My Queer Identity is Intentionally Enigmatic
On thriving in the ruins of what used to be my cis-straight identity
I sometimes wish I could start my coming-out story with a simple sentence containing five words or less.
Hey everyone, I am pansexual. Also, I am non-binary.
Or something like that. I wish explaining who I am was as easy as that.
When some of my friends came out to me, they would often not have to say much. I love men. I love both men and women. I think I am a woman. Instead, to do my identity justice, I have to do a lot of explaining. It’s a sit-down conversation — with snacks and beverages. Possibly some psychoanalysis.
In a heteronormative society, it is easy enough to understand what ‘gay’ means. I by no means want to insinuate that it is easy to come out or to make people understand the complexity of what it means to be gay on an individual level. Still, many coming-out conversations can presumably be had starting with a clear statement: I am gay. I am bi. And it might be left at that. But in my case, I expect questions.
How can you be pansexual? You have only dated men.
Wait, is that why you broke it off with your boyfriend?
When you cut your hair super short when you were 15, was that supposed to tell us something?
But you still relate to gendered terms, right? So how can you be non-binary, then?
Is that why you started wearing men’s clothes?
Will you start hormones soon?
In my head, I am being interrogated like a criminal. I need to put everything out in the open. My story cannot have any gaps or inconsistencies. Then, I realized that the person asking questions in my head is not my mother, cousin, or an old classmate.
It‘s me. Hi. I’m the problem; it’s me.
For the past year, I have struggled with understanding myself first and foremost. I have…