Identity is complex, fluid and confusing – and everyone has the right to explore it. Trust me. But part of learning and understanding that both gender and sexuality aren’t so black and white means that sometimes these labels – and as a result of your identity – will change – and that’s OK. Let’s use me as an example – I didn’t know I was bi until late into my secondary school experience, and I didn’t know I was transmasculine until December of 2018. I also didn’t realize I was nonbinary until late August 2018. What this means is that I discovered my queer identity in three (3) different parts, and I discovered my gender identity after my sexuality – which is 100% ok and valid. So no matter what stage you may be at, please know that you are valid – and even if you come to realize that you are cisgender and heterosexual, guess what? The fact that you were brave enough to explore your identity was super cool!
Though while the labels I currently use have not changed, the way in which I define them has – and this is especially with my sexuality. When I first started using the term bi to describe my sexuality, I used the traditional definition (‘sexual and/or romantic attraction to both men and women’), and while that was valid for a time, I then discovered my gender identity. And though my label hasn’t changed, the way I define it has – I now define it has, ‘sexual and romantic attraction to multiple genders’ – this includes men, women and nonbinary people. Could I qualify as pansexual? Yes! But I prefer the label ‘bisexual’ because it makes me happy and comfortable! But I’m also aware that I could wake up and realize that I’m actually a completely different label, and that would be perfectly OK!
Questioning your gender identity and/or sexuality is hard – and that’s ok, and I believe that you’ll find the right labels that suit you – and even if you come to the conclusion that you don’t like labels, that’s also fine! But unfortunately, the existence of gatekeepers means that someone may feel unable to explore their identity due to these gatekeepers being quick to judge and erase the idea of exploring your identity.
You are valid and brave for exploring your identity. I’m very proud of you for doing so, and you deserve all the love, validation, acceptance as well as support that is available to you.