I have never in my life felt safer or more accepted then at The Attic. I’ve never felt more involved, more useful to the cause of making LGBTQ youth voices heard, and more helpful in my community.
Growing up I went through a lot- everything from homelessness, isolation, bullying, assault and abuse. So the question of my sexuality was never something that I ever had time to really focus on, and it’s not like anyone ever talked to me about it. I always internalized my attraction to more than one gender. My mother is from Africa and my father is of European descent, so I spent a lot of time being bullied about the way I looked. There were a lot of times that I felt really alone.
It was in 7th grade that I heard the term “bisexual” for the first time. I instantly connected, and couldn’t believe there was a word to describe how I felt. My father’s brother is gay and I was so excited about having a word to describe me that I came out before I had ever really thought of the possible negative reactions and repercussions. My father told me in was a phase, and so did my uncle. I couldn’t confide in my mother, because she moved out of the state. Most of the people at school called me horrible names and questioned me constantly. My teachers had no idea how to handle bullying so they did nothing at all. In 8th grade, I tried to commit suicide from the constant rejection and lack of visibility. I only hoped that high school would be easier.
High School got a bit easier, but it was still difficult for my classmates to understand my identity as bisexual. Also, my father still wasn’t able to understand my sexuality. Fortunately, during my sophomore year, I met an incredible girl who I started dating, and we wanted to become more involved in our community. One night I was searching online and somehow I came across The Attic Youth Center, and I realized how close it was. I visited for the first time about a week later.
Now as a junior in high school, The Attic has opened up so many opportunities for me from summer internships to artistic performances at venues like Philly Pride and The Convention Center. It’s become a second home from the scrutiny of the rest of the world and a safe haven for me and the other people that attend. The people at The Attic have become my family and I couldn’t be more thankful for them.
The Attic saved my life, and allowed me to realize exactly who I am- a proud interracial bisexual woman.