This is the fourth part of a six part series called Finding #Fearless. It’s the story of my life, my journey and the struggles I’ve endured that have made me who I am today. All names and places have been changed to protect the people involved. To read the rest of the series, please click below:
Why do we as humans feel that the best way to confirm our personal identity is to give ourselves a label? It’s an interesting compulsion we have, and one that I think is more subconscious than conscious.
Having a name for something we feel, believe or value means that we can meet like-minded people and find a place in the world where we may otherwise feel lost. Labels, while they can divide us or create issues that may not have existed without them, also do something really great for our world: they unite us behind a cause.
They bring us together, they give us a platform in which to make connections, to find our voice and allow us to accept a part of us that perhaps we didn’t even fully understand until we had that label.
Labels are not required to live a happy, healthy life; but they do help us feel connected to parts of ourselves and our world that can help us be a better version of us. They should not define us or keep us trapped within a box, but rather elaborate upon what we already knew to be true about ourselves.
I have recently discovered a label, or a part of myself, that has allowed me to finally feel complete.
For the longest time I have stressed to my husband, and probably others without consciously knowing, that I would be willing to date any person, any soul on this earth, as long as they respected me, loved me and we shared a mutual attraction.
The gender or identity of the person didn’t matter, and I knew that no matter who I ended up with, my sexual, romantic or emotional attraction didn’t rely on parts. It relied on heart, and I always thought that was normal.
It wasn’t until I posed my husband with the following hypothetical situation “If I was transgender and I wanted gender confirming surgery, would you still love me and be with me?”
He answered, rather frankly and without hesitation, no.
At first that statement hurt, because in my eyes love wasn’t based on the gender of your partner, it was based on the attraction two people shared and the commitment you have to them. I thought that was the normal, universal sentiment people shared (which, if you ask me, is outrageously naive!). But I realized something very important that day: my views on love, romance and sexuality were not universal, but actually a more unique perspective.
This feeling is called pansexuality, and I guess you could call this a coming out story.
My pansexuality is not a new discovery, in that it didn’t just switch on all of a sudden. However, it is new in that for the first time in my entire life I realize that my ideas of love and attraction have a name, there are others like me, and my sexuality is valid.
Realizing this has not been ground breaking, earth shattering, or world altering in any way. When you’ve basically lived your life a certain way with no label and still accepting it as part of you, it’s funny how discovering that label doesn’t really change how you see yourself. It’s just a validation, and there’s a lot of relief and happiness that comes along with that.
I feel no different, act no different and do not see myself being any different than I was before. But in my quest to live my life boldly, fearlessly and shamelessly, accepting myself as pansexual felt like the right thing to do; and sharing it is just another part of that journey.
So what is pansexuality? Other than what I’ve already explained, pansexuality at its core, is the sexual, romantic and/or emotional attraction to ALL genders and identities based on the idea that gender or identity is not important when determining what makes two people compatible.
So, in simpler terms, when I say that I am pansexual, I am saying that gender and identity do not influence my ability to start and maintain a relationship; your heart, soul and being do. We are two human beings who share a connection based on sexual, emotional and/or romantic attraction – not because you are a man, woman or otherwise.
That’s what it means for me to be pansexual.
My relationship with my husband has nothing to do with the fact that he is a man, but rather the fact that he is someone I am sexually, emotionally and romantically attracted to. Whether he was a man, woman, transgender, nonbinary or anything else would not change the man I have grown to love. I love his soul and his being, and his gender and identity have nothing to do with that. It’s part of what makes him special and unique, but it in no way changes why I love him.
This discovery in no way changes how he loves me, either. He married me knowing my views long before I had the name to tag on to it. He knows I love him, I’m committed to him and I’m happy to know that’s what truly matters.
This is who I am, who I’ve always been, and nothing about me or my being has changed. The only aspect of my life that has changed by identifying as pansexual is that I now can begin to understand myself on a deeper level and happily accept all of myself for the first time.
And it feels pretty freaking awesome.
If you would like to email me, you can send any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will do my best to respond to you within 48 hours, but if for some reason I cannot get back to you in that time frame, I promise I will always respond as soon as possible. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!
Lastly, I run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle I am passionately engaged in. The group is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.