It is the Pride weekend, and I am reminded again that I should not take my freedom to be who I am for granted. For many people this is the only time in an entire year that they feel truly free to express themselves, in the open for the whole world to see.
I have never truly been in the closet, if there was one it was only because I didn’t know it myself. By the time I knew and started telling people, nobody was ever really surprised.
Many people confuse the term “gay” with the narrow identity roles they have in their world views. If you have a male body and gay, you must be effeminate. If you have a female body and gay, it must mean you like being a boy. Our prescribed roles are so constricted that even as I acknowledged my own gayness, I was confused to which end of the spectrum I belonged, if there was actually one.
As I reached adulthood, I grew comfortable telling people that I love being a woman and being in love with one. There were many looks of confusion as people tried to sort out who in my previous relationships took on the masculine role. They didn’t seem to understand the beauty of being in a gay relationship is that we never had to define any roles.
Then my thirties hit, and for the first time in my romantic history I stopped having the desire to have a romance. I could no longer define my identity with who I am with.
I still identify as a gay woman, but it no longer felt adequate for who I am. Increasingly as I grew into myself, the more I didn’t feel right being defined. My identity shifts according to the time of the day, the context, the people whom I’m with, and the fluctuations in my psyche. I identify much more as a woman versus a man, but to be honest I don’t feel much like a woman either. Just to be clear, I still have internal struggles over whether I identify as a human being.
I am beginning to tell people that I don’t think of myself having a gender, and even if I wanted to have one, it never felt right to me that we had to choose between being a female or a male.
Pride, we must carry, no matter who we are and who we truly want to be. I recognize I am truly blessed and very privileged, for I have never struggled against wanting to love women my entire life. I have never felt bad about it as my experiences were only tremendously empowering for me. It felt so natural to me that I could never have imagined myself to be otherwise. There is just something that is so unapologetically powerful about acknowledging my own gayness that I wish I can be equally unapologetic in other areas of my life.
But I see that there are still many people who are unable to be truly themselves. There are still many of us out there being bullied and driven to suicide because we are different from the very narrow categories society seems to like putting us in, for their own selfish peace of mind.
I have never felt the need to be out loud and proud, because it just felt so me that I am a walking advertisement of my unapologetic-ness of my freedom to be and to love, in every moment I express myself without even having to consciously do so.
Yet it must be a conscious choice and reminder than I have to be carrying that pride not only inwardly, but very outwardly, not for myself, but for the millions of others who are still dependent on the strength of those of us who are privileged to be and love whoever we want, in any given moment of our lives.
Originally published on Medium.