Today’s post is a little different, and a little scary considering I’m about to explain my sexual orientation online, for the world and it’s seven billion people to see (doubt this will reach all seven billion but you get my point).
Before I go in to the specifics about my sexuality, I’d like to discuss the thought process behind this post. A couple of days ago, I was thinking about my sister and her age and how much of a confusing time it is for someone that age, 17. My mind went back to 17 year old me and how confused I was about everything, particularly with my sexuality and who I was attracted to.
I’ve always been attracted to both men and women and I’ve always known that I’ve been attracted to humans in general. However, after something happened in my pre-teen age, I shut off the idea that I could be attracted to women on a deeper level than just thinking they were pretty. I would say things like “I think girls are pretty but I’d never go there” whenever being gay would come up at school or even university. For a lot of my life up until recently, I’d convince myself that the feelings I got towards girls was me just wanting to be their friend or looking up to them. It genuinely didn’t cross my mind that I might be gay, despite knowing I was sexually attracted to women. I never even discussed it with any of my closest friends. How weird is that?
I’ve come to a conclusion as to why I shut this part of myself off, but it’s a little complicated so please bear with me ha! I think that I never considered myself as gay or bisexual because whilst I knew that I was attracted to guys through experiencing relationships with several guys, I thought that just because I would fancy a girl, it was a different feeling I would get than with a guy so I could therefore never create a meaningful relationship with a girl.
In other words, I shut off my attraction towards girls on the basis that I didn’t think I was gay enough to be gay. Like, I knew what it meant to be ‘gay’ or ‘bisexual’ and I didn’t identify with any of these labels I’d heard of so I assumed I mustn’t be gay enough to merit being with a girl. I didn’t realise that sexuality was a spectrum, until I came to a university which is so accepting and open to everyone, and finally educated myself on the variety of sexual orientations and how one orientation is worth no less than another. And that labels are just that, labels. It doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s how you feel deep down.
And this comes back to me thinking about my sister at age 17, arguably the most confusing time for a girl. I would never want her, or any other teenage girls, to miss out on certain experiences just because she feels like she’s not ‘gay enough’ to be gay. I’d also never want her to think that having certain feelings is a bad thing, and that she needs to shut these feelings down because she feels like she shouldn’t be experiencing these things.
I know a lot of these thoughts I’d had were in my head, and I think that’s down to the way society sees sexuality, particularly, for me, those sexualities that encompass being attracted to more than one sex. On one hand, bisexuality can be seen as greedy and entirely sex-driven. On the other hand, there’s this stigma of newly-out bisexuals going through the ‘experimentation phase’. I’d like to point out that every single person I’ve told about me being sexually attracted to women, and about my girlfriend, has mentioned the experimentation phase. However, after 10+ years of thinking that I could be going through this phase, I feel like it was finally time to admit to myself that I’m no longer in an ‘experimentation phase’ and that I am, plain and simply, attracted to women and want to pursue relationships with them.
I cannot begin to explain how infuriating it is to talk about my relationships with girls to someone who is looking at me thinking that I’m just a confused 22 year old who doesn’t know what I truly want, without even wanting to listen to an explanation. They already have a preconceived idea of what I like and they like to think that they know who I’m attracted to better than I do myself. Instead of being accepting and understanding of the fact that I might have been dealing with these feelings for a long time, and have actually had a hard time coming to accept them, they decide to devalue the fact that I am confiding something that is actually very difficult to admit.
It is also infuriating to see those around me not want to discuss it with me further. I’m not sure if it’s because they think it’s something that will pass or if it’s something that makes them uncomfortable. Either way, it’s been hard not being able to be as open about my feelings towards girls because the person I’m trying to tell has already jumped to conclusions without offering me a chance to explain the whole situation to those around me. However, a lot of my family and friends have also not even blinked an eyelid when I’ve told them that I am now with a girl. And that’s great. I’d like to think that they have seen that I’m happy, and that’s all that matters.
And this brings me to meeting my girlfriend, Liv (who’s great btw). I didn’t want to make this all about her because I know it would embarrass her. However, I couldn’t have accepted my sexuality if it wasn’t for her. She made me feel like it was okay to not know if the feelings I was having were normal or not, and she didn’t seem to care that I was going through a sexuality crisis. Coming to grips with the fact that I was actually going to push the barrier of just fancying a girl into pursuing a girl as an adult was so, so difficult but the amount I wanted to pursue a relationship this time was something that I just couldn’t ignore anymore. We’ve now been together for almost three months and I’m happier than ever.
There was one night before anything was serious with Liv where I had an internal meltdown and tried to decide if this was something I actually wanted to do. The problem was not that I had doubts of whether I was emotionally and sexually attracted to her (I in fact had zero doubts about this), my meltdown was over the fact that I would be ‘gay’ if I took it any further. In reality, and of course in hindsight, this thought process appears ridiculous because my ‘gayness’ didn’t actually change that night, I’d always had these feelings, and it would not be the first time I had been with a girl. However, I had shut it off for so long that it was hard to accept the fact that I could no longer ignore the way I felt about girls.
Of course, I’ve never had anything against queer people or those who do not follow the ‘normal’ route of boy-meets-girl. I have friends who are gay and a close family member who is gay; others being gay was never the issue. The issue stemmed from the labelling of sexualities and I never felt worthy enough for one of these labels. I know that won’t make sense to a lot of people, but that’s how I saw it.
This brings me on to my sexuality and my sexual ‘identity’ so to speak. I’d always had no wish to label it, especially considering the way I’d dealt with it growing up, but I feel like I’m now at a place where I feel comfortable to label it and I don’t feel like it’s a bad thing to give yourself a rough label on something like sexuality.
So, the label that I identify the most with is pansexuality , but since a lot of people don’t know what that is, I normally just say I’m bisexual . It all gets pretty mixed up with all these different definitions but at the end of the day, I have a girlfriend and that’s the person I like and want to be with right now so it shouldn’t really matter how I identify.
I suppose my final point is to make it clear to anyone who’s gone through a similar experience to me is that what you feel does define you but doesn’t make you a definition. In other words, what you feel is truly who you are, but these feelings don’t have to fit a definition written out by someone else. You can feel however you want to feel and you can decide how you want to act upon these feelings. And there is no reason why you should demerit your feelings just because it doesn’t fit into someone else’s idea of you or because they can’t understand it.
So… yeah, I’m kinda gay.
À bientôt !