I have been a romantic person most of my life. I wasn’t one of the pretty girls that guys had a crush on, though. When I was in the fifth grade, there was a guy who showed interest in me, and I liked him too. But I felt awkward as I didn’t quite know how to make an impression in these situations. I was the kind who would get into fights with others, played sports, and always hung around with the boys. Up to a certain age it was fine, but as I grew up, I saw the problem with my behavior. By middle school, all my friends, classmates and acquaintances were in and out of relationships. Even though I had never been intimate with anyone, I lied about my status. I told my friends that I had my first kiss, just so they wouldn’t make fun of me. All the guys I had crush on were my friends; I liked them because they made me laugh and feel nice. Most importantly, they stood up for me when girls teased me for being flat-chested or for always wearing hoodies and jeans.
I was in the eighth grade when I had my first crush on a girl. She was my best friend at that time. She was quite adorable with her short height, blonde hair and blue eyes. She seemed like a huge dork – she didn’t fit in most of the time. But she didn’t care about it or did try and change her behavior for others’ approval. Initially I tried convincing myself that I simply wanted to look, or be, like her. I was in constant denial of the fact that I liked her romantically. When I failed to get over my feelings, I told her everything. I don’t clearly remember her reaction, but it was certainly not untoward.
As I moved forward, I came face-to-face with many harsh realities of life, primarily the hypocrisy of society that worsened its own problems. That was when I thought I had met the girl of my dreams, but she happened to move away, which left me totally confused.
Around the same time, I came across a homosexual male who was being bullied. People in his school beat him daily, and humiliated him in the halls with names like “faggot”. On becoming aware of our mutual reality, we often comforted and supported each other. We soon realized that we needed each other to protect ourselves from this heartless society. Despite knowing that we had absolutely no chemistry, we got into a relationship – technically my first. We broke up once he became comfortable with his sexuality and got the courage to deal with society on his own.
“Last night I was seriously considering whether I was a bisexual or not but I don’t think so though I’m not sure if I’d like to be and argh I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, if you like a person, you like the person, not their genitals.”Jess C. Scott
However, I still hadn’t found my foothold, as far as my sexuality was concerned. I found men attractive. But I found some girls attractive too. It didn’t make sense to me. I was raised in a Catholic home, homosexuality was forbidden. That certainly didn’t help clear the haze in my mind.
To compound the matters further, every girl around me claimed to be bisexual. It seemed to be a trend at that time – it made you sexier, more desirable, and exotic. But I didn’t feel that way and I didn’t want to become like that. I was the girl next door – a boring, invisible one at that.
Somewhere down the line, I discovered that people like me identify as “pansexual”. Their sexual choices are not limited by sex or gender identities. In other words, pansexuals are attracted (emotionally and sexually) to others, irrespective of their gender and sex. You may think of them as gender-blind.
While in college, I dated a woman who, at that time, was questioning her gender. She felt safe and comfortable both with women and men. She was born a female and looked very feminine. There was no doubt that I was attracted to her body, but her mind is what drew me in. She was a freethinker who questioned everything, and left me completely in awe of her. She made me realize the extent to which social constructs and stereotypes rule the world. I came to understand that people like her felt lost because, going by the stereotypes, they fit into both categories. But physically they belong only to one, which keeps them in a perpetual state of confusion. She dreamed of a world where everyone accepted each other and themselves, where pink wasn’t associated with girls and ‘strong’ wasn’t a characteristic automatically assigned to boys. Her thoughts, beliefs and quest for answers captivated me and I turned to the fields of sexology and psychology to enlighten myself.
Unfortunately, she became the victim of a hate crime one night. One of her ex-boyfriends, when he discovered she was questioning gender identity, couldn’t control himself. His hurt ego, masculine pride and hateful heart pushed him to take the life of a beautiful soul. The tragedy shocked me to the core. I promised myself to continue on the path she showed me and to further her efforts by never hating, hurting and/or judging anyone due to their culture, race, identity, gender and sex. I wanted to spread the message of love in the world so that such a horrific tragedy never happened to anyone else. Never again!
“I don’t care if you’re black, white, straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, short, tall, fat, skinny, rich or poor. If you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. Simple as that.”Robert Michaels