By Anna Coates
Student Administrator, School of Mathematics
In search of my words
I used to hate using labels, which meant I always struggled to find the right words to describe my identity, to myself and anyone around me. Unfortunately, this worsened during my time of depression, where my identity fell apart and I had no idea how to find it again.
As I started to pick up the pieces, I questioned what identity really meant to me. In that searching, I wondered about my sexuality – but I didn’t want to be grouped as LGBT. I went to church and discovered a faith in God – but I didn’t refer to myself as a Christian. The labels felt too restrictive and I definitely didn’t want to face the prospect of being both as I naively assumed they would clash. What I came to realise was that the lack of labels caused me to feel like an outsider; I was curious but didn’t want to be fully immersed.
When I made some new life choices and moved to Bristol by myself, I embraced the new start. I arrived in a quirky, diverse, and community-driven place. I could be myself in a new environment and so I gained a confidence I didn’t have before. That confidence gave me courage to join the LGBT+ staff network to continue the discovery of my sexuality. I found a church that I felt welcomed in as soon as I walked through the door for the first time. I made new friendships, each one completely different, and I have been able to share more about myself to them that I could before.
Through this journey, I have found some words that describe me and have adopted them whole-heartedly. Embracing these has opened new opportunities for me. I know now that they don’t define me, but they help to work out how I truly feel and uncover the next step on the continual path of discovering who I am. As for the intersectionality, I have learnt that God is love, no matter what sexuality I am.
Today I write proudly that I am a Christian and I am Bisexual, and I look forward to learning new words.