Hello there! My name is Rachel and I identify as…well, I’m not really sure yet. I know that I was assigned female when I was born and I feel like a woman (“Man, I Feel Like a Woman” plays in the distance) so I use she/her pronouns, but when it comes to sexuality, things are a little less clear for me. When I was growing up I “understood” that girls liked boys and boys liked girls and for a while I convinced myself I was only attracted to boys. I thought girls were pretty and I knew that I liked more traditionally “feminine” boys, but I wasn’t gay, it wasn’t like I was attracted to any of the girls I thought were pretty. And so, for most of my teenage years I told myself “everyone thinks she’s pretty, girls complement each other all the time, it’s not like it means I’m gay or anything”. I was an ally of the LGBTQ+ community and supported people who identified as such, but I convinced myself that it just didn’t apply to me.
Sexuality was something that was never really talked about at my school. Not by teachers, not by the pupils, not in Health Education classes, so I never thought that I could be anything other than heterosexual. So I went through school quite happily, not really paying much attention to any potential attraction toward girls and I started university. It was in my second year that I found myself head over heels for someone: a GIRL (dramatic music). I went into crisis mode, continuing to try and convince myself I wasn’t attracted to her. I was terrified. How would my family react if I told them? Would this make life difficult for me? Will people treat me differently? Thankfully once I started accepting myself and doing some research I was able to talk to my family and friends about how I feel.
Labels are a funny thing when you can’t find one that fits you. The lack of one, defining word was definitely the hardest thing to deal with, because it meant I physically couldn’t name what I was feeling and it frustrated me and some people I talked to. I’ve toyed around with a few, and they change depending on how I feel. Sometimes Bisexual fits, but sometimes I feel more Pansexual. Sometimes I feel most comfortable with Queer, and sometimes I just don’t feel like I need or want a label at all. The only label I identify with 100% is Rachel. If you feel like no one label defines you, that’s ok! If you want to find one that does, that’s ok! If you don’t, that’s ok! The most beautiful thing about the LGBTQ+ community is the acceptance. So whatever you’re going through, there’s a community willing to listen.
Some important things to remember:
People who are questioning their sexuality/gender are not:
- Denying being gay/straight
- Pretending to be LGBTQ+ for attention
People who are questioning their sexuality/gender:
- Are valid in their identity (or lack of label)
- Deserve love and support
- Should be accepted!