My Identity Journey: Queer (and sexual/romantic separation)

A lgbt pride flag is divided into 6 horizontal stripes as follows from top to bottom. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple.

Part 4 of the journey. The home stretch! Read from the beginning here. (4/5.)

Romantic/sexual attractions

During my queer Tumblr soul-search, I’d discovered the distinction between sexual and romantic attraction. I took them to heart mostly because of my intense consideration of being asexual/demisexual, which was something I’d given a lot of thought to while I was using the bisexual label. Technically, asexual and bisexual labels can’t co-exist in the same person because they both express conflicting sexual attractions. (Asexual = no sexual attraction. Bisexual = sexual attraction to 2 or more genders.)

So, if I fell on the ace spectrum like I suspected, I wasn’t really bisexual. I sought out the technical labels for what I thought my attraction was at the time. What I found was a kaleidoscope of queer labels. Endless, always changing and crashing into one another, colors swallowing each other. Dizzying.

Eventually, I came upon a handful of options. Biromantic seemed promising at first for its simple switch from sexual to romantic and keeping my same “attraction to 2 or more genders” definition that I’d been too afraid to leave behind. I also thought about homoromantic. At this point, I’d been dating my current girlfriend for about a year, and I knew beyond any doubt that I was in love with her.

But there was no way I could say the same about boys. I didn’t even know if I was capable of falling in love with one. I couldn’t imagine it happening in the future, but did that mean it definitely could never happen? What if this relationship with my girlfriend didn’t last and I fell in love with a boy after this? This exact doubt restrained me from claiming any label that excluded men. I was terrified of coming out as gay and having to swallow my words in the future. I didn’t want to be wrong about myself.

Queer

Yet as time passed, it was becoming clearer and clearer to me that I’d already been wrong somehow. I took bisexual out of all my bios and I gave away my bi pride flag to a friend because I felt so detached from it. I became mostly inactive on Tumblr for a couple years and rarely delved into deep label discourse. I think I probably needed that space.

The distance from bisexual let me embrace queer for a short period. While queer appeared to me as less men-centered, especially to straight people who see bisexual as attraction to 50% men, it was still a misstep. But I admired the label’s inclusivity and general umbrella quality. I knew I was unsure about myself at this point, and queer gave me an explanation while I took some time to figure myself a little more. I only ever used the label in queer spaces and never came out to friends/family with it. But using it internally and digitally gave me a comfort during the last leg of my journey.

Up next

Read how I finally embrace lesbian as a label here.

If you connected to this post or learned something from it, please consider donating $3 to my ko-fi page to support my work.

If you have a similar experience, tell me about it in the comments, send a DM to me on Twitter or Instagram, or send an anonymous message to my Curious Cat.

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