In analyzing and exploring my feelings and views; I’ve reached a crucial moment in life where I can finally embrace the possibility of change. Acknowledging that my identity has been conflicted in terms of restriction and liberation, this is simply an explorative piece based on the natural desires of self.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been attracted to both men and women. It’s not something that has ever made me feel uncomfortable, as I believe deep down we all harbor the capacity to love either sex. I often wonder if there is really such thing as “sexual preference” or whether we limit ourselves based on our own fears.
I’m aware that homophobia thrives in our shared world – some parts more affected than others – creating unwarranted secrecy, taboos, shame etc. I still don’t understand how or why people can be so offended by the lifestyles of others, but perhaps a bigots main discomfort stems from an insecure unknowing. Maybe they are too afraid to embrace their own desires, creating a resentment which fuels more hate into this world.
Exempt from a few drunken kisses with girls on nights out, I’d never actually gone “the full mile” to have “evidence” of being open to both sexes. Irrelevant, as I knew such feelings existed, I just didn’t feel a strong urge seek them out.
The amount of times people have asked me whether I’ve found a boyfriend yet – I mean, is that what my life should amount to? Having a boyfriend? Forget about working hard to achieve career-orientated goals or the fact that I’ve been paying my own bills since 23, what I really need to make my life complete is a heterosexual relationship. Yawwwwwn.
A couple of weeks ago I was in an Amsterdam nightclub when something unexpected happened. No, I wasn’t on the lookout for a hookup nor was I romanticizing about love, but I happened to notice this totally striking girl. What fascinated me so much about her was that she didn’t appear to have a gender. She could have been either – male or female – and everyone seemed drawn to her because of it, myself included.
Prior to this, I’d always believed I had a type: that any girl I’d go for would be dolled up, overtly feminine and polished. But nope, there she was, jeans and a tank top, shaved head and petite. And she was perfect to me. Really, I don’t think I have ever seen a lovelier face in my whole entire life: tanned, with freckles on her nose. For the first time ever, I found myself physically seduced by another, totally non-conventional, female. It scared the shit out of me.
By the end of the night my friends tried to get me to speak with her – Jesus take the wheel.
I did what any respectable 26 year old would have done: ran away and hid behind a tree in the rain. How was I supposed to approach a female if I’d never even tried to pursue a male? Suddenly the feelings I’d acknowledged without action were staring at me. It was no longer a case of “I just want to explore”, I felt a genuine longing to know a person better. I wanted to talk to her and understand the layers of her mind and soul. Hmm, so this is why men get cold feet.
When I got back to London, I asked mum if she’d be fine for me to bring a girl home. “Of course not! You’ve been hinting at this for years!” she said. “But maybe keep it private ’til you know you’re sure”. Infamous for neglecting my mothers advice, the first thing I did was type a blog up.
It’s sad, despite my mothers liberal acceptance, the part of her which urged me not to share my “orientation” came from a place of fierce protectiveness: the worry that her child will be judged and shunned.
She was right to have her reservations. In the space of one week, I had one girl ask if I fancy her (I mean, I rarely meet guys I like let alone women) and another who exclaimed how “freaked out” she was (girl bye).
It was my first small taste of how it feels to be on the outside. My first tiny insight on what it would be like telling strangers you have a “partner” rather than a girlfriend. The first awakening to a restriction people face, not being able to kiss their lover in public. It’s not right – people should be allowed to just be, without worrying whether their sexual preference makes the general public uncomfortable. Nobody should have to live in fear for being themselves.
“Coming out” is a daunting exercise because nobody wants to be ostracized or rejected. I’ve been thinking a lot about the 2016 Orlando shootings; all my brave and beautiful LGBT friends; how painful the hate-crime must feel for them. Some haven’t even come out the “closet” yet and can you blame them? So, I take a chance in addressing my own sexuality: the fact that I am open to both men and women and refuse to feel an ounce of guilt for it.
Whilst the UK is undoubtedly more open than other parts of the world, it’s still a work in progress. The more we address our social concerns and vocalize isolating behaviours, the more we pave the way for a culture of full-acceptance.