Today is National Coming Out Day.
In our heteronormative society, the expectation is that we are all straight until we feel comfortable asserting that we are not. The trick with this is that sexuality doesn’t fit into labels. It’s more of a spectrum.
Personally, I used to consider myself bisexual, meaning that I was attracted to both males and females. As I grew and changed, I began to identify more with pansexuality. Pansexuality is very similar to bisexuality but, for me, leaves room for attraction to those who don’t fit into the binary gender system. That took me being exposed to more non-binary people and recognizing my attraction to them.
My journey as a bisexual person was not easy, though, and changing labels was hard. As a college student, I watched a family member come out to my abusive mother as bisexual. They received those age-old responses such as this is just a phase or you’re confused. The same evening, I told my mother that I often felt like a dude instead of a woman. Her response was, essentially, I don’t have time for this. She told me to never bring that up again.
I knew then that she could never know about my sexual orientation. I held onto it and hid it.
Again, in our society, it is assumed that we all fit into the gender assigned to us at birth. Like sexual orientation, this can change throughout our lives.
I have always been a tomboy. When I was 12, my uncle left for military service and I would wear some of this more manly clothes from time to time while he was gone – suits, etc. Aside from my gigantic chest, I made a decent looking dude.
It wasn’t until recently, though, that a conversation with another sex educator helped to highlight what I somehow had always known – I am gender fluid more than I am one specific binary identity.
This means that some days, I feel more male than female or vice-versa. Other days, I am something all completely my own. I now have a packer which is a penis that I can choose to wear on those days I feel more male.
It isn’t always safe to ‘come out’ to others. Whether or not you’re able to do so, please know that you are loved for exactly who you are.