Today is National Coming Out Day.
I’m not coming out today. I did that back in March 2020. But during the last two and a half years or so, I’ve been contemplating on my queerness.
When I came out, everything was new to me. It was something I had only just realized earlier that day (or maybe the day before), and so I hadn’t taken much time to consider the complexities and intersections of my queerness.
And today just seems like a fitting time to post a follow up.
When I came out, I framed it as “I’m kind of straight. Mostly straight. But not just straight.” I picked this phrasing because nothing else seemed to fit me. Neither “bisexual” or “pansexual” really felt right. And I couldn’t find a word that accurately communicated my sexual orientation.
Since I came out, my queerness has taken a more prominent role in my life. It’s one of the many qualifiers I use to describe who I am. It’s something I contemplate. I volunteer for a local queer advocacy and education nonprofit.
As such, I’ve given it a lot of thought.
I’ve realized that the reason “bisexual” and “pansexual” don’t really seem to fit for me is that they generally describe being attracted to more than one gender. While that sort of applies to me, it doesn’t really capture my sexuality accurately. You see, I’m not strictly attracted to particular genders. In fact, gender isn’t a factor for me when it comes to attraction. A person’s gender is irrelevant.
And to my knowledge, there doesn’t seem to be a word that describes that.
So, I’ve just settled on the word “queer”.
It’s a former slur that’s under the reclamation process. Mostly, it’s used as an umbrella term and a synonym of the 2SLGBTQIA+ acronym (and its numerous variants). But some people in the community use it as a label for complexities in gender and sexuality.
Honestly, it just feels right. It gives me flexibility and allows for nuance.
Oh, and I guess this is sort of a coming out, too. Recently, I had a dream that I was polyamorous. It was quite a vivid dream. So vivid, in fact, that it left a serious impression on me and caused me to reflect on my life. I realized that I actually am polyamorous.
I’m not actually in more than one relationship right now. I guess, for me, it just means that I have the capacity to love more than one person at once.
Growing up Mormon, I’ve heard a lot of stories of polygamous pioneers from early Mormon history. And honestly, polygamy was never a big deal to me. I never had a problem with it. I mean, sure, I have a problem with grown men taking advantage of teen girls half their age, but I’m talking about consenting adults in committed relationships with each other. Sure, I had issues with the patriarchal nature of Mormon polygamy, but the idea of a woman having multiple consenting partners or a man having multiple consenting partners has never seemed wrong to me.
This doesn’t really change anything with my relationship with Mary. She’s monogamous, and it wouldn’t be fair for me to be in a polyamorous relationship when she entered our relationship on the assumption that it would be monogamous.
And honestly, I don’t really mind. I think we have a great relationship, and I don’t feel drawn toward having another relationship. I enjoy having her as a partner and I’m entirely satisfied with our marriage.
I guess coming to the realization that I’m polyamorous wasn’t so much a desire to love other partners, but rather understanding that I have the capacity to.
When I came out in March 2020, I wasn’t quite sure how my newly realized queerness would affect my relationship with Mary or how I would explore that queerness in a mongamous committed relationship.
But the last 2.5 years have been fine. I’m no less attracted to Mary than I was then. If anything, I’m more attracted to her. I’m grateful to have her as an understanding and accepting partner as the various aspects of my identity intersected during this period. I’ve never felt drawn away from her or felt that what we had lacked in any way.
One thing I do know is that I’m grateful for is that my queerness still allows me to maintain my relationship with her. Not everyone who comes out gets to do that.