Yes, I Am Queer. But I Am Also Demisexual.
Family gatherings, outings with friends, meeting new people — just about everything is cursed or haunted by the dreaded notion that I must want a relationship and it must be sexual. I can’t go anywhere or do anything without the questions creeping out. “Do you have a boyfriend?” “What guy wouldn’t want to sleep with YOU?” “Did you see him??” “Did you guys do it yet?” “Why don’t you download Tinder and just hook up with different people?” My eyes roll so far, they end up backwards.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always felt like it was an obligation to “pick a side” for a sport in which I was never in the running — let alone a team. In middle school, most people weren’t allowed to date because their parents wouldn’t allow them to. I was allowed, but I never had reason to want to. After constant persuasion, I decided to try it to see if I could understand what the big deal was. I dated multiple guys never seeing the fascination and I honestly hated how much they wanted to make out. It wasn’t until after high school that I realized I was attracted to girls more than guys so I decided maybe I was gay and that was the problem. Only, I still didn’t want to do anything sexual with them, either, until one girl. I had always valued her as “more than a friend,” but it wasn’t until I accepted the fact that I did feel the romantic feelings I’ve been denying all those years, that I realized I was demisexual. The only problem had been that I didn’t have the language for the longest time to understand myself.
That was the first time I had a desire to kiss someone so bad I craved it with every inch of my body. Nothing ever happened with us, but I became more confident in my sexuality. I went to my first pride and my partner at the time bought me my first asexual flag. It was incredible to see I was not the only asexual person in the universe, and it filled my heart with a comfort and happiness that I had never felt about my sexuality. But the next day I had to return to the real world and it’s still hard to find that pride I felt. The real world — where no one walks around with their sexuality on a flag; where the majority of everyone seems heterosexual; where my coworkers assume I’m straight or know I’m gay but think I’m hooking up with random girls at parties; where my sister talks to her students about her family and defines me as the lesbian or the bisexual, but never the asexual or demisexual.
Deep down I love being demisexual, but openly I only feel confident in the spaces I am welcome in or when I don’t feel like I’m a complicated math problem no one can seem to figure out; when asexuality is a widely known variable and I don’t have to spend years trying to define myself five hundred times before I give up; when I don’t feel like the patient with heart problems no one can identify; when I can just say I’m asexual and be understood, rather than explaining asexual each time just to be overlooked and have people say, “But you like girls, right?”
Sexuality is a spectrum, but so many people are only seeing it in black and white. Gay or straight. Girls or boys. I can identify as pansexual, demisexual, asexual, or lesbian and I’m still struggling to figure out exactly which one I fit with the most. I’m struggling more with trying to find people who actually understand these terms. Sexuality is a flower, constantly blooming and changing its petals, but people are still limiting us to the same two flowers. We are unaware of just how many flowers the world can carry. Being the only sunflower in a bed of daisies can be beautiful, but it gets lonely. And it hurts to hear people say, “Wow, look at that one. I don’t know what that is, but it’s pretty.” Treating you like an outcast, making you feel like you never truly know what you are.
And while I would like to stand out, tall and proud as an asexual, most times it’s a lot easier to just leave it, to say I’m into girls, or I’m bi, without explaining the full truth; to just say I enjoy being single because I’m working on myself; to close my eyes and pick a mainstream label so I can finally open my eyes to a world I actually feel understood in, and to still go to bed every night underneath my asexual flag, knowing what I know, and letting that be enough for now. I struggle to love my sexuality the same way everyone else struggles to love themselves, but I am never ashamed. I never regret it. Sometimes, there is a passing wish that I was “normal,” but it is only fleeting and I’m always grateful it is never fulfilled. And I know that I am not as broken as I sometimes feel. I struggle now, but I am learning.
And I hope other people are also learning about asexuality and all the other colors that make up the spectrum and all the other flowers that make up the world. Because even if I feel alone, or different, I am figuring out who I am, and I feel myself wanting to open from the inside. To bloom, just like the flower I am. Even if I’m the only one, right now. Because if you are not straight, you must first learn your sexuality, then you must learn how to find pride in it. Then you must wait for the world to learn how to respect you in your identity. But we must never forget we are a flower, and we must constantly be watered to grow. Learn to water yourself with love in the places everyone else forgets about.