Content Note: descriptions of homophobia and bullying
With Pride Month coming to a close, I find it appropriate to reflect on my own sexuality and how important it is to me. The most frequent question I get around Pride month is “Why are you proud of being pansexual? Straight people aren’t proud of being straight.” So hopefully this will clear up that question once and for all.
I first came out as pansexual at some point during my senior year of high school. At the time, only a few of my close friends knew about my sexuality. For years prior, I had always assumed that I was straight and that my attraction to girls and nonbinary people was normal for straight people to have from time to time without making them “not-straight.” But once I started dating, I tended to only ask out men. And while I did enjoy dating men, I couldn’t help but secretly have crushes on girls and nonbinary people. I wanted to date them like I dated guys. So, it wasn’t long before I realized that I wasn’t really as straight as I thought.
Still, I grew up in a pretty conservative town for the area I’m in, so I wasn’t overly eager to tell everyone the truth about my attractions. My parents were extremely accepting of who I am, so I was definitely lucky in that regard, and some of my friends were already out. Still, I couldn’t help but feel something akin to shame about my sexuality at the time. As someone who had been bullied her whole life, I was very conscious about everything that made me different from my peers. And many of my peers were straight and slightly homophobic. They would always joke about the Gay-Straight Alliance or preface compliments with “no homo.” Some would even make openly queer students the targets of direct bullying. I worried that if I came out of the closet that the bullying I already experienced for being biracial and “weird” would only worsen or get violent. So, I kept quiet about it until I graduated.
Everything changed once I got to college. I go to a very prestigious historically women’s college. Approximately 40% of the total population identifies as some type of LGBTQIA+. There are several organizations on campus to support people like me, populated by people who are proud of their gender identities and sexualities. I felt accepted for once in my life. I began to realize that my feelings towards my sexuality were based on the feelings of others. I was not ashamed because being pansexual is wrong, I was ashamed because I believed others would view me as wrong. But they were the wrong ones for judging people based off of who they are. Just like there was nothing wrong with me for being biracial, there was nothing wrong with me for being pansexual. I was done with being afraid.
So why am I proud to be pansexual? Because I spent far too long being ashamed over who I truly am. By embracing my sexuality, I truly began to accept myself.
Question of the Day: How did you celebrate Pride month this year? Let me know in the comments!