National Coming Out Day: A SAIT employee’s journey
Pride Week #HereAtSAIT runs Tuesday, Oct. 10 to Friday, Oct. 13. It’s an opportunity to recognize and celebrate our 2SLGBTQ+ students and employees while classes are in session.
SAIT’s Pride Week is planned around National Coming Out Day on Wednesday, Oct. 11. Coming out is when a person acknowledges and shares their authentic selves with others, and National Coming Out Day aims to offer support and raise awareness about this challenging but important step. This year, we’re celebrating by sharing a story from our 2SLGBTQ+ community.
Check out Pride at SAIT to find resources and learn about Pride events on campus.
Amanda Wilkesheski (she/her/hers)
Student Advisor, SAIT Student Services
Coming Out – It Just Takes Some Time
My coming out story is not a singular moment of awareness where I brought everyone together in a serious moment of vulnerable confession. My coming out story is comprised of many moments, big and small, that helped carve out my queer journey. The first step was coming out to myself.
When I was in grade school, I always felt weird and gawky around the cool, pretty girls. I would stumble over my words and get all sweaty. I would be so nervous around them that I struggled to form female friendships. But I always had crushes on guys, so I just chalked it up to just being intimidated.
In college, I held hands with my best female friend while walking through Stampede Park. I had butterflies and felt kind of giddy. But that was just because I’m weird about hand holding and touching hands… right?
Since I had always been surrounded by hateful rhetoric around women who loved other women, I subconsciously buried my feelings so deep. Thankfully, as I became an adult and surrounded myself with different people, I started to see my feelings a little differently. I would listen to “I Think I Like Girls” by Metric — shamefully at first — while working on my college homework. I found out that Harley Quinn, who I thought was so cool, was bisexual and had a relationship with Poison Ivy. I cried when same-sex marriage was legalized in the US. My Snapchat was filled with stories of 2SLGBTQ+ people filling the streets and celebrating. It was incredible and filled me with such hope that how I felt would one day be embraced like that. Fearfully, I started to think I’m bisexual. Though, if asked, I would still say I was straight.
However, with time spent with friends who are queer, going to pride parades and watching 2SLGBTQ+ content on YouTube, I started to become comfortable with my identity.
When asked at the Rocky Horror Picture Show who was bisexual, I raised my hand.
I told my best friend, “I’m bisexual.”
“I know,” she replied. “I’m surprised you didn’t.”
Under the protective cover of night, I whispered to my boyfriend, “I’m bisexual.”
He said, “That doesn’t change anything.”
Surrounded by friends in a busy bar, I confided in my bi friend, “I’m bisexual.” He high fived me and we chatted about coming out.
Now, I try my best to not keep it a secret. I’m in a straight passing relationship, I look pretty white and I’m financially stable — that’s a lot of privilege. Now when I come out, it’s for those who are unable to. Now when I come out, I see it as a privilege I can exercise for those for whom it’s unsafe to be themselves. Even when scared to, I will continue to be myself so I can hold space for those who want to but are not yet ready.
So. I’m Amanda (she/her) and I’m bisexual*. Nice to meet you. 😊
*Or pansexual, or queer (respectfully).
We support you #HereAtSAIT
Coming out is a personal choice and often plays a significant role in removing barriers to publicly live your authentic identity. No matter where you are in your coming out journey, remember that you aren’t alone!
If you’re looking to support someone’s coming out journey, Pride at SAIT has tips for showing support through your actions and words.