Part 1 was all about “other” people and general concepts. But now it’s time to get personal. I’ll just come out and say it…I’ve recently discovered that I am pansexual and demisexual. If you’re not in the LGBTQIAP+ community, you may have no idea what that means, but let me share my personal journey:
When it comes to gender, I have identified as female my whole life and considered myself strongly feminine overall, but I recognized that I still had some traditionally “masculine” personality traits according to cultural definitions, and I eventually embraced that. Regarding sexuality, I identified as heterosexual and wasn’t open to thinking beyond that. After all, I married a man at age 22, have been happily married, and don’t feel like I need anything more. There was no “need” to think about it further. Heterosexual, box checked. Done.
Yet, looking back on my friendships and relationships, through much of my life I tended to have one really close friend at a time. Part of it was life circumstances, and part of it was just personality and the way I tended to connect with people. Most often it was women, but sometimes it was men. With my friends who were male, there would inevitably be a point where I would experience attraction. With some of my female friends, if I’m honest with myself, the same thing would happen, but I didn’t allow myself to go there, thought I was confused, or just lonely or something and my hormones were playing tricks on me. First because I was too repressed about sexuality in general, and then later because I was married anyway (and personally, monogamy is important to me). And now, the majority of the female friends I’m still in contact with identify as queer in some form. That could be coincidence, but it speaks to the fact that I easily became close with people who didn’t fit into heterosexual or gender norms.
Honestly, I can’t remember what it was that got me thinking about it, but a few months ago something triggered me into thinking that perhaps I’m not actually heterosexual. I debated for a while whether it was actually worth exploring this because, well, how would it make my life different? I’m not planning on exploring this in terms of relationships or lifestyle changes. I would still hold the same privilege as a heterosexual woman, especially if I kept it to myself.
But a friend encouraged me to look into it for myself because regardless of how one acts on it, every part of our identity matters.
Additionally, I believe that when we explore all parts of ourselves and hold all those parts with compassion and love (but without attachment, because we all learn and change as part of the growth process), we are able to show up in the world as our full selves. I’ve chosen to talk about my own story within the context of sexuality because I desire to be an ally to ALL outside heterosexual norms, and how can I justify keeping quiet about my own identity in that case?
So I started to let it simmer in the back of my mind over the past few months. Then a storyline from a character in the Netflix show “Dear White People” got me thinking more in depth. It was his story of discovering who he was (a gay man) that made me realize I could partially relate to his experiences. Oddly enough (especially considering I don’t watch that much TV, lol), another TV show, Queer Eye, affected me in a round about way, in particular the episode with Mama Tammye where Christians embraced these men who are Queer and proud of it. It was oddly healing for ME to watch those stories, especially since part of my decision to stop going to church was because of lack of acceptance for LGBTQIAP+ people and the lack of ability to be in leadership while being open about sexuality that’s not heterosexual.
So, after talking with my best friend and doing some internet research, I learned that there is such a thing as experiencing sexual attraction primarily AFTER developing a strong bond with someone (demisexuality). And something called pansexuality, which is generally considered to mean sexual attraction regardless of gender (it can also include romantic attraction, also called panromantic). It was a huge AHA moment to realize my own sexuality falls within range of these identities on the spectrum of sexuality. I think part of why I specifically identify as pan, and why I desire to ensure I’m inclusive of all identities, is because ultimately we’re all just human. I have strong values of connectedness and love for all people, and a desire to help people become empowered to live life as their authentic selves. My sexuality is basically an extension of these other values.
I now find myself in a place where I am actually part of the LGBTQPIA+ community, but my lived experience affords me a lot of privilege and I have to recognize that.
I’ll still be partnering with folx in the community to ensure I’m fully inclusive and to keep me honest about my privilege. I am still working towards being an ally to all LGBTQIAP+ folx, and what language matters for those who don’t identify as masculine or feminine, regardless of how they show up in the world. I know there will still be a process of dismantling the heterosexual and gender binary norms I grew up with. But I’m really glad I am at a point where I am embracing my own unique sexuality and am learning to be honest and unapologetic about who I am in all ways.
We all have the qualities of God, and God is within all of us. If we reject other people simply based on their identity, or part of it, we are rejecting God’s creation. We are rejecting the Divine in someone else, and that means we ultimately are rejecting the Divine within ourselves as well.
When we stand up for others, we are not only standing in solidarity, but are taking a stand for the Divine within others. We’re ALL connected, regardless of belief system, religion, or creed. Our primary focus should ALWAYS be LOVE LOVE and more LOVE.
I’d love to hear your thoughts or your story! Share below, on Facebook, or shoot me an email (unless you’re gonna be mean, then just write in your journal or don’t say anything).
Want to dive into this more? Check out this article by Victoria Crossman: http://victoriacrossman.com/gender-constructs-archetypes-colonization-energy/
Also, a big thank you to Mason Aid for reviewing this article series and providing feedback! Mason provides consulting and education for businesses who wish to be more inclusive to the LGBTQ+ community.