There's a huge pressure from society for people to know things about themselves—what they want to do with their life, what career they want to be tethered to, where they plan on being five years from now—that we really shouldn't add more pressure by requiring people to know their sexual orientation and gender identity.
I've always been pretty comfortable with my gender, but my sexuality? I'm still figuring that one out. I grew up in a fairly conservative home, so I was never exposed to the LGBT+ community or anything similar to it. Straight was the only way to go, and I grew up completely fine with that. It's only now that I know I'm not, that I'm realizing some of the things I did, probably should have told me I wasn't sooner.
Thankfully, it was never a huge source of stress for me because I was OK with being straight. I was fine with the idea of only being into men because I mostly still am. It's just that "mostly" bit that has me thrown off.
If I'm not fully into just guys, does that make me bisexual? What's the full difference between them, anyway? What does "bi" really imply, anyway? Two? Which two? Does the "bi" aspect of the word "bisexual" even really matter?
Do people identify as "pansexual" because the distinction of "bi" is misleading since there are more than just two genders?
Speaking of genders, would I date someone whose gender identity doesn't conform to the binary? How about a transgender person? How can I really know this for a fact without dating someone like that?
All of these thoughts gave me countless headaches, and they still do if I think too hard about it. Since I'm still discovering myself, I'm not fully comfortable labeling my sexuality as anything other than "not straight."
That should be totally fine.
If anything, I think this should be encouraged. It puts way less stress on people who are already stressed beyond belief. It shouldn't be something that a person has to know immediately, and they shouldn't have to ever label themselves if they aren't comfortable with it.
Let people explore their sexuality and gender. If they find a label early, let them. They may change it later. They may not. As long as they're happy with it, what does it matter? Why tell them "no?" Even if you're their parent or caregiver, you should at least be fine with them exploring their own identity and figuring their life out.
It's healthy, and ultimately, it will make them a happier person to know they had support for the whole wild ride.
Respect people if they find nothing and choose to stay label-less.
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