To preface this post, I just want to let everyone know that I’m a queer (more specifically, pansexual) woman. If you didn’t know, now you do and your life can go on. Thank you!
Most of my life is spent trying to figure out where I fit in. I know, I know. “Girl, you were born to stand out, why bother fitting in?” Blah blah blah. I get that, I do. But that’s not the fitting in I’m looking for. It’s more about community, finding people I identify with and, more-or-less, belong with. Maybe it’s less of fitting in and more about finding the validation and understanding in what makes me up.
In one of my previous blog posts, I talked about the trouble I have with being biracial and what sort of struggles come with that. In honor of Pride month, I felt that it was important to examine another side of me which is as equally important as my other identity–my sexuality.
I’m not entirely sure how I want to tackle this blog because honestly, this is a big thing to self-reflect on, you know? There are a lot of aspects to look at or directions this can go. I think the best way to go about it is a general stream of consciousness mixed with a slight structure created through some survey questions because if I don’t have that, I’ll probably go off on a rant about the discrimination in the LGBT+ community and very few people want that. I just want to write this all down so I can make some sense of my feelings.
Without further ado, let’s get this started.
- What do you identify as?
I identify as a queer woman. If we need to get specific since queer is a huge umbrella, I am pansexual. This is one of the first major issues with my identity. I’m not ashamed to be pansexual at all. It’s who I am. It’s how my brain runs. It’s how my love operates. It’s just, and I know it’s stupid, but over the last few years, I feel like everyone’s pansexual. Of course, this isn’t about being “original” or some special sexually oriented unicorn. If this is how you identify, it’s how you identify. But for a while, it felt like it was a fad or a purgatory for people until they figure out what their sexuality really is. Obviously, it’s not fair to say that as a fact because well, it’s not.
However, because of this rise, I feel that people have started invalidating and delegitimizing it as a sexuality. It reminds me of when I was an undergrad and I would be in a class outside of my major like psychology or some health education class. People would ask what my major was. The minute I said communications, you could feel the Oh. Communications vibe. You know that vibe I’m talking about. The one where you can tell the other person is thinking you’re lesser than them for whatever rationale they have conjured in their minds. That’s how I feel when I openly say I’m pansexual, especially to other LGBT+ people. I would probably say this is the same feeling a lot of bisexual people feel when other people delegitimize their sexuality. I mean, most sexualities probably end up having this sort of issue but I can’t speak for them since I don’t identify with them. But yeah, that’s my qualms with identifying as pansexual.
TL;DR- I’m pansexual and queer as shit.
- How did you discover your sexuality?
Miss Honey from Matilda. Seriously. Okay, maybe that wasn’t really the ‘aha’ moment of discovering my sexuality, but it really helped. So did Torry Castellano from The Donnas (I even had a printed picture of her in my wallet) and Sara Gilbert as Darlene Conner in Roseanne. It was just this mixture of things. I’ve always been attracted to people that make me happy. People I vibe with. I never really thought of it in terms of gender when it came to this whole thing. To be honest, I don’t ever remember being straight or thinking that I had to be straight in whatever context that is. I just knew I liked who I liked and that was really it.
For a while, I didn’t really know what to do with this information and I, again, was on that trail of trying to figure out where I belonged. I knew for a fact that I wasn’t straight. And I knew that I wasn’t gay. When bisexual came into the picture I was like alright, this could work. But as I got older, I realized that was still too confining. I connect and am attracted to people as a whole. It felt wrong to assume a label that didn’t fit that. It wasn’t who I was.
This is where the internet comes in and actually does some good. I was like maybe 15 or something and super into Tumblr. I ended up on some blog that was all about pansexuality. That’s when it all clicked in. Now, to digress a bit, I’m not saying that you need a label to be content with who you are as a person. You can be labelless and be rad as hell. For me, I just like having that sense of community and sometimes you need to have some sort of identity to find that community. In the end, you still need to be you and if you have to create your own labels or un-label yourself to be comfortable, you gotta do what you gotta do. Either way, from that moment, I had some sort of identifier for what I was feeling which made understanding myself a little easier.
- Describe what it was like coming out
I mean, I don’t think I ever formerly came out. I kind of just existed and lived how I would normally. If people asked I responded. I’ve posted photos of me in attire that talks about being queer/pansexual and what not. I just don’t think I’ve ever outright said anything without being prompted. It’s not like I was ever scared or worried. I come from a very open and gay family. My cousin’s a lesbian and a lot of family on her father’s side are lesbians. I never really had a reason to hide who I was or I didn’t really see it as a big deal if that makes sense. You hear a lot of horror stories about families going wild and disowning their kids and other shit that’s ridiculous like that. I never even thought about that when it came to my family. I just always knew that I was accepted regardless so I was just myself and crushed on everyone.
- If you’re out, How did your parents/guardians/friends react when you told them?
No one really batted an eye. Maybe they always knew. Maybe they didn’t care. Either way, nothing ever changed. We still did whatever it was that we were doing beforehand. I think the only shitty experience I had was with one of my old roommates and honestly, that could just me magnify something that isn’t really legit. I should preface this with the understanding that my old roommate was really religious. I’m not blaming her religion because I know that not all religions are like that, however, her’s was. She outright told me that, so.
Anyway, one of the girls who shared a suite with me in college was a lesbian. She had been my friend since high school and lived with me two years before this one so like, I was well aware of it and so was her roommate. But our new suite mate and my direct roommate didn’t. At first, she loved the suite mate. She was totally friendly with her. We all hung out and whatnot. It seemed like this was going to go well. When I moved in after the summer, we were talking and I had told the girl that out other suite mate was a lesbian. Now, I should make it clear that the suite mate is open about her sexuality so I just assumed that everyone knew. Well, my roommate didn’t and I accidentally outed my suite mate to her. From that moment, her attitude changed toward our suite mate. She never wanted to be alone in the same room. If we all went shopping together, she stayed far away from her. It was just a lot of shit that I didn’t think would happen. Because of that, I always felt that she had some low key hate for me since I wasn’t straight either.
- What is one question you hate people asking about your sexuality?
I don’t really get annoyed with questions about my sexuality because I’d rather be asked things then have misinformed assumptions, you know? But what I do hate is when I’m expected to answer on behalf of every queer/pan person. This should go without saying but I’m not a spokesperson for an entire group. I get that I might be the only person you know who is openly queer/pan but that doesn’t make my word law. I can only tell you how I feel which is going to vary from individual to individual. Instead, you can get to know other people in the community and figure out their lives for yourself.
*As I thought more about this question, I did remember a few question that I often get with my sexuality and it’s “So, you’re sexually attracted to pans? *insert childish laughter*” I think that’s also a part of the reason I don’t like identifying as Pansexual. It’s something small but honestly so fucking annoying. I get that you’re probably trying to make a joke because you have no idea what to do with the information I’ve just given you but c’mon.
- What are some stigmas you’d like to misconceptions about your sexuality?
Where do I begin? There’s that age-old idea that if you like more than one gender, whether it be homo or hetero, you’re greedy
There’s that age-old idea that if you like more than one gender, whether it be homo or hetero, you’re greedy af. I get that the concept might not be clear but just because someone is into multiple genders doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily into having multiple partners (but it’s totally cool if you are. There’s nothing wrong with being polyamorous if it works for you and is how your relationships are set up.)
Then there’s that whole “well what percent gay/straight are you?” Answer; none. It’s not a numbers game and that’s a really shitty way to look at it honestly. As bizarre as it may be and as hard as it is to wrap your mind around, I just like people. I don’t think of them in terms of their gender. It’s more about am I attracted to them physically (regardless of how they identify) and emotionally. If we vibe and mesh well, that’s really what matters to me. Sure, some people might have a system where they are able to numerically allocate their attraction and what not but to assume that every person is like that is a bit much.
Finally, and I think this goes for most of the non-mono sexualities, there’s this idea that once you enter a relationship your sexuality changes. For example, if I entered a relationship with another woman, some people might think that I’m really a lesbian and I was confused this whole time. If this sounds wild or something that isn’t legit have a look at this Anna Paquin and Larry King interview, yikes. Just because you enter a relationship with a certain person doesn’t mean you’ve changed your sexuality. You can still be attracted to all of the other sexualities. Your sexuality doesn’t stop when you enter a relationship. It’s complex. It’s ongoing. I’ll still be a queer/pan woman if I’m in a relationship with a man, woman, or anyone else on the gender spectrum. Who I’m dating doesn’t change who I’m attracted to.
- What’s your favorite thing about the LGBT+ community?
Much like most communities, when the LGBT+ community is good, it’s good, especially
around Pride or in worse cases, during a tragedy. The biggest issue I have with the LGBT+ is that I don’t feel that it’s as inclusive as people would like to think. There’s a ton of ranting I can do about the discrimination in this community but I’ll save that for another post. It’s not the entire community, of course, but I have met a lot of people within the community that continue the divide. But the truth of the matter is there are times where those differences are set aside and the people get together and just excel at being kind and accepting. We look out for our own and I think that’s really important in a community like this.
- Have you ever been to a gay bar?
Yes, and they’re just like regular bars except I feel much safer.
- Have you ever faced discrimination?
A majority of the discrimination that I’ve faced has actually been within the LGBT+ community as opposed to the hetero community. I’ve had girls stop talking to me when they find out that I’m not a lesbian and I’ve heard a lot of lesbians say that they would never date a bi or pan girl/they only date lesbians and so on. That’s really the biggest hurdle I’ve faced. Like, I guess I get it. There’s a lot of gray area in there but at the same time, it doesn’t make it right. If you’re worried that your girl is going to leave you for a guy or whatever then maybe you should stop dating shitty people instead assuming that everyone in the community is untrustworthy.
I have to say, I’m terribly lucky. I was born to a family that is ridiculously accepting. I’ve always had good supports. The people I surround myself with were very like minded and kind. I’ve always lived in places where I felt comfortable being out or showing that I’m out. I’ve never had any real trouble with my sexuality or being out. And I know for some people, that’s a luxury. I think that with reflecting on where I belong, I really need to acknowledge how lucky I am to be there. So, for that, I’m grateful.
For anyone reading this who might be in a situation similar to mine, one where they’re not sure where they fit or one where they’re not sure where to even begin, it does get easier. I know that’s such a cliche thing to say. In fact, I’ve said that it a million times that it’s so ridiculously cliche and lame. However, it’s true. The more you are open to ideas and the more you allow yourself to feel, the better you are at understanding yourself. I’ve seen so many people change because they’ve figured out this major part of their lives. I’ve seen people go from completely miserable/angry/depressed, you name it, to this jovial being all by discovering themselves. I know that it’s going to be a long and hard road, whether it be because of yourself or outside factors, but it’ll seriously be worth it in the end. Cross my heart.
And when it comes to discovery, remember that sexuality can be and will be fluid. You are not locked into anything. Sexuality is not like buying a car or getting student loans. There are no conditions. You are allowed to feel what you want and love who you want. I know many people who have dated the opposite sex then ended up in a long-term relationship with someone of the opposite sex and vice versa. There’s nothing wrong with that. I think the main thing to remember is that you need and deserve to be happy and comfortable in whatever you choose. Don’t settle for something just because it’s “right” or “normal”. And always be safe! Safety is majorly important.
Here are some links that might be helpful!