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Author Topic: How has how you've identified changed?
bluejumprope
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I find it interesting hearing about how people's identities have evolved and I thought it would be useful for people struggling with orientation issues to hear about how orientation can be mutable.

I'm sometimes hesitant talking about sexual orientation shifting because of my fears about how homophobic people will use that to say, "you can change being gay" or that being queer "is just a phase." Which is dumb and mean, but it still has an impact on me.

My progression so far has looked like this: As a young child I identified as straight, though that had to do with heterocentrism, not really any genuine sense of identity. Around 9 I started identifying as gay, then more of a "label-free" sort of gay, then bisexual, then gay again, then pansexual or queer, and now I feel basically equally comfortable with queer, pansexual, bisexual or lesbian.

It's sort of interesting to me that I feel much more at home with "lesbian" now (when my split between attractions to women and men is say 95/5), than when I was like 12 and was exclusively attracted to women. That mostly has to do with the negative connotations "lesbian" had growing up, which "gay" didn't have.

So, how has your orientation or how you've identified your sexual orientation/identity changed?

Has being in a relationship with someone of a certain gender ever changed how you think about your orientation?

Have you ever come out as one thing, and then as another? How has that updating process gone?

[ 04-14-2009, 04:53 PM: Message edited by: bluejumprope ]

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NonStraightAnswers
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quote:
How has your orientation or how you've identified your sexual orientation/identity changed? Have you ever come out as one thing, and then as another? How has that updating process gone?
I didn't really identify as anything until I was fourteen, when bisexuality came up in a discussion group activity and suddenly non-heterosexuality, which (like most of the other stuff "taught" in sex. ed.) had seemed pretty abstract up until that point, 'clicked' ("Oh, my feelings towards that girl...and that one....and that one, were totally crushes, huh?!"). While early in high school I identified (and came out) more as bi. (even saying that I thought I was attracted to women vs. men 60/40), over time that slowly changed and now I identify as mostly-lesbian. Thinking about it, it's kind of odd that I haven't really had to do an "update process" in coming out...
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Idir
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I didn't even know there was such a thing as homosexuality, so I thought I was asexual (but I know about that) until I knew I was gay.

Now I often also get feelings about girls, so I might as well be bisexual.

For the moment, I'm just "queer", it's more encompassing, and easier to say than, say, LGBT.

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Heather
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Great topic!

A few years ago, I found an old journal of mine from high school where, at the age of 15 (it was 1985), I reported having finally heard the term "bisexual," and connected myself with it. This despite having romantic and sexual feelings and romantic and sexual relationships with people of both genders for several years before then. Heck, I can trace my feelings for women back to the age of eight, easy.

But until that point, I just didn't identify at all. But then, I don't remember anyone identifying as anything back then in terms of my peers, or even adults around me.

I usually do stick with queer, though dyke has worked for me, too. My being bisexual has not always been so crystal to me, and IDing that way hasn't always felt quite right, because there have been long periods of time a few times in my life where I was only attracted to women and not to men. There have never been times where I was only attracted to men like that, but at the same time, my longest relationships have also tended to be with men pretty unilaterally. As well, I don't tend to think of gender in easy binaries -- nor does my basis of attraction seem to have much to do with bio-sex most of the time, though it does tend to have a good deal to do with gender identity and how people enact their gender -- so the bi- part of bisexual has always felt a bit inauthentic to me.

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Idir
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quote:
Originally posted by Heather:

But until that point, I just didn't identify at all. But then, I don't remember anyone identifying as anything back then in terms of my peers, or even adults around me.

I usually do stick with queer, though dyke has worked for me, too. My being bisexual has not always been so crystal to me, and IDing that way hasn't always felt quite right, because there have been long periods of time a few times in my life where I was only attracted to women and not to men. There have never been times where I was only attracted to men like that, but at the same time, my longest relationships have also tended to be with men pretty unilaterally. As well, I don't tend to think of gender in easy binaries -- nor does my basis of attraction seem to have much to do with bio-sex most of the time, though it does tend to have a good deal to do with gender identity and how people enact their gender -- so the bi- part of bisexual has always felt a bit inauthentic to me.

Yay for reclaiming "lost" LGBT-terms!
Or for mentioning that it's quite normal to not label yourself back then as no one really did in that age.
But I'm a Cheerleader-style heterosexual coming-outs, anyone?

And now, I think bisexual might not be appropriate for me either.
I'm attracted to both bio-sexes (I'm not saying that there's only two sexes) but not necessarily to all genders.
I mostly like cisgendered guys, and butch womyn. I probably am attracted by masculine gender roles in a prospective partner, independently of what they have between their legs...

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I know there is an over the rainbow for me.

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atm1
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In high school, I rocked identifying as straight while being attracted to both women and men.

For a while at the beginning college, I did ID as bisexual... and I do believe that was in part, out of a desire to be a part of a community of women who were amazing and supportive. Plus, right after my rape/abuse, I wasn't excited about dating men at all.

These days, after being in a serious relationship with a male for about a year and a half, I choose not to identify. My sexuality is just my sexuality. Maybe it's the hetero privilege that comes with being in a socially acceptable monogamous relationship with a male, but that's how I feel right now.

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Devourer
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In younger years, I used to give the knee-jerk "I'm straight!" response that most of my peers at the time [middle school] also gave. Luckily, that phase ended quickly.

For a while after that I claimed the "asexual" ID as my own. And frankly, I didn't have as much drive before puberty took it's toll. But slowly, that response became more and more innacurate. I was denying my sexuality because I didn't know how to deal with it.

Today, like atm1, I choose not to identify. Sexuality is a spectrum to me and I choose not to put myself in my own little box with a title like "bisexual" or anything. I wonder what developements later years will bring.

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Another Agenda
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I thought I was 'straight' until high school. I might as well have been; I only had crushes on boys. I didn't pay much attention to my sexual identity, though, because it didn't play a huge role in my life.

In high school, I identified myself as bisexual, partly because of the onset of crushes on girls. However, I chose not to act on those impulses (even when another bisexual girl-friend and I were mutually interested in one another) so that I could 'look' straight to my friends.

Now, I identify as monogamous. I still feel attracted to women, but I'm in a relationship-for-the-long-haul (looking towards marriage) with a young man who I actually came out to as bisexual. To me, it doesn't matter who I'm attracted to outside of my relationship, I'm not interested in leaving my boyfriend to pursue anything else; I'm just not available, and hence monogamous.

To make things more difficult, I recently was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. A symptom I experience during my mania was hypersexuality, and I'm often attracted to girls/women more when I'm manic. Since being on medication, those feelings towards girls/women have almost disappeared. So, I'm uncomfortable trying to figure out exactly WHY I chose to label myself as bisexual if it was linked so tightly with a symptom of mental illness.

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not_a_hobgoblin
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I thought I was straight into high school too... when I first came out, it was as a bisexual, because I had had several fairly sexual relationships with men by that point, and I was pretty sure I was still attracted to them (and possibly because my only other out friends were bi too). Nowadays, I identify myself as "dating a woman," so my friends tend to identify me as a lesbian, and I'm mostly comfortable with that. It feels a tiny bit like lying (I'm about a 4 or 4.5 on the Kinsey scale, at my current best estimate), but since I don't have a lot of attachment to the label "bisexual," I'm not in a hurry to claim it.

Another Agenda- *hugs* That has to be incredibly difficult. I hope your counseling/medication keeps going well. And if you feel comfortable talking to your therapist (do you have a therapist?) about your identity uncomfortableness, it might be helpful- mine was really awesome to me about all of my gender role issues.

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September
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What an awesome topic, bluejumprope!

I think my sexual orientation has been everywhere and back since I first started thinking about it at 14.

The first time I really came out to anyone was at around 15 or 16, and around that time I identified as bisexual. I already had an inkling that I felt more attracted to women than to men, but I felt 'safer' coming as bisexual and keeping the option of hetero-dating open to myself.

That didn't work so well for me, though. Throughout high school, I had an on-again-off-again relationship with my male best friend. I really did love him (and still do) but every time we tried to get physical, I freaked out and ran. Finally I came to the conclusion that I must be a lesbian after all, and talked to him about that. At prom a year later, I 'officially' came out as lesbian.

I dated women exclusively for the next two years, and for the first time felt really comfortable about my sexual identity.

Then I found myself falling for a male friend of mine. He had been attracted to me for a while but since he knew of my orientation, he had pretty much never considered that a possibility. It took both of us a while to sort that out, and I really think he had more problems coming to terms with it than I did. But, eventually we started dating and have now been together for nearly 5 years.

Since then, I've been id'ing as queer. Not only because it saves me having to post memos on my sexual orientation every few years, but also because I feel that it fits me better than any other term. I don't feel that bisexual or lesbian really apply to me and I am not comfortable calling myself either (though I often go with bi when coming out to new people where I know I'd have to explain what 'queer' means).

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Johanna
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AB
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For most of my teenage years, I identified as a lesbian, came out to my friends, had crushes and a brief relationship with a girl, yada yada.. and then I met my current boyfriend. I had never been attracted to a guy before, and it completely changed how I felt about my sexuality, and sex in general. I had never considered having a relationship with a guy, and had always seen myself ending up with a woman. But, as I've grown to realize, sexuality is so so fluid. Most people I know don't seem to realize that. Kids at school say my boyfriend "turned a dyke straight" or "brought her back". I LOATHE those remarks. Ahhhh, but I'm not going to get into that.
Anyway, right now, I guess I ID as queer... but labels on sexuality seem so pointless to me. My best friend used to say he was gay until he just gave up on that and said it doesn't really matter what he is, he is attracted to people, and his sexuality is constantly changing.
I personally don't think that anyone is absolutely one hundred percent gay or one hundred percent straight.

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Bragorien
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Until I was 13 I didn't even know you could be bi, and "have it both ways" as it were. I thought you had to choose and then stay like taht forever!
THen I remember being secret-keeper for my sister when she had a girlfriend and was sneaking out to see her as she was scared our mother wouldn't approve. At that time I was also beginning to srealise taht I had an interest in girls too, but it wasn't until year 9 (so age 14) that I was brave enough to act on it. I was petrified taht my friend would not accept me - as I had decided to come out as bisexual.

I had a few gay and bisexual friends who were really supprtive when I was trying to discover my own sexuality (One of my friends nicknamed me "Bicurious babe".. Don't ask! [Big Grin] ).
Eventually I plucked up the courage to ask out a girl in my year who I had made friends with and had a major crush on. She accepted and we dated for a week. She was my first proper same sex kiss. And it was awesome. Is it just me or is it a little mroe of a rush to kiss someone of the same sex?

But alas, peer pressure stubbed taht relationship out. I was fine with being called a "lezza" every step of the way. My close friends - who were iincdidentally straight - all accepted me, no worries. But my girlfriend had different problems as she was more popular than me and had very judgemental homophobic friends. She dumped me and it was the first time I had been dumped and I was very upset, because it was for such silly reasons.

Since then I have dated one otehr girl, but this too was only for a short time and the result of a slightly drunken game of truth or dare! Big mistake. Also, since then, one of my "straight" friends has come to me for advice, because she was thinkng she may be bi too. It felt like a bit of an honour being trusted like that, it was awesome. The only person of my friends who find me awkward is one of my friends (a straight guy) he was dating my ex-girlfriend and understandable found it wierd when he walked in on me talking to my friends about the fact she was a good kisser. [Big Grin]
However I am still afraid to tell my family. I don't know what they'll say or whether they'd accept me. When I was sobbing about being dumped by GF#1, my mum didn't understand and I just couldn't tell her. I don't know if my sister ever told our parents. It is more my mum I am worried of telling - she is a wannabe christian I think. She tried to uphold all the values even though I'm not sure she completely believes. But I think she'd dislike me if she knew I was bi.
My current boyfriend is bi too, and its actually really fun because we can discuss hot guy and girls. WHich I find amusing. I told him he was getting more and more womanly yesterday (after another friend waxed his leg for a dare) and he came back by saying: "Think about it, it wouldn't exactly matter if I was a woman!" [Big Grin]

I agree with AB. idon't think anyone is 100% anything [Smile] BUt if I had to put numbers, I'd say my feeelings are girls/guys (45%/55%)

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"I made a resolution: Dance, like nobody's watching. Which I do... with the curtains closed - in case anybody's watching!"

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Shea
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I thought I was straight until I was oh . . . about eighteen. After two abusive boyfriends I felt like I was more comfortable being a strict asexual. No sexual desires, no attraction, no nothing.

Now I've started talking to a openly pansexual female friend, and slowly I've started to become more and more attractive to her. I have NO idea what my sexuality is now.

I think I'm just going to forget sexuality even exists and just say what certain types of people I like, instead of what I like between their legs.

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