Thoughts From the Spectrum
One Writer’s Commentary on the Trivialization of Pan Sexuality and Beyond
I have never felt pressured to label my sexuality.
I’ve used the terms poly and pan in conjunction with one another to help my friends understand me a bit more.
Both make sense to me because I love to love, and it seems like my love has no preference for gender. It’s beautiful, fun and open—my sexuality has enabled me to meet, be with and love many different people from all walks of life.
In honour of this article and for the sake of clarity, first let me openly express that I am attracted to: cis men, cis women, lesbian women, trans women, trans men, genderqueer and non-binary pals as well as all others on the spectrum of gender and sexuality. Suffice to say that my sexuality is dynamic—I can be attracted to anyone, as long as I find them, well, attractive.
Since moving to Montreal, I’ve met an incredible amount of people who describe themselves similarly. It’s lovely being part of a community that accepts and relates to you in that way.
And yet, as queer as I am, I seem to have a restless desire for straight male love.
Relationships—with men, at least—have never been my cup of tea. Make no mistake, I love men. They are beautiful and complex. My relationships with them have tended to be crazy, confusing and heartwarming all at once. But one thing that has always stuck out to me about the guys I have become close with is the unique way they completely marginalize my sexuality.
I just came out of a relationship with a dude, and during our relationship he told me that it was “okay” for me to sleep with women, but not with men. It didn’t occur to me until very recently that this isn’t the first time one of my male partners has said this to me.
For a while, this double standard worked to my advantage, despite knowing that this notion of “it doesn’t count if it’s with a girl” is problematic. But it started to get tiring—the wide-eyed expressions of the men I dated when I announced that I was in fact into women or otherwise, the relentless questions about the technicalities of female love, the way they never fully understood what it meant that I loved all genders, binary and beyond.
My sexuality, in conjunction with my ability to love many people, has become an integral part of who I am as a person. It’s challenging to crave male love, yet not be understood and respected by them as a non-heterosexual female.
What I’m trying to say is that I’m sick of having my sexuality ignored, because there are times when I fill the role of a cis man’s girlfriend. And if it’s not ignored, it’s dumbed down to me being into chicks, and suddenly my sexuality becomes an object of their desires, as if for some reason they are entitled to know every detail, the play-by-play of my experiences with non male-bodied people.
It’s confusing. It hurts. And it’s just a smaller piece of a larger, more puzzling issue regarding what we perceive to be acceptable in relationships. It’s this weird complex that all sex isn’t equal, and that the domination of heteronormative sex, paired with the othering of marginalized sexualities, is somehow okay.
This societal habit of looking at relationships as something that should fit in one box is absolutely ridiculous. Love is love and love, sex is sex and sex, no matter who it’s with, and no matter who you’re with. It should be treated equally, and we need to drop these standards that we are currently holding ourselves to.
But in the end, these men were phases in my life that ultimately opened my eyes to a larger issue, and for that I am thankful. Here’s to respecting our own and each other’s sexualities, and embracing free love.