“My jigsaw is still evolving. It gets bigger and better as our community grows”
BY THE CHEEKY CHARMER, IMAGE VIA PEXELS
Claiming your lesbian identity doesn’t necessarily stop with: “Hey everyone, I’m a lesbian.” When I came out, I went from (trying) to fit a binary heteronormative box to fitting an equally binary queer one. The term “queer” wasn’t widely used, letters were missing from our acronym and our flag was distinctly lacking in intersections.
“The term ‘queer’ wasn’t widely used, letters were missing from our acronym and our flag was distinctly lacking in intersections”
There were three choices regarding sexuality: straight, bi or gay.
I put myself firmly in the lesbian box (I’m being serious, not euphemistic people!*).
I’m still in the lesbian box. Only it’s expanded slightly (see above those of you looking for smut*).
Claiming my identity didn’t end with coming out. It’s an evolving process that’s true for many people. I’m still learning, exploring and coming to understand myself. I’m breaking free from the constricts of the binary thinking I grew up with, particularly regarding gender. It’s a constant evolution of self and, you know what, I think that’s what life is, regardless of sexuality or gender. As human beings we should always be seeking to discover more layers of ourselves, in order to grow.
I’m still feeling my way through the blinkered tunnel of identity I grew up in. Even in my early adulthood, I stood at the beginning of that tunnel, staring into a dark void. It was only as I took baby steps, sparks of light appeared. The fireflies of possibility glowing in the distance. As I gathered momentum and courage, the whole tunnel lit up. Now, I’m standing in sunlight on the other side although sometimes insecurity and fear puts me a few paces back into the shadows. But I’ve seen the lights now, I know they’re there, no one can put them out.
That’s my long winded, slightly wanky metaphor for how my lesbian identity has evolved. Growing up, there was a total blanket on queer culture. I knew I was gay and non-binary from about the age of four. Although I didn’t “know, know” that in a way that could be articulated. I didn’t know being queer was a thing. And don’t get me started on the gender spectrum. You were either a boy or a girl. Only I didn’t really feel either so where did that leave me?
As I grew up, gay culture became more visible, but gender diversity was not discussed. Although the silent self, the “me” that’s always been there, knew exactly who they were. It just took time for me to get quiet enough to hear their whispers to understand who I was, who I’d always been.
“The first time I heard the words ‘non-binary’, felt like a lightning bolt”
The first time I heard the words “non-binary”, felt like a lightning bolt. I’d been trying to “work myself out” and my lovely first girlfriend, said, “do you think you’re non-binary”? My answer was: “No, erm, what? not sure, probably, yes.” I’d never heard the term and didn’t understand it. Until I looked it up. Then I realised I’d always understood it.
As I lost myself in a Google deep dive, my head started to buzz. It felt like little lost pieces of the puzzle of me fell into place. My life started to make sense.
Seeing there were many people who identified as “enby” (slang for non-binary) made me realise all the feelings I’d grown up learning were “wrong” were actually completely right. I wasn’t different or weird for fancying girls or not always identifying as one. I wasn’t an anomaly. I was perfectly, beautifully right. And there were many other people who felt the same.
My jigsaw is still evolving. It gets bigger and better as our community grows. Every time our acronym adds another letter, someone’s self-realisation grows. Sometimes people (even within our community) say there are too many labels. But when you don’t fit the binary you need something to make sense of yourself. As I found more pieces of my own puzzle, the labels I used also grew. I went from identifying simply as gay, to non-binary, to a non-binary lesbian. Now, I’ve started to play with the term “masc. leaning lesbian” because it seems to fit more. I still identify and non-binary, but I lean to a more masc presentation and sense of self. And obviously the lesbian bit doesn’t need any explanation: I really fancy women.
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