The other day, my dad and I were talking. Something was said and resulted in my saying, “I’m hella gay.”
My dad, rather than just going along with it, looked thoughtful and said, “Yeah…but you aren’t, are you? I mean, you’re asexual.”
Flustered, I reply, “Well, yeah, but…” and I stopped. Because, for the first time, it hit me that I’m not a lesbian. That ‘homosexual’ is no longer a label that applies to my experiences.
This is something that’s been swimming around at the edge of my brain for a while. Pretty much ever since the Pride parade this year, which I bowed out of because I didn’t feel comfortable enough to participate. To be honest, between people telling me that I’m not gay because I don’t want to share in their crude jokes about women and people telling me that I should find a partner, it’s become harder to balance the labels ‘lesbian’ and ‘aromantic asexual’.
And that makes me sad.
I came out in high school as a lesbian. I dated some amazing women, went back in the closet, dated some not-so-amazing men, and came out of the closet again. I felt, and still feel, proud to identify with the butches, the boi’s, and the femmes. I loved, and still do love, identifying as a homosexual. But, lately I’ve been noticing something else. A slight disconnect. A twitch in my consciousness. Rather than being on the outskirts of the lesbian community, I’m swiftly becoming someone on the outside looking in.
For a long time, I’ve been using the label of ‘lesbian’ because I only wanted to have primary platonic relationships with women. Because the only people that I’ve truly fallen in love with are women. It makes me sad that that isn’t enough anymore, for the lesbian community or for those who are aware of my other sexual identity — that of an aromantic asexual. A large part of this is because of the lack of groups that encourage lesbian asexual spectrum people to participate in meaningful dialogue about how these two identities can interact. Another part is that often when people think of homosexual women, they’re focused on the ‘sexual’ part of that label.
So where does that leave me? I don’t know. The only thing I know for sure is that change is the only certainty in life and labels are only useful until they’re not.