- I came out as bisexual on Instagram at 17 and filmed my first queer relationship for TikTok.
- I eventually realized that my sexuality should not be used for social content and influence.
- Now I’m taking a sabbatical from social media to focus on myself.
The COVID-19 pandemic came at a strange time for me. I was a junior in high school and just started dating close friends. I felt more and more comfortable with myself each time I said the words: “I am bisexual.”
Since I was confined to my room, the only way to continue my “journey” was online. I announced my sexuality on Instagram and consumed endless queer media on TikTok.
I slowly began to realize that I was using my sexuality and sexual exploration as fuel to create content for social media. Now that I’ve deactivated all my accounts for a year, I can finally focus on myself.
I started exploring my sexuality by watching queer couples on TikTok
TikTok’s algorithm is full of videos tailored to the LGBTQ+ community, aptly named “Tik Tok Gay.” There’s tons of relatable content on queer art, fashion, music, movies and TV shows, plus stories about people’s personal experiences with love and dating.
As a teenager stuck in quarantine, I felt like there were no barriers to finding people who would relate to my experiences.
I quickly became engrossed in the lives of lesbian couples on TikTok sharing intimate details of their relationships for hundreds of thousands of people to see. The queer creators shared photos and videos of themselves in a never-ending battle for likes and comments, enticing fans with how “perfect” their relationship was.
For a young, queer person like me, who has nothing to do but scroll, these creators made me feel like the only way to be queer was to do it out loud and publicly on social media.
I decided to go out on Instagram.
After months of obsessing over Gay TikTok, I was sure I was bisexual. I mean, I fit every stereotype online – I’ve heard The Neighborhood Weather Sweater and put my jeans on.
I already told my close friends on Snapchat in a private story, but I was ready to shout about my newfound sexuality from the rooftops. The time finally came to come out of the closet in which he had spent 17 years trapped.
So I got out. By posting on Instagram.
I wrote, “Hi, I’m bisexual” along with a picture of me in front of a bisexual flag. It got more than 600 likes and more than 300 comments. I was on top of the world and I finally felt free.
When I got into my first queer relationship, I saw it as another opportunity to create content for social media.
I entered into a long-distance relationship during the pandemic: we met and bonded through social media. What else was there to do?
Like every queer couple I’ve seen on TikTok, I was compelled to post about my new relationship. I wanted to show my new “love” to the world. I spent our limited time together focused on filming the latest TikTok trend.
My obsession with the online world pushed me into a fantasy; I built a relationship in my mind that matched the videos I had been consuming on a daily basis. I figured if my relationship looked good online, it would hold up well offline. I was very, very wrong.
I wanted so badly to be one of those creators with a perfect relationship. But then I realized that it wasn’t, and my relationship was far from perfect.
I even posted TikTok videos after we broke up, making fun of my miserable situation. Almost every chance I got, I posted about my life online instead of dealing with it myself.
Over 2 years later, I’m still grappling with the decision to use my sexuality for content.
For starters, I now see that coming out on social media may not have been the best idea. Many people in my life found out by reading a post. Instead of sitting my cousins down and telling them the news, they found out on their Instagram feeds. Instead of hugging me, they joined hundreds of other people in congratulating me in my comments section.
I had the impression that I was freeing myself by going public. Actually, I was just putting myself in a box. I jumped into labeling and identifying as bisexual, pushing that narrative out into the world, when I rarely had time to figure it out for myself. But if I’ve learned anything since then, it’s that sexuality is fluid, and I reject the idea that I have to use a word to define it.
Likewise, the videos I posted online are reminders of a person I am no longer. If I hadn’t deleted them, that period of juvenile disorder would be associated with my online profile forever.
I’m not saying I wish I hadn’t dated. But I became a show, and my sexuality is not happy.
I have decided to take a sabbatical from social media.
I am now embarking on a year long social media cleanse. I deactivated my TikTok and Snapchat accounts, deleted my intro post, and deleted the Instagram app from my phone.
Without any access to social media, it’s nice to know that my sexuality is no longer an act.
Plus, I’m happy with what I have: an in-person network of people who love and support me. This year is about focusing on myself while living as my most authentic self, wherever that may be on the broad spectrum of sexuality.