LGBT+
Image: Flickr - Bryan Ledgard

Editor’s letter: Learning in LGBT+ history month

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This month sprung itself upon me quite unexpectedly, and amongst the flurry of dissertation deadlines, essays and shifts at work, it almost could have passed me by. Despite this, LGBT+ History Month managed to take on a new meaning for me this year.

In the past, despite defining somewhere in the LGBT+ umbrella, I haven’t really felt like I was a part of this community. I am a “straight looking” woman at the best of times, and even after being in a same-sex relationship for the first time my attitude did not change. I wasn’t sure who I was, how I defined or where I even belonged within this community.

When it came to pitching our LGBT+ History Month content, I decided therefore to reflect the uncertainty of identity in my choices. This month is about celebration and looking at how far the community has come, but also about how far we have left to go.

LGBT+ History Month managed to take on a new meaning for me this year

I am fairly convinced that within the next few decades, the concept of defining sexuality even under the broadest of terms will be obsolete; or at least I hope so. I’ve given up trying to figure out what letter I am in the acronym. Instead, I think I’m just going to live my life and date whoever I feel like dating.

I can’t promise my mother that I’ll end up marrying a man someday, or deny that I will remain unmarried but living in a relationship with a woman. I may even be single; who knows?

Within the next few decades, the concept of defining sexuality will be obsolete

The important thing is that my sexuality has been the greatest burden on my own mental health for not only the past month in particular, but for years. I have been told that my sexuality meant I “never really had to come out”. I have been told I do it all for attention. I have been criticised by members of the LGBT+ community and those from outside of it.

In the end though, who I love and who I am attracted to is unimportant. This month has taught me that, as much as my sexuality is a part of who I am, there is also so much more about me. I write, I sing, I paint, I swim, and I really like Marmite.

I have been criticised by members of the LGBT+ community and those from outside of it

There are many people who will appreciate their definitions and labels, and I know numerous people who get comfort from knowing exactly what they are. For some, there is peace in being able to put a name on how they feel.

However, at least for me, identity is far more than whomever I end up dating. My sexuality is so important, but at the same time it doesn’t make me who I am. And after a decade of wondering, I finally feel in this LGBT+ History Month that I am becoming comfortable with who I am, refusing to define who I love by a letter of the alphabet.

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