In one of my previous posts I shared my coming out story and in that post I mentioned my feelings surrounding my position in the lgbt community. I speak on having the feeling that I should be doing more for the community. So in honor of pride 2021 I have decided to become more involved in the queer community. However, it wasn’t until I actually went to take action that I had no idea what becoming more active/involved included. As I sat thinking, it was important for me to understand that this is going to look different for me than it may for others and that that’s ok.
So if you ever find yourself standing where I am at this very moment this is my advice to you:
Start by figuring out who you are and where you stand within the community. If you haven’t already, begin exploring your sexuality and honing in on your emotions, thoughts, and expression around gender. Be both gentle and patient with yourself as there are so many different labels out there and it may become confusing and intimidating. There are basic definitions for each label but remember that everything is a spectrum. Just because you and someone else share the same label of sexual orientation doesn’t mean that you prefer the same pronouns and/or gender identity and vice versa. Know that you may mislabel yourself and that’s okay. I think it’s safe to say that we all have gotten it wrong at some point in our lives. Who you are becomes more clear to you as you peel back layers of who you are not and who you had to pretend to be. All you have to do is be honest with yourself and everything will fall into place.
Remember though that there is no pressure to figure it out. You do not have to label yourself if you do not want to.
It wasn’t until I began this journey of becoming more involved that I decided to even look into the various labels of sexual orientation and gender identity. However, I will say that although I didn’t feel the need to label myself for years, mainly because the labels were too box-y for me, there are many more labels now that are more liquid than solid; if that makes sense. Honestly, it feels wonderful to be able to put a name on how I feel in regard to my sexual orientation and gender identity. Finding a label that fully encompasses my feelings around my sexual orientation and gender identity has made it more clear to me that there are many other people out there who are like me and that I am not alone. It gives me a sense of certainty and belonging…it makes it clear to me where I stand within the queer community and it feels good!
At this point you’re probably wondering how I identify and after sitting with myself and doing some research I feel that I best identify as a gender fluid pan sexual. As I am aware that some of you may not have a clear understanding of what that even means, here is my definition of the two: Gender Fluid – fluctuating gender expression, one day you may present feminine and the next masculine. Pansexual – attracted to all genders, it is about ones personality regardless of gender. As far as pronouns go, call me what you want just be respectful. I really don’t mind if you use she/her, he/him, or they/them.
With that being said I have figured out who I am within the queer community and am encouraging you to do the same. However I do want you to be mindful that it may take a while and possibly some trial and error, just be patient.
How do you feel about labels and have you always felt that way?