I recently became engaged to a man. While this in itself is no unique thing, engagements being quite common however exciting they are, my engagement still caused a bit of a ripple among my friends and family. It wasn't a matter of scandal or ill will or disapproval towards me or my fiancé. No, it was a matter quite different altogether. As I went around boasting the news, I was met with many congratulations and well wishes, as I expected. But underneath the happy tidings I also heard other murmurs along the lines of "but wait, I thought she was gay?"
I expected this, too. For the past three years I've identified as a lesbian. Thus, when my chosen life partner ended up being a man, people began to wonder. And question. And comment.
Never to my face, out loud, of course. But that wasn't malice on their parts, it was just basic human curiosity and respect and confusion and propriety. People were surprised by my 180° change, and I knew it. But that didn't mean it was easy to hear when people were shocked by the news.
I experienced a moment of panic regarding my impending nuptials.My friends' reactions to my engagement left me no longer feeling like the blushing bride in the usual sense. After being so buoyed on a cloud of excitement and elation, I felt grounded by insecurity and doubt and a little bit of anger, irrational that it was, whenever I told people about my engagement. I began to doubt the whole thing. And that doubt was only bolstered when a few friends of mine called, texted, or wrote to me in attempt to persuade me out of my marriage. They felt I had made a hasty decision and I started to feel the same.
The root of the matter was, though, that I was starting to question not my engagement, but my sexuality. Again. And I hated it. I hated being in between sexualities. I knew my own wants and desires and I accepted them. Not an easy feat by any means. However, my own security did not guarantee anyone else's and indeed I ran into more than one person whose concept of sexuality was limited to labels, stereotypes, boxes.
In high school, I identified as bisexual, which had its own benefits and downfalls too. Some people, in both the heterosexual and homosexual communities, say that bisexual isn't even a real sexuality. That those who identify as such are wishy-washy and can't make up their mind. I never felt that way.
For the three years I was in college, I identified as gay. But only to some people. I never really "came out" to my parents or family, officially anyway. Most of my friends and colleagues knew, but then again since I did not "look the part," per say, many people did not know I identified as gay.
Now, I was engaged to a man. It may have seemed confusing to some, but to me it was just the natural progression of not just my sexuality, but of my life. I met someone, got to know him, fell in love, moved in with him, and then decided to marry him. It was not some radical decision but the one I felt was right. Who I was at the core did not change in any way. I was still myself, still held the same beliefs and values, and had happened to be lucky enough to find someone who shared those beliefs. That person happened to be a man, but that didn't matter either.
I didn't fall in love with him because he was a man, and couldn't not love him because of his gender either. I fell in love with a person, not a sex.
Sexuality is a sliding scale, and I traversed the whole spectrum. As was my right, my choice, and my freedom, as it is for everyone. I got bogged down a few times by my own insecurities and others', but then I stopped blushing. I didn't have to explain myself to anyone. It was only normal for people to wonder, to question. But that would pass. I fell in love with a person, not a sex. It's just that simple.