Categorize Me

Every Oct. 11 is recognized as National Coming Out Day, originally founded in 1988 to commemorate the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. The day promotes a safe world in which the LGBTQ+ community can thrive with acceptance and love. In high school, we remembered the people who marched by having students of all class levels give speeches about their coming out stories, showing other kids that it was okay to be who you were. Holding with that tradition, I wanted to share my own story.

When I was little, I had one singular idea of romance. Princesses got their princes, and lived happily ever after. I never even considered that there were other possibilities out there. I remember the day that worldview changed, almost like an electric shock to my brain. During a sleepover in middle school, while talking about our crushes, someone whispered, "Boys are gross. I like girls."

We fell silent. How were we supposed to react? The subject was dropped.

But then there was high school, where I learned words like gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and transgender. I learned that just because Sydney was on my girl's field hockey team in 8th grade didn't mean that when puberty hit she wouldn't realize that Elliot was a better name, and male pronouns were what he wanted.

And that was okay. I loved meeting all of these awesome people who knew EXACTLY who they were. Only, I had never had an AHA moment. For me, it was a slow realization. Maybe I wasn't as clear cut as I had originally thought. I had no idea where to put myself. I wanted to fit into a box. Any box, really. I felt like I needed a category so that I could fit in, so that I would make sense. So I could feel validated. But I didn't fit into any of them. I liked girls, I liked guys. I liked trans girls and guys. I liked people with kickass personalities.

What I hadn't learned was that I could be all of those things at once.

It took me a long time to get to the point where I can comfortably call myself pansexual. I went through several categories before it. And every time I changed what I called myself, people would ask me things like, "Wait, aren't you gay?" or, "I thought you were bi?"

A lot of people don't realize that it's a long road. A long and confusing one. And that's ok, maybe they're perfectly happy with the category they've been given and never had to ask themselves these questions. Maybe they figured it out after only one category change. It took me longer than most. But I'm happy with my category now. In fact, it's the most anti-categoric category out there. It's me telling the world, "I'LL LIKE WHO I LIKE AND THAT'S IT!"

And that's it.