I publicly (as public as Facebook gets, at least) came out as pansexual. To fully understand, it’s important to know that I’ve struggled with my sexuality for quite some time. Here’s a quick summary of my almost-daily thoughts: Being attracted to a woman makes me gay, right? Arrgh! That’s so restricting! What if I see a cute guy?! Wait, that means I’m straight, right? But what about non-binary people?! What does that mean?
What am I? Who am I?
You may be thinking something along the lines of, “Dude, chill. Just say you’re bi or something.” That crossed my mind (and added to my struggle), but it just didn’t seem to fit.
When I made my true identity public, I was finally able to put all of my thoughts and feelings about love, romance, sex, and my confusing desires into words: I’m pansexual. And in all honesty, I do and don’t understand why this is such a hard concept for so many people to grasp. Yes, I understand that not everyone will be attracted to people of the same gender, but I also don’t understand why it’s hard for someone to understand love that knows no boundaries.
Why is it hard to understand that I will love someone regardless of gender? I’ve only really told this to a few people, but when I look at someone, I don’t see a biological sex or gender. I’m not ignoring their sexual and gender identities, I just don’t base my attraction on either of those. I just see a person, a soul, a spirit.
So, what is pansexuality? Pansexuality is “the capability of attraction to others regardless of their gender identity or biological sex. A pansexual could be open to someone who is male, female, transgender, intersex, or agendered/genderqueer.”
Again, you may be thinking, “Sooo… You’re bi?” No. There’s a distinction between bisexuality and pansexuality: “People who self-identify as pansexual do so with purpose, to express that they are able to be attracted to various gender and sexual identities, whether they fall within the gender binary or not.”
Alright, so I’ve figured out who I am and I’ve just told everyone I know. Now what? As you can imagine, waiting to see how people would respond was probably the most tense and terrifying moment of my life. Yeah, that didn’t last long.
I was met with so much support and positivity. I received so many comments and messages that were filled with love, support, and kindness. I had an unexpected number of people tell me that my message was inspiring, but honestly, I thought all of their kind words were so much more inspiring than I could ever be. Okay, so this sounds like a great coming out experience, right? Well, it gets better!
While I was in the car with my mother the next day, she asked if I felt better now that I’m out, to which I responded, “Yes!” (Actually, I said something like, “I guess,” but I really wanted to shout at her and tell her how happy and appreciative I was.) She then told me that she had always known I wasn’t straight.
If that didn’t surprise me enough, she continued to tell me that my entire family, some friends, and friends of the family had always suspected it, too. Of course this made me extremely happy (I found it quite hilarious, honestly), but now I have to wonder… Did I make it that obvious? I wish someone had told me sooner. I wouldn’t have had to struggle and be so confused for all these years.
All joking aside, I’ve had such a wonderful coming out experience, and I truly wish that everyone could have such an inspiring and easy experience. I know that’s not the case, but I do so long for a world that isn’t filled with prejudice and hate.
I want everyone to feel accepted and loved, and I hope that we can eventually all live in a harmonious world in which heterosexuality isn’t assumed. Every single comment and message I received was so empowering, but one specific comment has stayed in my mind, and I think it will always stay with me:
“I’m sorry we live in a world where our sexuality is assumed and expected, and where something that should be a non-issue requires a ‘coming out.’ I’m sorry that friends and family and loving strangers and acquaintances have to say things like, ‘You’re brave,’ and, ‘I admire your courage,’ just because we love a certain way.
I’m sorry we have to worry about how our friends and loved ones will interpret and accept this very personal, very particular, very important part of our identities. But I’m happy there are people who see and understand. And in a world where acceptance isn’t ever guaranteed, it’s always nice to see someone say, ‘This is all of me.’ Much love for your openness.”
This comment is such a perfect summary of the world we live in and the struggles that those of us in the LGBTQIA+ community face on a daily basis. It also sums up every single thing that I hope to see change in my lifetime.
I hope that by sharing my entire, true self with the world, maybe I can help stop some of the negativity and hate surrounding those of us who don’t fit into our heteronormative surroundings. I also hope that my story can inspire some of you to find and accept your true selves and maybe even to share your true selves with the world. If you do, I hope you’re met with as much kindness and love as I have been.
In the words of Ingrid Nilsen, always remember to “give yourself your best chance.”