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“I’m a gay guy but I fell in love with a wonderful girl, who I’m now dating… What does that make me? Gay? Bi? Something?”

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

It makes you a person with an attraction to another person.

I have no idea how you identify, that is completely up to you. Labels are cool, when we use them to express who we are in a way that makes us feel comfortable. Labels are not cool because we all feel pressured to use them when we aren’t feeling comfortable.

If you feel gay, you’re gay. If you feel bi, you’re bi. If you feel queer, you’re queer. If you feel pansexual, you’re pansexual. If you feel straight, you’re straight. It is 10000000% up to you. These words all end up meaning different things to different people. That is what’s so beautiful about being able to find a word that you identify with. It’s yours. It means something very personal to you.

I like the word queer because it allows you the freedom to explain yourself a little less. I say “as a member of the queer community” and I call myself “gay.” I don’t identify with lesbian, and I don’t identify as bi or pan, but I also recognize that I am totally attracted to some dudes and there is totally a chance that I would end up with one of ‘em. A lot of people would force me to identify a certain way, but “gay” is what feels right to me. So, I choose “gay” and you choose whatever TF you wanna.

Kristin Says:

I echo a lot of Dannielle’s sentiments up there; I think that you have to reflect on yourself and your identity and own the thing you feel fits most… even if that is no label at all. I want to also let you know that it is absolutely okay if today you own the identity bisexual, but down the road you feel differently. Those shifts don’t ever invalidate who you are or you were (and those things don’t ever have to be in conflict).

When I first came out, I identified as bisexual. A few years later, I identified as a lesbian. I want to note that this first shift, for me, was actually rooted in a misunderstanding of what bisexual could mean. I was taught, strictly, that since I had dated several girls in succession, I couldn’t be bisexual. Please don’t let people tell you this, because it isn’t true. You are who tf you are (as Dannielle previously mentioned). I didn’t have a Dannielle back in the year 2000, though, and I didn’t understand that I could stand proud as a bisexual and still watch The L Word with my girlfriend.

Several years later, I discovered the word queer, and felt much more at home within it than I ever had identifying as a lesbian. This is the identity I wear most these days, but I also am always dialoguing with the shrugging off of my bisexual identity, because I feel that it still has a place within my self-understanding.

I tell you all of this to illustrate that your identity is yours, and it likely won’t be stagnant forever. You have a relationship with words and identities just as you have a relationship with people and the world around you. I think that the visibility of bisexuality is still incredibly important and necessary in this world, and that people perceived as male, especially, are discredited when they own the word bisexual. Since I am a fighter by nature, this makes me want to claim that identity even more. I like to exist in spaces where others challenge my reality. That’s me, though, and you have to navigate this for you.

Lastly: There is a good chance you don’t have a lot of interaction or experience with bisexual guys because this world tends to render them invisible. Two weeks ago I interviewed author Vivek Shraya, who identifies as bisexual and has written a beautiful book, She of the Mountains, which tells a bisexual love story. I have included the interview here, because I think it might also help. <3

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