Over the years as my experiences grew, my thoughts on the word sexuality and what it meant to me has changed at least twice. It wasn’t just small minute changes. In fact, they were huge paradigm shifts. Quantum leaps from the ultra-conservative, to the modern, and now to the new-age.
When I was a younger teenager, sexuality was a scary black and white word. There was only one definition of it, and that was straight. Constructed by society and enforced by everyone around you, I tried to box myself into that definition. I didn’t even know the word ‘sexuality’ then; I just knew I was straight. Haha. Crushes on girls were anomalies too horrific to confront. I just brushed them aside into semi-consciousness. Meanwhile, I started to cultivate myself a ‘taste’ in men. When fellow classmates gushed about guys, I talked about their bodies. But I mostly avoided the subject of love if possible.
Fast forward to junior college, I came out to myself and others. Suddenly, sexuality was not an anonymous aspect of self anymore. I could no longer blend my sexuality in. But instead I felt compelled to wear it on my sleeve, like a crown of thorns or a tiara, depending on how you see it. Sexuality became’ the opposite of the shadow it once was. It was now an identity.
Lublub is a science student, lublub is a Christian.. ohh, I almost forgot’ lublub is a lesbian! *chuckle, why do we not hear straight people proclaiming heterosexuality as part of their identity?*
As a newly-self-discovered gay person, I was proud of my sexuality. I thought of it as a unique character trait. I’m more special… because of my sexuality. Sexuality then embodied many other aspects of me, such as my beliefs in freedom of choice and non-conformity. Sexuality is me. I was lesbian before I was Chinese or anything else.
After breaking into the GLBT community and making so many new connections, networks and friends, I grew up with such speed that sometimes, I find myself panting. It can get overwhelming. Everything was too much too soon. On the brighter side, it challenged my older mindset of putting sexuality on a pedestal. Ironically, I was as rigid with sexuality as I was before coming out. After going through so much trouble to label and define myself as lesbian, I didn’t want to go back to square one and change my position. Because that might make me look indecisive and make my straight friends question my sanity again.
Not many people know this but I have crushed on a boy before. And till this day, I still crush on him a little. He was my neighbour, and we met when we were ten years old at the playground. I even used to imagine that I would have my first kiss on the slide. He is and remains the only guy who makes me feel for him the way I feel for other girls. Not just a physical fling, but something real. Something deeper.
On top of this, meeting a whole spectrum of character types and colourful people in the GLBT community has challenged my old prejudices and biases. About what is right and wrong (who are we to judge?), and how I perceive others. It changed my notions about race, religion, age, and socio-economic background. I began to think twice about the people I say I will only date and could only possibly fall for.
In the end, my neighbour crush and my experiences in the GLBT community has made me realise that my sexuality is actually such an irrelevant concept. Love is love is love is love. It surpasses all boundaries, be it race, religion, gender, or class. Just as the self-identified lesbian (me) can still feel butterflies in her stomach for the now-grown up ten year old boy she once (and still) crushes on. Just as the upper-class, rich white girl can fall for a poor black man and call it true love. Love grows outwards from the heart and it doesn’t matter what’s on the outside in the end, does it?
People always look at seemingly incompatible couples with curiosity or disgust. I’ll admit, I once did the same. Because I’m thinking, one is too good for the other or something along this line. But then again, love works in mysterious ways. And I believe that in every one of us, lies the capacity to love that someone special. Regardless of the picture you see outside.
The identity-aspect of sexuality can be empowering. However, it can also box us in into stereotypical behaviours, mindsets and norms. Sure, you might say that sexuality makes it easy for us to understand this complicated world, by putting a simplified name on a complex issue. But more often than not, most of us don’t realise the walls we construct within our own minds when we put a restricted definition on ourselves. *For example, what happens when the proud lesbian one day falls for a guy? Would she brush aside her feelings because it threatens her lesbian psyche?*
Maybe one day, all of us can discard this idea of sexuality and just embrace the idea of love as it is. Love. Not gay or straight or bisexual or what-have-you. It’s just another label in the end.
If anything, my sexuality is lover. I love, therefore I am.