A bisexual college student has written a candid letter describing how he has struggled with his own pre-conceived notions of masculinity.
Allen Pham majors in public relations at the University of Southern California and is the lifestyle editor of the Daily Trojan, a student newspaper.
Pham writes in his column that he “hated being bisexual” throughout his adolescence, saying that he wasn’t able to be truly honest with himself about his sexuality.
“I tried playing sports as a way of validating myself as a masculine guy who engaged in physical activities. I even dated a girl I wasn’t interested in to use her as an escape for all the self-denial I dealt with.”
When Pham reached university and decided to come out to his fraternity brothers, he was terrified of the judgement he might face.
“Surprisingly, it was different. For the first time in college, a group celebrated my differences. They supported me. They made me feel safe to be myself. They accepted me. And because of that, I was finally able to accept myself,” says Pham.
He says the experience has helped to understand more clearly the nuances of masculinity.
“To be a man in the 21st century does not mean that you have to be hypersexual. It does not mean you can’t cry. And it does not mean that you have to mask your feelings or your true self."
Pham’s open letter encourages other people in his position saying, "It makes you more masculine than ever to be confident and aware of your emotions.”
“To every guy who felt afraid to come out — it’s OK to be yourself because your happiness does not stem from other people’s perception of you.”