To the World,
I never had to come out. I was lucky that my parents always reminded my sisters and I how it is okay to love who you love, regardless of gender. I know everyone is not as lucky.
Labels are everything, especially for most of those in the LGBTQIA community, and people in younger generations, I have noticed. I could never pinpoint my own label.
For me, I knew I wasn’t straight when I was a freshman in high school while I was in my first relationship, with a cis boy.
At that time I still couldn’t figure out my place in the LGBTQ+ community. For years, I questioned myself. Was it the stereotypical “phase,” or maybe I wasn’t “gay enough” to be accepted. I was often questioned by those closest to me.
Once, when I was explaining how I would often pay attention to the girl characters in movies, rather than the male heartthrob that script writers so obviously push onto the female audience, when my boyfriend at the time said I was simply trying to be quirky.
He invalidated my own personal perception and attractions. It hurt. I was struck with all those doubts again.
When I came to Oswego, I met so many interesting people. People who were sure of their genders, or non conformity of gender, sexualities and themselves in general.
I have been able to learn a lot about how to express myself. The topic of labels comes up a lot when I meet people at school. What their pronouns are, how they identify themselves, and their sexuality.
Just like in my own home, I don’t feel pressured to come out in any certain way. I let it slip out into conversations naturally. Usually, when a new person I meet assumes I like only men, I correct them and say I like everyone, as long as they treat me well.
This could be labeled as Bisexual or Pansexual, maybe even Demisexual. Just like sexuality and gender can be fluid, my personal label is as well.
College has allowed me to learn for myself that I don’t need a label, yes it may be nice at times, but is not finite. Just like everyone else, I am learning and changing.
I have loved learning about how people express themselves. There are so many conversations in which I have been corrected and taught something new. And I think that is crucial, no matter the topic.
There is no one way to express your gender. You can be Non Binary. You can be Asexual or Aromantic. You can present yourself as one way, but identify as another. There are so many possibilities that it can be overwhelming at times, but that's what makes gender and love so fun.
That's what has to be celebrated. The way we learn from each other and express ourselves through how we love and live, because it really is one of the best things in the world. Everyone is valued and has a place in the celebration.