The story of San Juan as told by its students

William Van Orsdel

April 29, 2015

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William Van Orsdel

Our world is not black and white and for William Van Orsdel (12), his sexuality isn’t either. Will’s sexual preference lies in the gray area as he is bisexual, or has a sexual and romantic interest in both men and women of varying or equal degrees.

When Will was a pre-teen, he began to notice that he was attracted to both boys and girls. According to our heteronormative culture, it is accepted for boys to be attracted to girls; however, Will noticed that he didn’t really have a problem with the way boys looked or the idea of dating boys either. When he thought about it, he found it was something that he would actually like.

Discovering his sexual orientation was a gradual process as Will did not come to terms with his identity until the end of his freshman year. He thought about his sexuality often and sought to discover what sexuality he would be able to identify with the most comfortably.

It only took basic sex education from Google for Will to discover that other sexualities exist for people who are not comfortable with strictly labeling themselves as straight or gay. In his research, he explored the bisexual orientation and accepted that he was bisexual.

People automatically assume that bisexual people are more promiscuous and less faithful, which is frankly rather rude.”

— William Van Orsdel (12)

Coming out to his family was positive experience for Will. He came out to his mother as bisexual over a private dinner. While she was confused, she was exceptionally supportive and accepted her son regardless of his sexual orientation.

Will came out to his brother and his brother responded with an open mind, revising his vocabulary and becoming more understanding of the LGBTQ+ community.

Lastly, Will came out to his father, the person who he was most apprehensive to confront. One day, as Will returned home from asking out his first boyfriend, his father greeted him, supportively questioning, “did he say yes?” William shares that since that moment, his father has been the most accommodating person in his family in regards to his sexual preferences.

Between 25-50% of homeless youth are a part of the LGBT+ community and are on the streets because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Will’s coming out story is an example of a family who has accepted their child with open arms and provides hope for the future generation in learning to support their child, regardless of their sexuality.

After coming out, Will began to reflect upon our heteronormative society and discovered that the bisexual community is not responded to with as much hostility as the gay community as our culture assumes they just act like straight people.

On the contrary, Will also realized that a bias exists against the bisexual community as it is a common misconception that they need to “pick a side”––or associate themselves with either being gay or straight.

This is an ignorant conviction that our heteronormative culture has construed. Our society has a tendency to label sexuality in extremes; however, in order for people to understand bisexuality, it is necessary that they take a step back and accept that the world is not black and white and sexuality isn’t either.

“People automatically assume that bisexual people are more promiscuous and less faithful, which is frankly rather rude” said Will.

According to Will, the SJHHS Queer Alliance has provided students with “a place they can feel safe and be part of a community that cares about them, even when their households may not. It is also a great resource for students who just want to know more about sexuality and gender (especially given the rather abysmal state of American sex-ed).”


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