Don’t box me in!

I don’t know what it is, but I have a serious aversion to the terms “gay” and “lesbian” and all the rest of them.  Not that it stops me from using them, of course, but it’s mostly out of necessity:  there’s only so many ways to succinctly say “hey, I’d rather sleep with girls than with boys.”

This thought has been bumping around in my head for awhile, and I haven’t been exactly sure what to do with it.  It’s not as though I’m not gay or not a lesbian, but I think it’s more that I just don’t like being labeled as such.

It seems so constrictive – like a pair of jeans that you had to struggle into, and while they might function just fine, every breath reminds you that it’s not quite so comfortable (especially as soon as you have to sit down…heh) to actually live like that.

I guess this goes back to one of my previous posts, about how when you step outside of the bounds of what society considers “normal” sexual orientation, that all of a sudden you’re put into this box. Seems a little ridiculous to box in something that doesn’t really have boundaries.

I still really struggle with how when you’re attracted to people of the same sex, that you now have to declare yourself to your world, that now there’s something that other people need to know about you.  I mean, I didn’t have to come out “straight” back in the day when I started dating boys.  (“Mom, Dad… I know this is a shock, but… I’m going out on a date with… with… a GUY.”) Why do I now need to come out to friends and family?  Maybe I should also declare for all the world that I don’t like cats?  Or can’t stand peanut butter? (that last one especially sets me apart from most people…)

In an ideal world, there would be no boxes or categories or labels.  You would just be attracted to the person, regardless of gender or orientation.  No straight or gay or bi or anything else along the spectrum of sexual orientation. There would be no need to have awkward coming out conversations with the friends and family in your life, no need to even really make a decision as to what category you might fit into.

Because, sometimes committing to a certain category feels just as difficult as anything else.  I know I like women; that’s not in question. But I still have a hard time identifying with calling myself a lesbian.  Makes a lot of sense, I know.

Perhaps I chafe at the idea that it’s made to seem as binary as that — either you are or you aren’t.  Like I woke up one day, flipped a switch, and voila! I’m gay! Or maybe I just don’t like being told who I am on the basis of whether or not I follow societal norms.

But perhaps I’m just looking for a way out of having to go through the sometimes awkward, oftentimes emotionally-charged coming out conversations by blaming it all on “society”.  Damn you, Society!

But, at the most basic level, it comes down to me.  And my friends.  And my family.  And who they think I am, and who I might actually be.  It’s easy to rant against the world and all these big concepts that don’t rail back at you, but in the end, I’m still kind of stuck where I am now … with a lot of the people that I love not knowing something important about me.

Perhaps, it’s actually *me* that’s put me in this box?

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2 responses to “Don’t box me in!

  1. Thanks for this. This is something I think about a lot. It seems like you only have to define yourself when you’re outside of “the norm,” whatever that is. I have a serious aversion to “lesbian”. “Gay” I’m okay with, but mostly because it sounds less clinical or infectious. And really, what does it matter? When I first came out, I felt like it was important for everyone to know. Now, unless I’m sleeping with you, want to sleep with you, am dealing with discrimination or you’re my doctor, it doesn’t come up a lot.

  2. My first comment! Thanks. 🙂

    And I’m hoping that once my family knows, this whole thing can kind of be put on a back burner. Of course, then what would I blog/whine about? Hee.

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