selective-focus of photography of Queer & Proud signage

You’re Allowed To Be Queer

You’re allowed to be queer.

You don’t have to be straight. You can like people of the opposite gender only, but you can only like people of the same gender, too. You can know this, and maybe you have known since childhood, despite how being heterosexual has always been seen as the “norm.” You can just realize this, too. Maybe you’re gay. Maybe you’re a lesbian. Maybe neither label fits you. Whatever it is, however you reached this conclusion, it’s okay. Your identity is okay. Even if you grew up in an environment that didn’t teach you it was “okay” to like people of the same gender, you don’t have to carry that thought with you into adulthood. You can embrace your sexuality, openly expressing who you are to people in a way that makes you feel safe, heard, and loved. You can date people of the same gender, fall in love, break up, and do all the wonderful things that come with being attracted to other people. Homophobia is all-too present in our world, but gay pride exists, too. You’re allowed to be attracted to someone of the same gender. You’re allowed to be queer.

You don’t have to be gay or straight. You can like people of multiple genders. You can be attracted to men and women. You can be attracted to more femme-presenting people, nonbinary folks, or not define which genders you’re attracted to because gender doesn’t influence who you’re attracted to. Your sexuality can be fluid, even if society leads you to believe otherwise. Maybe you’re bisexual like me, but find yourself more attracted to one gender. Maybe you’re pansexual and tend to find yourself attracted to certain types of people. Maybe none of those labels fit your sexuality. But whatever label you choose, however you decide to identify or not decide to identify, that’s okay. Being polysexual doesn’t mean you’re incapable of “settling down” in a monogamous relationship, more likely to cheat, promiscuous, or any of the other biphobic nonsense you hear from naysayers. You’re allowed to be attracted to more than one gender. You’re allowed to be queer.

You don’t have to be allosexual at all. You can not experience sexual attraction. You can not experience romantic attraction. You can experience sexual but not romantic attraction or vice versa. You can experience romantic attraction, but not on a scale where you find yourself as allosexual. Maybe you’re asexual. Maybe your asexuality looks different than what you’ve heard other asexuals say or from what you’ve been told is asexuality and what isn’t. How you feel, how you identify, that’s all okay. Acephobia spreads toxic lies about asexuals being “unnatural” or unable to love, but that is not true. Romantic and sexual love are only two aspects of love. Love comes in many forms, just as people come in their unique forms. You’re allowed to not experience sexual or romantic attraction. You’re allowed to be queer.

You don’t have to be cisgender. You can have a different gender than the sex you were assigned at birth. You can have a different identity than the one forced upon you. You can identify within the gender binary of male and female or you can not. Maybe you’re transgender. Maybe you’re nonbinary and transgender, or maybe you’re nonbinary and not transgender. Maybe you’re genderfluid. Maybe you’re questioning your gender. Whatever your identity is, even if you’re still figuring it out, is perfectly okay. Transphobia tells you lies about who you really are, how you’re supposed to present yourself to society, and what rights you’re entitled to, but none of that is true. You have autonomy over yourself, and no one—absolutely no one—can take that away from you and tell you who you are. You’re allowed to be transgender. You’re are allowed to be queer.

You can be any of the other identities I mentioned above or none of them at all. That’s all okay. The beautiful thing about being queer is that it is such a spectrum that no two queer people are the same. You can’t put us in a box because we don’t fit in any. Queer people represent the beautiful diversity that is society. No matter how much we try to hide queerness in society, no matter how much we force homogeny on people, queer people will always exist. We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re proud of who we are. As the saying goes, “Respect my existence or expect my resistance.”

You’re allowed to be queer. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Writer, editor, and bi-con

Keep up with Fairley on Instagram, Twitter and Website