On two years of living a queered life.

Two years ago this week I came out to my husband and, subsequently, blew up my life. There are days when it feels like this JUST happened, and there are other days when it feels like I have been out my whole life.  There's something about being oriented to self that's affirming, and addicting, and beautiful.  Things are starting to settle now, and so I thought it a good time to give an update on me, and my continued processing of what it means (to me) that I am living a queered life.


What a fucking learning curve!

Two years ago when I came out, it was as a lesbian.  Because I was dating women at the time, this seemed to make sense.  I was welcomed and enveloped into the local lesbian community and for quite some time, that label felt comfy.

And then, almost a year later, I started dating someone non-binary and my mind was a little blown as to what that means about my identity. If I date someone who is not a woman, can I still be a lesbian?  (Spoiler alert: the answer to this is yes, if I want to, because sexual expression does not always align with sexual orientation.)  But it's a bit moot because I don't actually think lesbian is the right label for me.. read on.

And so, that leaves the obvious question-- if I am not a lesbian, I am not bisexual, and I am not straight... what am I?  The only answer I have to that question is that I am Gwenn. If a label is needed to orient me in your mind, I guess I would choose "queer."  But I also have the opinion that everyone's gender identity/sexual orientation/attraction profile is unique (and also can be fluid) and so is there anyone who is NOT a little bit queer?  Aside: Some straight people (read: cis men) right now are reading this and adamantly denying that they could be a little queer.  Just kidding.  No cis men care about what I write-- ha ha ha.

Here's the takeaway...

Labels work for some people.  Some people take great comfort in an identity within a certain subgroup within the LGBTQ+ community.  But there are others that don't.  I think I am one of the ones that doesn't. Because what does a label really even mean? Labels mean different things to different people-- even people within specific subgroups. I remember when I had a client in therapy once who had self identified as a straight woman.  We talked a lot about her boyfriend in several of our sessions.  It was a few weeks later that she disclosed he is a trans man. And, due to my personal ideas of what straight means, it threw me for a quick second.  Now, hear me on this--this makes sense because trans men are men. Her identifying as straight makes sense.  And at the same time, it didn't fit my definition of straight.  In my mind, if you're dating someone who is queer, you're probably queer too.  But that's not how this woman saw herself.  And so it's a good reminder that if you're gonna use a label, it's always good practice to ask someone what that means to them.

So I guess my next question is this-- why does having a label for someone matter?  What would it mean if I was dating a cis woman?  Or a non-binary person?  Or a trans man?  Or a cis man, for that matter? Would any of those things invalidate my queerness?  I would argue the answer is no.  But I get that it's nuanced and doesn't always make sense. 

But here's what I can say--it's okay to hold curiosity. And it's okay (sometimes) to ask questions. There are some questions that are off limits, and a good rule of thumb is to only ask questions that you'd be comfortable with someone asking about you in mixed company.

If I know you, I am happy to share information, within reason, if someone has curiosity about what being queer means to me. I am always willing to have a discussion.  I may not give you the exact information you're looking for (if it's something private to me or someone else), but let's have a discussion rather than jumping to conclusions or consulting others. 

I don't know all the answers about what it means to be queer or to live a queered life.  But I know that when I am intellectually honest with myself and others, beautiful things happen.  I grow, bloom, and evolve.  And I am here for that part of the journey.

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