In 2012, I came out as lesbian to some friends and to my immediate family. At that time, I’d been closeted for nearly six years after realizing in middle school that I liked women. Between 2015 and 2017, I gradually embraced gender fluidity and my identity as a trans person. I shared bits of pieces of my journey with social media as I progressed toward an understanding of what it meant for me to be non-binary.
However, gaining a better sense of my gender identity led me back to questioning my sexual orientation. I wasn’t a woman, so therefore I couldn’t be lesbian. And because I was non-binary and attracted women, I wasn’t exactly gay because to be gay would mean to be attracted exclusively to people of the same gender (e.g. other non-binary people).
Terms hold different meanings for different people and no one should feel limited by standard definitions of queer identities. For me, “lesbian” and “gay” just didn’t fit like I wanted them to.
This spring and summer, I toggled back and forth with the idea of being pansexual. It covered my attraction to both women and non-binary people, but I also understood the concept as an attraction to all genders, not just specific ones. That was Identity Crisis Part 2.5 (introduced previously here).
Enter Identity Crisis Part 2.5.5 in which I realize that dudes are also attractive.
I’d realized my attraction to trans men years before, but hadn’t acknowledged that (a.) trans men are men, which means I’m attracted to men, and (b.) that I could like guys and still be queer enough. Even though I didn’t view my polysexual friends as any more or less queer than those who were gay or lesbian, I was afraid that other people would react negatively to the identity I was trying to embrace.
At the age of 22, after thinking I had the whole thing figured out, I came to terms with my sexuality all over again. I kept it to myself for the most part, but publicly announced that I was pan on my Instagram story during National Coming Out Day this month. My attraction to women is far greater than my attraction to other genders, but it’s all there. I just love people. With so many incredible people to love, I can’t complain.