Pride is a somewhat loaded celebration for me. First of all, I’m married to a man and enjoy a lot of privilege that goes along with heterosexual, cisgender marriage. What makes things more complicated, however, is that I am not in fact a straight woman.
I’ve been with my husband for a long time, and we have a wonderful marriage. But that doesn’t make me straight. I identify as pansexual. Some of my first romantic experiences were with women, and I have also been attracted to transgender individuals on several occasions.
Since I married a man early on, I haven’t really been part of the LGBTQ community in any significant way. As a result, Pride sometimes makes me a little sad. Not because I regret my marriage or my choices, but because I feel like there is this part of me that’s never been fully realized or acknowledged.
I’m not “out” to the majority of people in my life. The times I’ve considered coming out, it’s been more motivated by my efforts to educate people than to elevate my own voice. Last week my kids and I attended a Pride event in our neighborhood, and a woman there asked me if I was in a gay family. When I said no, she wanted to know what propelled me to be such a strong advocate for equal rights for LGBTQ folks. This struck me for two reasons.
One, what’s stopping straight folks from being stronger allies? And two, what is my role in this fight? Where do I fit in, and how can I contribute most effectively?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I know that to be a fearless advocate for a change, I will someday have to come to terms with my own identity in a larger way.