I’ll start right off by saying this may be one of my most mega-personal posts.
Ok, so since I started this blog back in the summer, I’ve written some things. I like to write, and that’s why I created this blog. And I feel like some of the things I’ve written have culminated in this post. Here’s what’s come before that’s lead to this:
I’ve written about my love for LGBT YA novels, and in that post and this one about bisexual visibility, I talk about my process of self-discovery–how I came out a bi at 17 and later came out again as gay, because that felt like the better label for me. In the bisexual visibility post, and in my recent double review of two of Bill Konigsberg’s wonderful books, I talk about labels and how we all have the right to choose our own no matter what anyone else tries to force on us.
And those things are things I’m going to touch on in this post too: my continual journey of self-discovery, and labels.
As I said above, I first came out ten years ago at 17. For the first five years post-closet, I called myself “bi”, for reasons I’ve already discussed in the posts linked above–basically, I was with a girl at the time, and bi felt like the right choice then. For the last five-ish years, however, I’ve called myself “gay”. That is the label I’ve chosen to use, because that’s felt like the best, most-accurate option.
However, something I don’t talk about very often (which I’m clearly changing right now) is that even “gay” has never felt 100% right to me. And there’s several reasons for this. As I said, “gay” has felt like the most-accurate option, but I feel like “gay” is limiting. Like, by calling myself gay, I close myself off to only being interested in other gay, cisgender males. But I’ve always said that I will never 100% tell you that I’ll never fall for a woman. After all, my first real relationship was with a girl; she’s the first person I came out to and we were together for another year after that.
However, I honestly don’t see that happening. But never say never. Furthermore, I feel like “gay” also implies that I’m not open to being with someone who is trans, genderqueer, non-binary, etc. I have always believed sexuality exists on a spectrum.
But even more important than that, I believe that when we fall for someone, it is the person that matters, not what parts they have/what gender they are. I don’t want to feel like my chosen label closes me off from anyone, because I believe in love, and I believe that love can transcend anything. You may think I’m naive, and that’s entirely possible.
So, you may be reading this and saying, “Ok, so is he actually bi? Is he pansexual?”. And believe me, I’ve wondered the same thing. However, to take things a step further, I feel like terms like “gay”, “bisexual”, “pansexual”, etc., all imply a sexual interest.
To be completely honest, I’ve never actually had sex with a guy. I’ve fooled around, but never more than that. And while I do think about sex, sometimes the idea of actually having it freaks me out. Which has caused me to wonder, does this mean I could possibly be asexual or demisexual? I don’t think I’m ace, because I do think about sex, and it’s definitely something I want to try at least once. But it has to be with the right person, I won’t just jump into bed with anyone because that’s not who I am.
So you can see, none of these labels make any sense to me. None of them feel completely right. And sometimes I’ve wondered, do I actually need a label? But then, without one, how do I identify myself?
I’ve said this before, and now that Donald Trump is President-Elect of the U.S., I’m sure I’ll say this again and again and again in the future: the reality is, being out in this world is sometimes still a dangerous and defying act. And in this defiance, I want a label. I am damn proud of who I am. And I want a term I can freely and easily use to describe who I am, and one that others can use to describe me. Because I have nothing to hide and I am perfectly all right with others knowing who and what I am.
And here is where my struggle to find the right label culminates in this post. “Gay” is pretty accurate, but still doesn’t feel 100% right. “Bi”, “pan”, “ace”, “demi”, etc. all don’t feel right either.
So I’ve chosen simply to use “queer”. Queer has, in my opinion, moved past the derogatory meaning of old. Our community has embraced the term again, and I frequently use LGBT+ and queer interchangeably. Like many, I see queer as the perfect catchall term to describe those that fall into the LGBTQIA+ umbrella.
And going forward, “queer” will be my label of choice, because I think it’s finally the one that makes the most sense. It still lets me identify myself as being different, something I am damn proud to be. It still lets me be open and defiant and loud and proud. But also, it lets me feel like I’m not closing myself off into a label that has never fully felt right.
Queer just feels right. It’s the one I’m choosing, and I hope everyone in my life will respect this choice and use it from now on. If you still call me “gay”, I will probably correct you. Please don’t be offended if I do, and I won’t be offended by you saying “gay”. It’s still a mostly-accurate description, but going forward, queer is better because it’s what works best for me.
Thank you. ❤