Heywire winner, Kirra from Dubbo, NSW, shares her story.
My palms were sweating, I couldn’t stop shaking, my heart was beating out of my chest, and I was wearing a purple cape.
I was about to share with my whole school something I’d kept between just me and my family.
I’d always had crushes on boys and girls, but it wasn’t until I was a young teen, scrolling through the wild west of Tumblr, that I realised not everyone did.
I remember when I found a description of pansexuality: “An attraction towards people regardless of their sex or gender identity”, it felt like the author reached through the screen and shook me awake.
I wanted to share this new part of myself with everyone I knew.
But as adults and teens around me were casually — or sometimes aggressively — homophobic I stayed firmly in the closet.
Eventually, the strain of pretending became too much.
I hadn’t planned to don a purple cape and stand up in front of the entire school, but I suppose I must have wanted something to happen when I first got up in front of my class.
“Tomorrow is Wear it Purple Day,” I announced to my classmates.
“What’s that?” someone in the back row asked.
I swallowed hard.
“A day celebrating LGBTIQA+ awareness — especially for young people,” I replied.
“OK cool, so we wear purple?” was the response.
I was shocked at the compliance, but realised now I had allies.
The day came and my classmates were wearing purples socks and hair clips, and one of them brought me a purple cape to wear.
Whether it was the cape, or the fact that a few of my classmates seemed enthusiastic about the cause, something inspired me to get up in front of the school assembly.
I talked for a while about homophobia and its life and death impact on young people.
And then I bit the bullet.
“I’m pansexual!” I announced, and the words echoed around the school hall.
Every pair of eyes shot to me.
It felt like time stood still.
A weight had lifted and I felt like I was going to float away.
I had done it — I was out!
With or without the cape, I like to think that by being true to myself I’ve been able to help other young people find a way through a tough time.
Also check the related topics:Sexuality & Gender