I am pansexual but I don’t feel LGBTQ+
My sexual orientation has never been an issue for me. No, let me say it differently. I have never felt the need to “come out”. Whoever I felt sexually or romantically attracted to, had never occurred to me as being different to what others felt. It felt so natural to me, and at the same time something that really only should matter to me and those I love. It was not something that I had to shout from the rooftops. And it took me quite a long time to figure out where I would place myself sexual orientation wise anyway. But one thing that I have struggled with a lot is that people expect me to be proudly LGBTQ+. I am pansexual but I don’t feel LGBTQ+.
Figuring it out
Let me elaborate. This is about my own experiences. It is about how I feel about my sexual orientation, my gender and how important it is for me to define myself using those categories. And I don’t define myself through my sexual orientation. It is one small part of me. It is not all that I am. And it definitely is not the most important part of me.
It took me ages to figure out where I would place on the sexual orientation spectrum. I assumed I was heterosexual. Then I thought I was lesbian. Then bisexual. And the last ten years or so, I have described myself as pansexual. I feel confident enough to say that that is the accurate term to describe my sexual orientation. Because I have been in love and have been attracted to people who identified as female, male and genderfluid. And I have been in relationships with men and women. I don’t get attracted to genitals in the first place, I get attracted to the person.
I never felt the need to come out as whatever I assumed I was at the time though. And hence, I don’t relate to the struggles that many in the LGBTQ+ community had to go through. I think it is terrible that those in the community still get shamed, hated on and need to fight for their rights. See, I am privileged in that I never had to fight. I think most of my privilege comes from that I am a cis-female. While I am not the most feminine woman, I am quite sure about my gender identity.
But it isn’t only that. I basically don’t give a fuck about what my family says. My parents never really met any of my partners and knew nothing of my love or sex life. There are a lot of disadvantages from a broken family, but I guess my sexual orientation being private to me because my parents didn’t even care enough to inquire about my partners, is probably a privilege.
Coming out is the one thing that connects most of those in the LGBTQ+ community to each other. Either the struggle of having come out and having met prejudices, or maybe still being afraid to come out. It is not something that I can relate to. I would feel like a fraud being in the same category as those who have struggled so much with having to hide their sexual orientation. Especially if they felt like their sexual orientation defines a lot of who they are.
When I started to explore my romantic and sexual attractions, my group of friends was non-judgmental. There were trans* people, there were gay men, lesbians, heterosexuals, crossdressers. I didn’t stick out for being in love with a girl, dating someone who is bisexual, or having a crush on someone who is genderfluid. The alternative music scene is beautiful like that. People are often non-judgmental and just respect others the way they are. For many many years, my best friends were LGBTQ+, and even now, the closest friend I have in real life is queer and gay.
So I never had a huge need or pressure to come out. No one ever questioned and judged my sexuality. That actually allowed me to explore and understand what my sexual orientation is. On my own terms. And that is why I feel okay with being pansexual today. I have no issue with it. I embrace it. But it doesn’t define me.
A struggle that isn’t mine – I am privileged
One of the things that connects many in the LGBTQ+ community is the fight and the struggle. The fight against the heteronormative patriarchy. Against lawmakers who deny them marriage, legal status and protection from hate crimes. And I stand by those that fight those fights. I respect them. I am an ally. But I don’ t feel that those struggles are my own struggles. I personally have never been discriminated for my sexuality.
Technically, I would fit under the LGBTQ+ umbrella due to my sexual orientation. But I don’ feel that that is where I belong. I am cis. and I don’t define myself through my sexual orientation. I never had to come out, nor do I know feel the urge to let anyone know. If they ask, I wouldn’t hide it. And well, if my next poly partner is not a cis heterosexual man, then I wouldn’t be able to hide it.
But hide it from whom? I live in a privileged world where none of my friends would discriminate me for my sexual orientation. Additionally, I don’t give a fuck about what my family thinks. I don’t have a job. And because of that, I have never experienced the struggles that connects almost everyone in the LGBTQ+ community. I would feel like a fraud to define myself as something that goes so deep for many, that has caused them so much distress, and that they want to proudly shout from the roof tops.
I don’t feel proud about my sexual orientation. It is not something that I have accomplished, or that defines me. And I wouldn’t want to diminish anyone’s struggles by defining myself as something that is often linked to struggles that are not mine. I would feel bad if I my presence in the community had the same standing as the standing of those whose lives are threatened, or who lost everything due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. For once in my life I am privileged, and I want to leave the spotlight to those who deserve and need it instead. I am pansexual but I don’t feel like part of the LGBTQ+ community. And that is okay.