I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said these words to myself when something about me has been made (often with difficulty) apparent to me about myself. I’m constantly making little epiphanies, even now, at 38, and then wondering how it took me so goddamn long to figure that out! Don’t get me wrong, most of the time nobody has been hiding it from me deliberately or anything! I’m just extremely oblivious about myself!
This has been the refrain when I realized I was bisexual, then again when I began identifying on the grey asexual spectrum, and again when I came out as genderqueer. But it has also been a theme medically, with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, with ADHD, and most recently with POTS. Each time, it feels like it’s taken me so long to figure these things out, and I can’t even begin to untangle the ways that not knowing these things about myself has affected my life. Many times my late discovery is due to a certain obliviousness about myself. But it also has to do with misinformation about the various things, so that my conception of them was very flawed and I thought they couldn’t possibly fit me.
This is why I’m so extremely loud and proud about my sexuality and gender. There is much more awareness of bisexuality, asexuality, and genderqueerness than there was when I was a kid, but even still one more person living openly and talking about these things are good. There are after all, still many misconceptions about most of the letters of the LGBTQ acronym. People still think that bisexuals are slutty, or necessarily only attracted to cis men and cis women, or even that bisexuality is a phase you can grow out of. Meanwhile people believe that asexuals are all repulsed by sex, or sheltered, or “just haven’t found the right person yet”. And don’t even get me started on all the extremely binary thinking that happens around gender, even within the LGB community.
I don’t necessarily think it’s every queer person or disabled person or whatever’s job to talk a lot about their identities and disorders to dispel myths. Many many people are not safe to do so. But because I have the support system and the freedom to do so, I do take it as my duty to talk about these things. It is my duty to my son and all his peers to show them there are many ways of being in the world. And it is my duty to my own peers who may be struggling without knowing why yet to show them they are not alone, and there are names for what they feel. This is just one way that I give back to my communities. But also, I’m a compulsive over-sharer so that’s an aspect of it too!