**This post contains swearing**
This post was sent in by a young lady who wishes to remain anonymous at this time.
I’m very proud of who I am and my journey of discovering my place in the LGBTQ+ community. My parents, however, still believe that homosexuality is “not normal”, despite the fact I was 7 when I discovered that I was attracted to my best, female friend at the time. Being attracted to women and non-binary people has been my norm ever since. Whenever I gain the courage to finally come out to them, something always pops up on the news and it kicks my dad off again, making me hide my flags. His most recent rant ended up with the laughable comparison of gay marriage being the equivalent of him marrying pickled onions.
The bit that is very-much-less-laughable was when he compared homosexuality to mental illnesses.
He knows that I’m currently waiting on a psychiatric analysis to find out whether I have borderline personality disorder. He knows that both my mum and I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. What he doesn’t know is that I sat in my room for a solid half an hour, crying my eyes out, believing that, if I came out, I’d be sent to fucking conversion therapy of all things.
My mum was furious at my dad for his 1960s mentality on the matter (it wasn’t taken out of the DSM until 1973(1)), but even she is still under the belief that homosexuality isn’t normal. I’m not sure if it’s down to her religious beliefs, but the last time I checked, Jesus hung out with prostitutes and social outcasts. She also says it’s evolution, but there have been genetic markers found in people who have been in same-sex relationships(2). If it was evolution/survival, surely those markers would have cancelled out by now?
The only thing I agree with my mum and dad on is that everyone should be treated with equal respect and kindness. However, their argument of “don’t shove it down my throat” won’t be valid until everyone accepts that this is who we are. It’s got to the point now where I feel like shoving a fucking pan flag down my dad’s throat every time he says that stereotypical, heterosexual line that I’m so tired of hearing whenever two people of the same gender kiss on TV. I’m tired of straight people kissing on screen for no fucking reason and I don’t audibly complain to the room.
The issue stands that I can stand up to bigotry when it’s not my family. I have the arguments. I have a list of sources stashed away in the back of my brain, as well as personal comebacks to shut them up. My mouth just doesn’t open for me to actually use them, and I lose a little bit of that pride that I love celebrating.
For years I tossed and turned about using the term “bisexual”. It just didn’t seem to fit. Thanks to studying English for so long, the term “bi” is engrained in my head to mean “two” – bicycle, bilingual, binocular. Even now, when the meaning of bisexuality is ‘being sexually attracted to more than one gender’, it just doesn’t fit me. I’m not fussed about gender! I have never been sexually attracted to a social construct!
Then I heard of the term “pansexual”. Pansexuality is being attracted to someone despite their gender identity. TL;DR, if I like the booty, then I like the booty.
This is why I love pride. It takes a lot for you to discover who you’re attracted to and whether you conform with a label or not. I personally like using labels, whereas someone who feels similar sexual/romantic attractions to me may not personally like the label of pansexuality, and thus will opt for something else. That’s the beauty of this community; you get to be you!
I’m not using this article to say “look how terrible my parents are”, because I know there are way worse households out there. I just wanted to use this as an opportunity to let people know that they aren’t alone when it comes to not being out to their family. It can be difficult and shitty and it’s not fair. But there are people in your corner. There are people that are accepting and understanding and willing to learn.
You will always be safe somewhere.
Luckily, I have friends who understand. In fact, after telling one of my friends what my dad had said, he went so far to read The Mirror of Love by Alan Moore to me (who also happens to be one of my favourite graphic novelists) while we were having one of our coffee-and-catchup days, which was the only piece of “gay” literature until 1995 (3 – reference in book). Talking to my friends has also made them realise that they need to do more as straight allies, and they’re happy to take a backseat during the times when LGBTQ+ people need to have their voices heard.
These people are still in my life because they accept that my personality isn’t defined by sexuality. My name is M-J and I am an intelligent, clumsy, bubbly, introverted, excitable, grumpy, determined, bee-loving, mess of a woman and my sexuality has nothing to do with any of it.
(1) Drescher, J. (2015). Out of DSM: Depathologizing Homosexuality. [online] NCBI. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4695779/ [Accessed 3 Sep. 2019].
(2) Milton, J. (2019). There’s no such thing as a ‘gay gene’, scientists find. [online] PinkNews. Available at: https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2019/08/30/theres-no-such-thing-as-a-gay-gene-scientists-find/ [Accessed 3 Sep. 2019].
(3) If you would like a copy of Alan Moore’s The Mirror of Love, you can get it here: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-mirror-of-love/alan-moore/jose-villarrubia/9781891830457 [Accessed 3 Sep. 2019]