I Had To Come Out 3 Separate Times Because Sexuality Is Fluid

I Had To Come Out 3 Separate Times Because Sexuality Is Fluid

By the way, world, I'm pansexual!

I knew I liked girls when I was 10 years old. But I refused to believe it until I was about 16. It was very hard for me to come to terms with my sexuality for many reasons. First, the adults in my life refused to talk about sexuality and this made me feel like my feelings were "wrong." This also made me feel bad about wanting to explore who I was. Second, although I knew I liked girls, I still liked boys, too. And no one ever told me that was okay. I felt like society needed me to chose and yet again I felt like my feelings were "wrong" because it was hard for me to chose.

So when I was a senior in high school, I started dating my first girlfriend. This was a very exciting and liberating time for me and I was very lucky to have the love and support of my family and friends. However, people I knew and some people I didn't know decided to label me as a lesbian. At first, I didn't care. I embraced this label and was just happy that I was out of the closet. But then I started thinking that the word "lesbian" didn't really describe me. But by then it was too late. Everyone in my life already knew and I really didn't want to have to come out again. So I just let it go. I kept my mouth shut and forced myself to forget about my true feelings. Well....that didn't last for long.

After about 3 years of pretending to be a lesbian, I decided enough was enough. I finally embraced my bisexuality and it felt really good. I was able to freely and openly talk about my attraction to girls and guys. BUT something still wasn't right.

Side note: gender and sexuality are different. If you didn't know this or this confuses you, please spend some time with Google and educate yourself. (Preferably before you keep reading the rest of this article. Otherwise you might get a little lost.)

So, I met someone and was immediately attracted to them. They were cute, funny, and very nice. I soon came to find out that they identified as a non-binary individual and used the pronouns they/them/theirs. This was not my first encounter with someone who was non-binary or gender queer, but it was the firs time I was ever attracted to someone who identified that way. So what did that mean for me? It means that I am pansexual.

According to Merriam-webster, pansexual (adj.) is characterized by sexual desire or attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation. Speaking from my own experience, this means that I'm just attracted to people-regardless of what's in their pants or how they identify. Once I had this realization, it was like I could finally see in color. All my life I wasn't living like my truest self. But once I found out that there was a name to how I felt and that there were other people in the world who felt the same, I was so relieved. Also, bisexuality and pansexuality are REAL identities. We are not just confused or in the middle. Our feelings are true and valid.

Sexuality is fluid and is on a spectrum. This means that who you're attracted to can change and that is OKAY. If you are struggling with your sexuality, take all the time you need. Do not feel forced to "decide" if you don't know. If you have already come out but you think you need to it again, do it! You only get one life and you should be able to live it as who you truly are. Don't let anyone decide how you feel, only you can do that.

Cover Image Credit: Ciara Gazaway

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.

It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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If You Think Belly Dancing Is Sexual, You're Missing The Whole Point

Believe it or not, exposed stomachs aren't inherently sexual.


What we know as belly dancing here in America started in the middle east as a way for mothers to teach their daughters how to isolate certain muscles that they would use in childbirth, thus making the process an easier one when it was their time to go through it.

This cultural dance began with mothers teaching daughters behind closed doors where men weren't allowed to watch. It's possible that this fact helped cause some of the negative stigmas behind it by people who do not know its true origin.

Long story short (because I'm not looking to place false facts in this article), belly dancing moved over to America after a while and it wasn't necessarily accepted at first. Today, there is a multitude of belly dancing styles, including belly dance fusion which combines more traditional dancing with modern takes on it by blending multiple cultures or dancing styles.

You're probably wondering why a white girl such as myself is trying to educate you on something that clearly isn't a part of my own culture. Well, for those of you who don't know (or who couldn't recognize me from the cover photo), I belly dance at my university as part of an extracurricular club.

This club is easily one that I am most passionate about. I joined the club in my first semester as a freshman and have stuck with it for the past six semesters, and plan to stick with it for my last two. I came into the club with little previous dance experience and no previous belly dance experience, much like almost everyone else I've seen come and go.

I've heard of professors at my school who said they wouldn't go to our shows because it "made him uncomfortable." Why? Because our stomachs are out and we're moving our hips? That doesn't make our dancing inherently sexual.

We have a rule within our club that if any of us go out to parties, we cannot use belly dancing moves to try to woo guys or girls. Because guess what? That's not the point of belly dancing.

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