Do you want the short version or the long version?
I didn’t even know who I was for such long time. As a teen, I found myself drawn to queer people…I was an ally and I thought that supporting the community was important, and then suddenly I wasn’t just an ally. I was queer, too. It turns out those feelings I had for a friend once were in fact, far more than friendship. Many people knew about my crush on her before I did. My mom pretty much told me I was queer, as weird as that sounds. I had a “close friend” who quickly turned into a crush and suddenly I had my first girlfriend. My mom would constantly ask about her…then one day said, “Is there something you need to tell us?” As I shook my head “no” she said jokingly, “Yeah, there’s something you need to tell us . . . about you and your “friend” Amanda . . .”
I blushed and teared up as I nervously nodded. Suddenly I was “out”.
My mom was glad to know the truth and proud of my bravery. My dad and older brother stopped talking to me for a time.
I was boy crazy in school, though, so I couldn’t be gay, right? I thought I liked boys the way a typical teenage girl obsesses over them—like you’re supposed to. I constantly talked about them, scribbled their names all over everything, wished and prayed that they would ask me out. It was always boys that I had NO chance with—the popular boys—while I was a shy weirdo. I would even “secretly” write their names on the bottoms of my Converse. Why? I don’t know! I just obsessed over the idea of boys. Maybe I just thought I was supposed to.
So who am I? Where do I belong?
I discovered the words “pansexual” and “demisexual” when I started to attend Spectrum meetings at Ball State University. With those two words, I can just say “I like humans” without considering their gender or biological sex. At Spectrum, queers and allies gather to build community by doing things like sharing stories, learning about sexual health, or sometimes just to watching The Little Mermaid in their pajamas. The first meeting I ever attended, we did a team building exercise where we walked around with a piece of paper and each person wrote down a compliment about us. Complimenting people we barely even know? I knew then I was home.
Spectrum holds bi-annual charity drag shows, and I’ve only missed one in seven years. I first learned about so many important things: polyamory, the HIV prevention medication PreP, queer safe sex practices, kink, transgender identities—all at Spectrum. For more than four years, Spectrum was my home.
I am out of college now, but I continue to seek out places that help me feel comfortable being just who I am. I am queer … but also, I am an aunt, a sister, an avid reader, a proud cat lady, a college graduate. I am queer and I am SO much more.
– Christie McCauley’s Story as told by Jessika Griffin
Christie McCauley is a graduate of Ball State University. She is passionate about cats, reading, social justice, and animal rights.
Dr. Jessika O. Griffin [she/her/hers] is an English instructor and dog enthusiast who loves naps, cheese, and horror movies. You’ll often find her at the roller rink, playing with her two children, or sitting somewhere with her nose in a book.
This story originally appeared in Facing LGBTQ+ Pride in Muncie, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Muncie OUTreach in Muncie, Indiana.