I’ve been wondering if I’m straight a lot recently. It’s funny — usually, the trope is that people have to consider the reverse. However, when your daily shoe is six-dollar Goodwill sneakers that look like an ’80s abomination, you seem to be sending a bit of a signal. Add to that a few quirks like blasting Rina Sawayama in your room like it’s a full-time job, and you happen to be the exact type of person who people assume is a flaming lesbian. Whether I am or not isn’t really the main concern (even though it is for everyone else). What continues to press on me when people interpret my identity one way or another is the thought that my identity needs to be clear and delineated for the general public.
The word “intersectionality,” to me, is suffocating. It feels like there are too many labels that intersect in the crossroads of my identity: half Korean, fully Jewish, and apparently homosexual. Am I allowed to feel comfortable leaving my personal labels blank? It doesn’t feel that way.
The LGBTQ+ community, which the majority of my closest friends happen to be a part of, is very focused on establishing a specific identity under the umbrella of queerness and taking pride in it. While I agree with the idea, not everyone should feel required to do so. When facets of yourself are things that people discriminate against, it can be incredibly affirming to have a community that raises you up, raises awareness, and makes you feel like you are loved for being who you are. However, sexuality and gender identity are also very intimate topics that shouldn’t feel like a requirement to share with the public to feel validated. In addition, it can be harder to want to be “out and proud” if it takes you longer to discover who you are, and what exactly you’re supposed to call it.
Personally, I honestly still have no clue how I identify. Some friends of mine joke that I suffer from “compulsory homosexuality” as a result of being consistently told that I’m subconsciously closeted. I couldn’t care less, but I certainly feel like I have to. I wonder if my life would be easier if I just came out, even if I don’t necessarily feel like I completely fit the bill to do so. There’s a level of apathy I have towards my own identity that I am unsure is healthy or not. If I end up feeling like it’s logical to come out, I worry that I will not want to out of spite.
The thing I’ve learned most about myself out of all of this has been that I take the most pride in who I am, point blank. I think it’s important to feel comfortable in who you are, but labels aren’t a requirement to prove to anyone (or to yourself) that you are important and valid. So, I’m waving the white flag amongst a sea of rainbow. I’d like to surrender and just focus on love, no matter what form it takes. You’re welcome to join me.