Submitted by: Haley Robinson

My journey started off when I was really young, but I didn’t know it at the time. As a kid, I was always considered as the little brother of the family. My adoptive dad left when I was around 4, so it was just my mom, sister, and I. I was always rough-housing with my sister or other kids at school, I loved playing sports, and was really into baseball! I loved playing dress-up with princess dresses, but also loved wearing my dad’s t-shirts and boots.

When I hit middle school I was made fun of a lot for what I wore and how I acted. I would look at the popular girls and try to wear the same clothes they wore, which were super girly. I also remember wanting to be friends with the new girls outside of my main friends that I’ve had for forever. I also remember always feeling “weird” or like I wasn’t allowed to do things with my friends, like sitting on each others’ laps or giving each other hugs; also, looking back at my search history.. LOL please, how did I not know something was up? It was always so awkward for me.

For a while there it was all about fitting in – I didn’t have style of my own and when I tried to, insecurities would get in the way. I would end up dressing the same as everybody else, and trying to get male attention (yuck.. JOKING). It wasn’t about me and what I wanted, it was about what others wanted and how I looked to them. Fast forward to high school, and I’m a little bit of a flirt. I see this guy on the bus and I’m digging them; so for a couple days, every day, I would wave at them before I got off the bus. I have never talked to this person and don’t even know if they went to our school or not. Anywho, I finally got the courage to ask them out. It was super busy on the bus so I just passed my phone down to them and waited patiently for them to hand it back. The bus came to their stop and they got up and handed the phone back to me with a smile. I looked down at the phone and saw the name ‘Kayla’. This was the first time I had a girl interact with me in that way, and I remember my friends asking if I was embarrassed that the person I was flirting with was actually a girl, and I told them “no…I think they’re cute.” I never saw them again and never reached out to them. I think I was just really scared and nervous because I didn’t know how to go about it. But it made me realize, “I like girls too,” and I always have.

I had a couple of flings in High School but never anything super serious. Then finally, I got out of high school. During this time I was going down a dark path of drugs and alcohol. I was, again, just trying to fit in and figure out who and what the fr*ck I was. I dated a couple people who took advantage of me and would often judge how I looked, so during that time it was all about looking pretty and being dolled up at all times. I always felt like I was painting my shell while the real me was on the inside, hiding from the world and drowning my feelings with substances. I wasn’t going to change and I didn’t want to. A while later, a friend of mine went missing and the police didn’t do anything about it. She was found later under a snow bank – this was my first experience with MMIWG2S. Talking about it now still makes me sick, but that was my turning point.

I got clean from hard drugs and toxic relationships. I started dating someone who didn’t care how I dressed or acted and I remember buying a whole new wardrobe of things I was comfortable in, and started getting back in touch with my masculine side again. I think after I got clean and after all the insecurities faded away I realized, this is my life, not anybody else’s, and thought, “why the hell am I dressing/talking/acting the way others want me to be, and not the way that I truly am?

It was during this phase of my life that I started researching my background more, and asked my adoptive parents as much as I could. I remember going onto TikTok and seeing a video with the phrase Two-Spirit and what it meant. I sat there listening to them explaining it, and I literally kept yelling, “OH MY GOSH THAT IS ME!” It just clicked; I suddenly understood the feelings I had outside of knowing about my Bisexuality. I always knew there was something else that I just couldn’t place a name for, and this was it. Two-Spirit. Unfortunately, my bio dad hasn’t reached out to me and I’m currently in the process of enrolling with my tribe. I want nothing more than to continue to be part of this community/family; everyone I have met has been more than welcoming and kind. My feelings for my community are so strong that my heart could just burst! I really wanted to get my story out there and connect with others who may have felt the way I have, and remind them that we are not alone. We are so loved, and so special.