Protip: If you’re asking, “ Am I queer?” You probably are.
As the daughter of a theater director, the existence of gay men was normalized. I assumed that gay women also existed, even if I didn’t know them. Unfortunately though, queerness was never discussed. Sexual orientation was binary – you were either straight or gay.
By middle school, I had heard the term ‘bisexual’ and knew a few people that were identifying that way. I knew I wasn’t bisexual because, in middle school, bisexuals were girls who kissed one another to turn on the boys. At that time, bisexuality felt like it was for the straight male gaze. While I wanted to be found attractive by that same gaze, that method didn’t feel right for me.
High school is probably when I started identifying as “mostly straight.” I remember filling out forms that asked for sexual orientation, and while I was positive I wasn’t a lesbian, it bothered me every time I had to check off ‘straight’. I remember standing next to the lockers after one survey, trying to quantify it. I’d say, “I think I’m 80% straight.” By this point I knew that bisexuality wasn’t just about attracting boys but it felt like an orientation reserved for those who were 50% attracted to men and 50% attracted to women (though I now know that bisexuality is not based on percentages and is an attraction to two or more genders). The fact that all of my previous experiences had been with boys didn’t help convince me that I was even in the running for this kind of identity.
It also didn’t help that when I did think about women, I’d brush it off. I have always been attracted to Halle Berry — ALWAYS. When Alyssa Milano cut her hair short, I was wowed. Given how comfortable women feel about appreciating beauty in one another, I would tell myself that everyone, minus gay men, thought that women and femmes tended to come in more attractive packages than most masculine folks. This helped me disqualify my queer inklings as nothing more than straight woman’s aesthetic appreciation.
As I grew older, my internal (and external) debates got sillier. I identified as an active straight ally in the LGBTQ club at college and began feeling more comfortable in queer spaces. I’d regularly discuss my sexual orientation with friends, trying to understand myself, but consistently thought I just wasn’t queer enough to count. By my junior year I had my first “homoerotic” experience during a platonic massage and still couldn’t validate my feelings.
I could go on but what’s the moral of this play by play of my life?
If you think you’re queer, you probably are.
If you’re not sure if you’re straight, you probably aren’t.
Either way, it doesn’t really matter. Sexuality is not a binary nor are there strict definitions and markers to “earn” a label. There is no default sexual orientation. We are all simply living and existing and we can be attracted to one gender, all genders, or no genders. We can experience romance or we can not. Love who you love, have sex with who attracts you (as long as it’s consensual) and relax about being enough because…
YOU ARE ENOUGH.