how do i know which sexuality i am?

written by Melanie Coker

they/them

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Throughout your life you may question your sexuality. You may start off certain you are one label, only to later discover that you feel like another. I believe it’s important for everyone to do their research on sexualities, explore different definitions and hear others’ stories. This doesn’t mean you must immediately label your sexuality, or put a label on it at all. It’s okay to say that you’re questioning your sexuality, or figuring it out; you are not obliged to put a label on how you feel.

Identifying your sexuality may be completely straight forward: sometimes you just know. On the

flip side, you may need to take some time and discover more about yourself. There is no right way,

and there is nothing wrong with not knowing what your sexuality is. The key is to not let anyone

else define your sexuality, because no one knows you better than yourself.

There is every chance that your sexuality may be fluid throughout your life as you have experiences

that may open or change your mind. If you are someone who has come out as a sexuality but feel like

that label has changed, don’t be afraid to embrace it. I first came out as bisexual, but now identify as queer in all aspects (sexuality and gender) as I believe queer is such a loose label that it can mean whatever you as an individual define it as. To me, queer means that my sexuality and gender are not the norm, so I’m not heterosexual or cisgender. You may think queer means something different, or it means something different to you, and that’s okay.

Many people find it helpful to discuss how they are feeling about their sexuality with someone, whether this is a family member, friend, or even someone online. Bottling up feelings is never the answer, and when you are unsure it can be helpful to hear advice from someone who loves and cares about you, or from someone who has been through the same or similar experiences as you.

Before I came out, I felt like a weight was lifted off me when I spoke to people who were part of the LGBTQ+ community. At the time I didn’t feel comfortable sharing my thoughts and feelings with those closest to me because I was scared that it was a phase or that I would be labelled as something that I’m not. Confiding in people who understood what I was going through gave me the courage to come to terms with what I was feeling and come out to family. 

Coming to terms with your sexuality is not always as straightforward as some make it seem; it can fluctuate throughout the years, but that is completely natural. Some people just know and identify with that sexuality for the rest of their lives, while others feel differently as they grow. Some people may never label their sexuality and others may change the label of their sexuality numerous times.

At the end of the day, who you are and how you feel is valid.

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