “But nobody was really negative. I was kind of surprised by how good it felt for me. It was like letting my soul run around naked.”

Kelem thinks that announcing his sexuality actually strengthened his friendships. “It opened up a lot of friends,” he said. “You just see people in this whole new light when they know new things about you and still love you for it.”

bi symbolAccording to Kelem, he felt accepted and loved by the Gunn community. “At Gunn, everyone will love you,” he said, “I don’t really know anyone who has been homophobically harassed.”

Despite Kelem’s generally positive experience, he’s still conscious that homophobia exists. For him, one of the best things about coming out is being able to combat homophobia through example. “Some people will say really mean things initially,” Kelem said, “But when they find out a person they really like is in a group they say they really really hate, they can become a lot more accepting of that group. People are pretty awesome sometimes.”

-Written by Akansha Gupta

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