I never really had a defining moment; I just always knew.
When I was younger, my sister and I would stay at my grandpa’s house while my mom worked her 9-5. One summer morning, in the middle of a PBS kids’ episode, I turned to my grandpa and I told him, “I like girls too grandpa.” Without emotion, he just said, “I know.” We continued eating our duros. Later that week I told my mom while helping her put groceries on the belt, “Mom, I like girls too.” She simply said, “We know baby girl.”
When I finally began my sexual identity journey I first identified as bisexual until the age of 13. This was when I started discussing with classmates and professors. I went to an open school, which was a non-traditional alternative middle school. The school encouraged youth self-identity. It was when I was attending this school that I realized my sexuality was pansexual. The best way I described pansexual to my grandpa was that I am not limited to just men and women, I am attracted to someone solely because they are attractive to me, without sexuality bias. I realized this was the case because I was dating one of my best friends at the time, who was a homosexual male. We broke up when we switched schools, and I dated one of my first girlfriends shortly after.
When people ask me, “what is it like to be pansexual?” I just say, “I have more options.” However, a common misconception for someone who is pansexual is that they don’t have standards, but I do, just like anyone else. I have morals, values and expectations. I am fairly picky when choosing a partner. When I do have a partner, the biggest struggle I have faced in my relationships was due to stereotypes. Some of my relationships have failed due to the insecurities that my partners will develop in relation to an assumption or stereotype regarding traits in my sexuality. Common arguments I have had with partners is that they assume that I will be attracted to anyone and everyone.
Another assumption made about me in my previous relationships is; “oh you like girls too, lets have a threesome.” This one is very irritating because even though my sexuality is open, I do enjoy monogamy. After some of my close heterosexual friends have experienced a heartbreak, they will say, “I’ll just date girls.” When in reality, all relationships are flawed, I have experienced being cheated on, lied to and played by both men and women. There is no difference.
One thing I would like my daughter to know while she grows up and develops her sexual identity is that love is love. You will find love wherever and with whoever you find it. As long as you are safe, I want you to experience all types of love, whatever type of love is the right fit for you. Love helps us grow, change and learn. I will always accept, love and cherish you the way that I hope that you will always accept, cherish and love yourself. Take pride in who you are. Love is love.
My sexuality does not define who I am, it is only a slice of what makes me who I am.