Although I have always had a complicated relationship with my sexuality (and seriously, who doesn’t?), the month of June is a time of pride for me. Literally, because it’s pride month. It’s a time for me and others who identify as part of the LGBT+ community to celebrate who we are amidst a society who wants us to be different. (Side note: the A in LGBTQIA stands for Asexual, not Ally, thank you very much). However, this time of year always makes me feel a little a little awkward about being “gay”. While the term “gay” can apply strictly to men who are sexually or romantically attracted to exclusively other men (read: those who personally identify as men), gay has morphed into this umbrella term for anyone who is part of the LGBT+ community. That nonbinary person over there who only likes girls? They’re not a dude, they don’t like dudes, but they could call themselves gay.
As for me, I identify as bisexual, which technically means that I’m attracted to both men and women (read: those who identify as a man or a woman). However, this definition plays into the “gender binary”, which means that there are only two genders; if gender is a social construct, then who is to say that there are only two? Not me. So I don’t really like this definition of my sexuality, because I’m not only attracted to people who identify as strictly man or woman. A lot of things don’t make sense once you consider the idea that there could be more two genders, and that some people might not even have a gender. Dude A could date Dude B and be gay, so people might think that Dude A only likes to have sex with people who have a penis. But what if Dude B is transgender, and has a vagina? He’s still just as much of a man as Dude A, but the couple is probably having similar sex to that of a heterosexual couple. Or what if, instead, Dude A was dating Person C, a nonbinary comrade who happens to have a vagina. Is Dude A straight (ignoring the idea that sexuality is fluid, which it super duper can be), even though Person C is definitely not a woman? Or what if Dude A is intersex, but identifies as male? Does sexual orientation depend more on sexual organs or on gender identity?
With this in mind, I think that my sexual orientation is more in line with pansexuality, which means attracted to people regardless of gender or sexual organs. I like this better because it doesn’t constrain my sexual desires (lol) the same way bisexuality seems to. However, the term “pansexual” has gained a negative connotation as being the “special snowflake” of sexualities, and so I tend to stick to what people know and accept. (Another side note: my google dictionary doesn’t even think pansexual is a word. So there you go). Clearly, even though I have come out numerous times (which deserves its own post, tbh), I am still uncomfortable with aspects of my own sexuality.
This brings me to talk about the title of this post. A lot of times, especially since “gay” has become an umbrella term, sexualities that aren’t strictly gay or lesbian become swept under the rug. People often forget that it isn’t just the LG community. The B stands for bisexual, the I stands for intersex, and the A stands for asexual (again, not ally). I’m not just gay, and sometimes I think that calling myself so erases a big part of my identity. However, it gets confusing because I am in a very committed relationship with a guy. So often am I seen in real life or on social media as a member of a heterosexual couple that I feel like I have to call myself gay to remind people that I am a member of the LGBT+ community. Pride month makes me almost as nervous as it does happy because so often do I feel like I’m not “gay enough” to be a part of the community. But you know what? If I want to go to a Pride parade, and if I want to bring my male partner to support me there, then that’s okay! We still belong there exactly as much as the next couple in line. It is no person’s right to tell me or anyone else that they don’t belong in a space because they don’t visibly conform to the norms. At all. So, there.
Pride is a time for all the gays out there to feel good about themselves and celebrate who they are, and no amount of societal conformism is going to stop me from doing exactly that.