Editor's Note: Raleigh Van Ness is a pseudonym used by Upworthy in order to protect the anonymity of the author.
It's hard to pinpoint the moment I knew I was queer. Growing up, I knew I was different. I liked boys because I was told I should like boys. I chased Chris for a kiss in Kindergarten on a whim and a dare—not out of any true want or desire. In fifth grade, I dated Brandon for his ball cap. It was a status symbol. It got me clout with the hip kids—the cool kids, you know, the girls who wore cropped sweaters and acid-wash jeans. While I had a steady stream of boyfriends in middle school, I did so to appear normal. To be normal. Plus, I couldn't possibly go to the Halloween dance alone, so I didn't.
I held Tyler's shoulders and swayed to Savage Garden.
Terrance sang every word of Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love to You" in my ear.
But the truth is my eyes weren't for them, not at 10, 12 or 17. I was—and always have been—attracted to women.
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