An Open Letter From Deep Within the Closet

It hurts having to hide such a huge part of my identity from people I love

Kayle Kessinger
Human Parts


Photo: Harry Quan on Unsplash

Dear Reader,

If you have somehow stumbled upon this letter, I’ll assume it is because you are sitting within your own metaphysical closet, hiding behind flannel button-downs and cuffed blue jeans. Before I can get into the heart and soul of this letter, let me begin by introducing myself: I’m 19 years old, bisexual, and deeply closeted.

I am in the exact same position you are; maybe we are even in the same closet. Still, I can’t pretend to know your reasons. Instead, I’ll tell you mine.

Growing up in a profoundly religious family in the heart of the Missouri Ozarks did not provide a stable foundation for my inevitable sexual identity crisis. Homophobic rhetoric was pounded into my brain from the age of five, so all of the so-called “signs” were mistaken for something less… sinful.

My obsession with pretty girls on television morphed into a desire to look like them, rather than be with them. Crushes on girls in elementary school became jealousy that they had boyfriends (who were, as it turns out, not me). In junior high, I would listen to my male friends gush over girls and agree with how pretty they were. But I was certain this was just because I…