New Partner. New Identity?
I dated dudes growing up. As a matter of fact, I dated dudes up until I was 20, but knew something was “off.” Being from South Texas (an area that is predominantly Hispanic and big on faith, specifically Catholisism) I grew up thinking gay people (or anyone in the LGBTQ community for that fact) were committing sin, so being gay was not a thought that ever crossed my mind. And just like the master narrative depicts, it wasn’t until I moved away for college that I finally realized I was gay.
It’s kind of funny though because my mom knew I was gay before I even knew. I went home for the Holidays my freshman year and was very excited to share what I had been learning in school. I had just taken Intro to Sociology, and it changed my life. For the first time, I was very passionate about the things I talked about — I had finally found my home away from home.
Topics that interested me most pertained to issues dealing with gender and sexuality. I was so eager one morning and was explaining how I had just learned sexuality was actually on a spectrum, instead of being stagnant. My mom immediately interrupted me and asked, “Are you a lesbian?” At the time I was very offended because I thought I was straight, but turns out she wasn’t completely wrong.
I think by now you have noticed that I have been reffering to myself as gay instead of lesbian. That’s because I don’t identify as a lesbian or bisexual. Those categories never seemed to really capture how I felt. It wasn’t until recently (after I started dating my partner) that I realized I am queer. It has taken (and is still taking) time to become comfortable with this new identity, however all this time I never really knew I was using the term gay synonymously with queer (which I am aware causes many issues, but was a term I just felt more comfortable saying outloud).
Kenny, my parter now, has challenged and changed the way I perceive myself.
I had just gotten out of a nasty relationship with my ex-girlfriend and met Kenny through mutual friends. Kenny had also recently gotten out of a relationship with someone who delegitimized their trans* identity. Kenny is the first trans* person I have dated and it has been a learning experinece that as been so rewarding. I have learned a lot about myself through this relationship and have been compelled to not take anyone’s gender for granted. If I am ever unsure of someone’s gender identity, I will refer to them using they/their/them pronouns.
Kenny goes by they/their/them pronouns and origionally came out as genderqueer. However, as we know, gender is also on a spectrum. They eventually decided that they felt more masculine than nonconforming and said they will eventually want to go by he/him/his pronouns after they start “T.”
My relationship with Kenny has also challeneged my brother and sister (whom I am very close to) to actively think about gender in a way they had never done before. All in all, it has been a great learning experience for everyone.
To add to the mix, I am the first Mexican Kenny has dated, and they are the first black person I have dated. Because of this, there is a lot of learning/exploring going on which keeps things real exciting.
I am so happy in my realtionship because I have learned more about myself within these past couple of months than I have ever before. I have learned to be open to different identities and have learned that it’s okay to have all the answers. I have learned to go with my gut and pursue what makes me happy regaurdless of what others may think. I have learned to love with no boundaries.