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There is more to labelling than what you think: Personal story

Posted by Sara Cooper | Jun 06, 2023 | 0 Comments

It's been almost 3 years since I came out as bisexual (now identify as queer), and I think there have been a lot of things I have learned along the way about myself and how presentation is a default expectation that seems to underly with how sexuality and gender are always needing a direct explanation.

For me, it was in October 2020 when my work and school at the time were completely online. I was living alone in a one-bedroom suite with no one to hangout with unless it was my partner that I saw safely 1-2 times a week for our mental health. We got tested weekly for COVID-19 to ensure we did not put anyone at risk and helped each other with mostly homework or errands such as grocery shopping.

 I had a LOT of time to think during this global emergency; it was so much time that thinking had contributed to my severe anxiety and fearful of even stepping outside for some fresh air as the months passed by. The time to reflect became the time to be honest with myself that I wanted to come out after being closeted for the past 9 years. Lots of acceptance and grief came thundering in during the lockdown period of the pandemic, and I tried to treasure acknowledging who I was as solitude in the best way possible.

It was interesting because I grew up with family and friends who are part of the community, and I also took several gender and sexuality courses in my undergraduate. Though, the assorting of my identity and existence felt displaced by internalized pressure to be “an exact picture.”

It probably came from my comfort in wanting to blend in with the crowd of life and not feel overwhelmed by others during my childhood due to familial trauma back at home. I still have difficulties with that today, and there is a lot of growth that must be intentional for a thriving shift to undo these harmful habits.

I remember crying for a few days before calling my partner about my acceptance and devotion to live my truths, even if they were not all understood or revealed yet. Even a drop of sweat was sliding down my forehead as I was taking a deep breath before letting my partner know an evolving center of me, which I did not announce before. The grand love and kindness I got from him made my world, and it encouraged me to tell my siblings and close friends.

Since then, I put the labelling of bisexual in a new light, because I have had to restructure that approach in a way that helped me see the resistance of conformity for my own personal identity as liberating instead of a crisis. Now, it is not to say that labelling is horrible or giving up and assorting to what our heteronormative society wants is not understandable, but it was a process I never actually allowed myself to see with my queerness as open and freeing in the way I aspired to be in terms with.

I think I have always wanted to make sense with people, to not have erupt afterthought when walking out of a room full with people or to be asked how I came to this point of my worthiness knowing their ingenuine approach.

I will admit that most of these people were cisgender, straight people that have probably never met someone who's part of the community or just never thought of educating themselves as a priority. Either reason, it wasn't my obligation for them to understand. These encounters had to do with dating a cisgender, straight man myself for the past few years and to this day, he is still my best friend and a person I am eternally grateful for. Things such as my sexual history and how I am addressed were viewed by me as “concerns” because the “context” was needed for them to “make things click.”

I am very glad I didn't resort to these pressures, but I mention all of this because labelling can be an important element that helps you be transparent for your existence. However, the necessity to fill up the page to get the word count metaphorically has this dramatic outtake of how you should navigate your own identity despite not having agency in that decision making.

So yeah, I do identify as queer, but I also identify as one who will never be in one line or in one section that can be calculated and extracted for an equation that doesn't even exist. The fluidity of life is one I never have to overcompensate with or need to step back with if it doesn't become adequate enough for a person's reason to celebrate pride with overpriced clothing from Target.

So if you want to take something away from this year's Pride Month that us as the community want everyone to understand: A lot of us are out there, and a lot of us don't need a label to exist respectfully. Conformity can be a safety measure for some, but for others, it can be a way to never be in full acceptance of ourselves. We don't have to wear a rainbow flag pin on our shirts to say so and knowing our existence is special yet not needing to dominate it without us is what we really mean by pride.

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