Something that I will never forget is around a year ago, when I felt obligated to identify as bisexual even though I was realizing more and more that I wasn’t. See, I would think about everything in the past, all relationships and crushes I ever had, and as everything was piecing together, I started to see that I wasn’t bisexual at all, I was a lesbian. But, I was pondering all of this in the safe space of my mind, of course. Friends were aware that I liked women, but it was sort of this unspoken thing that because I liked women, and finally admitted that, I had to be bisexual. One day, I mentioned wearing a rainbow flag to a friend, and she laughed and told me that I couldn’t because I was bisexual. She proceeded to tell me that bisexual people have their own flag, and while this is true, I still couldn’t help but think that was wrong. I was distraught, after so long of hiding in the back of the closet, I was taking a step out, and now I felt as though someone was pushing me back in. I felt that no matter what I identified as, as long as I was a member of the LBGTQ+ community, that rainbow flag belonged to me as much as it did to anyone else. I felt so small, so insignificant, and so invalidated, especially considering the fact that I didn’t even know what I was, but someone else felt the need to label me and tell me what I could and could not do according to that label. Someone else gave a rather stern implication that I didn’t belong at the NYC Pride Parade, because I wasn’t even completely out of the closet, and after all, a lot of people tend to think that those who are questioning their sexuality aren’t sure yet, even though I knew I was. This made me feel even smaller.
Now, things have changed, all for the better. I wear the rainbow flag with pride, now as a lesbian, but I would wear it regardless of how I identified, because it belongs to all of us. There are an infinite number of shades in the rainbow, one for each of us, and one sexual orientation is not more valid or more important or more representative of our people than the other. I know that, now. On top of that, I am going to be attending all of the NYC Pride Events, including the NYC Pride Parade, for the first time, and I couldn’t be more ecstatic. Tossing a rainbow flag on as a cape, and walking amongst the people I once felt I had no place in is going to be one of the most incredible feelings ever. But, as I reach a major milestone in life, and others are celebrating their pride again and again, I know that there are a ton of people in our community who are in the same place that I was a year or two ago.
To those who are questioning, I love you. I understand that this is all new. Remember that sexual orientation is one giant spectrum, and while most people tend to fall towards one side, and some towards the other, there are a ton of people who fall somewhere in-between. Some find themselves in the middle, and sort of experiment and explore the spectrum, until they find where they are ultimately supposed to end up, whether that be one side, the other, or to remain in-between the two. We all hold the rainbow flag for a reason, love. There is no black and white, but a million different shades of color. Questioning who you are is a part of being a human being, it means that you are alive, and experiencing life. That does not make the process less difficult, nor does it make the burdening questions that weigh heavy on your chest any lighter, but it does give some sort of comfort in knowing that you are not alone in this. Remember that while this is scary, living a life that is a lie and not living to the fullest is even scarier.
To those who are bisexual, queer, pansexual, a different orientation, or no orientation or label at all, I love you. I apologize on behalf of those who contribute to bierasure, and biphobia. We have all felt that we don’t fit into this standard, one-size-fits-all box that the world has presented us with. It is important for those of us who like people of the same gender, and people of the same gender alone, to remember that those who like people of multiple genders, or those who choose to live without a gender, are valid and important. There is more discrimination against those who are bisexual, queer, pansexual, or unlabeled than we like to talk about, and it is an issue that lies in part within our own walls. We all know that we cannot choose sexual orientation, and I will do as much as I can to stop others from giving the ignorant implication that bisexuality, or pansexuality, or being queer, or being something else is being confused. Remember that sexual orientation is a beautiful and diverse thing, there is nothing about you that you need to change, there is no pressure to pick a side. Never be ashamed of who you are. Love who you love, and know that for each misguided and ignorant person who feeds into the stigma that those who fall in the middle of the spectrum of sexual orientation need to make up their mind, there is another person who loves and accepts you for all that you are, and is fighting alongside you to erase and eradicate that stigma. Being bisexual, or pansexual, or queer, or loving people regardless of their biological sex or gender, is beautiful. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
To those transgender individuals who feel silenced and invalid and unimportant, I love you. Never forget how brilliant you are. You are important. You are beautiful. You are valid. You are perfect as you are, no matter what anyone tries to tell you, who you are is valid and special and I hope that one day, we will live in a world where everyone recognizes that. Being who you are, who you feel that you have always been inside, is the most courageous thing that anyone could ever do. Living an authentic life, one where who you are on the outside and who you are on the inside aligns, transitioning to become that person takes an immeasurable amount of courage and strength. Most do not know what that is like, or how how difficult that process is, but still admire that strength, and courage, and will continue to support you. To those who are questioning their gender, or feel as though theirs does not fit within one of the two binaries, remember that all applies to you, as well. You are valid, and I will continue to break down the binary with you, until we are all living in a world where who we are has nothing to do with what is between our legs.
To those who are not out, I love you. Take your time. It is okay. There is no shame in taking your time, in accepting who you are before sharing it with others, for whatever reason, taking your time is not a bad thing. Others are quick to forget their own coming out, and those who do not have to come out sure do shell out a lot of advice, considering the fact that it is something that they will never have to worry about. Come out in one big step, or in a few medium-sized strides, or in smaller, continuous steps, however is the easiest and best for you. This is not an easy thing, in fact it is probably one of the most difficult things you will have to do, and the situation is more difficult for some than others, but this is giving yourself your best chance. You deserve to live an open and authentic life. Remember that no matter how difficult it is, no matter how terrified you might be, there are people who love and accept you for who you are. I think that you are wonderful, not despite who you love, but because of who you love. There will always be a support system, a group of people full of love and acceptance, no matter how strong hatred surrounding us might be. Love trumps hate, every single time. When it is time, when you feel good and ready to take that big step and come out, to be true to who you are, know that we will be standing behind you. No matter what happens, you have a family who loves and cherishes you, no matter what. Never lose sight of that.
Remember that no matter what, someone loves you. Let us love one another, without question. Let us love another another and continue to serve as the support system we have spent so long building. The world is changing, because of us. People are learning, becoming more educated, realizing that love is love. Businesses are standing behind us, putting our rainbow flag in their store fronts and advertising campaigns, to show loud, proud love and support. We can get married, after so long of longing for that, achieving something that those who came before us never thought possible. We have created a ripple, which has caused a wave, and resulted in a movement unlike any other, and despite the recent changes in our government and world which are nothing but negative, we continue to bring positive change to the world, to our people. We prevail, and no matter how others might attempt to bring us down, we continue to grow stronger. The world is changing. Let us love one another, and further this change, and cause even more change. Let us be the generation to put an end discrimination and hatred and bigotry, and even if we feel we cannot achieve that in our lifetime, we will work as hard as we can, to achieve as much of that as we can.
To live a life that is pure, and authentic, is the most beautiful thought imaginable. Let us continue marching on, and never forget those who fought for us to be where we are today, and do the same for future generations, for them to have a life that is even better and more full than ours is. We shall never stop fighting for our right to be equal, for the basic human rights that everyone deserves, for us to never be in danger or discriminated against for who we are, for something we cannot and should not feel the pressure to change. Let us never forget our strength, and how far as a people we have come, how strong and unbreakable a force we are when we stand as a united front. We will remain out and loud, never falling silent to appease those who aren’t as open-minded and for the people as we, unapologetic for who we are.
Let us be proud, always.