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The last week for me has brought on many new questions regarding my sexual identity. I’ve known I was queer for a while, coming out to friends in high school as bisexual, but realizing later that I liked nonbinary and trans people too. I don’t use the term pansexual because I don’t really like being put in a box and labeled, but also, a label can help find community and solidify identity more. We know that sexuality is a spectrum and it’s a  process to learn and know about ourselves, a process that has been difficult for me so far.

A term that I’ve seen a lot lately is compulsory heterosexuality. It is the idea that heterosexuality is assumed and enforced by a patriarchal and heteronormative society. For a long time, I’ve seen many of my past relationships (if you can even call them that) with men as compulsory heterosexuality in light of beginning to formally identify as queer. Then this week came with an absolute atom bomb to my sexuality and identity as queer.

This week I told a woman I’ve had a crush on for a while that I liked her, and we kissed. It was intoxicating. Within two days, in the middle of the night, my best friend called me. She’d watched Heyy Ella’s video Bisexual vs Lesbian Identity, and had an important statement to tell me. I think you might be a lesbian. To people who don’t know our relationship, it might sound out of line, but I know she only tells me the things I need to hear. She then sent me a master doc titled Am I a Lesbian?, explaining that after reading it and recalling conversations with me in which I’d talked about my relationships with men and with women, realized she needed to share it with me.

Reading through the document, I kept encountering statements I identified with. I am deeply, anxiously uncomfortable around men, whereas I am anxiously excited around women. I reflected on kissing the woman I like earlier this week and thought back to how it has felt kissing men. With men, it was mechanical, self-conscious, and left me feeling empty; but kissing her made me feel giddy, excited, and absolutely drunk on the idea of kissing her more. Then the realization that I regularly say “men are stupid, and I don’t respect them,” and actually mean it, reaffirms to me that I might be a lesbian.

Over the past 12 hours, I’ve been trying to process my feelings and figure out what it means for my sexual identity. Am I a lesbian? Does it really matter at the end of the day what I label myself? What about my attraction to nonbinary and trans people? Grappling with these questions and finding answers won’t be easy, but at least I know what my therapist and I will be talking about this week. Ultimately, I don’t have to answer these questions right now, but I will continue to seek the answers to know myself better. In the meantime, I’m perfectly content saying I’m queer. But who knows, one day, that might change.

Lusenda is a senior pursuing concurrent majors in anthropology and history, and a certificate in Medieval & Renaissance Studies. Projected to graduate in Fall 2021 from Arizona State University, she is applying for a Fulbright Scholarship and hopes to get her Masters degree abroad in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. As a queer non-traditional student with disabilities and community college transfer, Lusenda is passionate about writing that connects with a range of underrepresented demographics. When she isn't busy studying or writing she loves knitting, cooking, binge-watching Netflix, drinking too much coffee, and snuggling with her cats.
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