17 August 2021

I'm non-binary and I want to know my sexual orientation...

Hi. I would like to know about my sexuality.
When I was younger, and people thought I was a girl, I had crushes on only boys. Now, looking back, I’m not sure if the crushes were real, or if soceity – (did I spell that right?) and my family- pressured me into wanting to fake crushes so I could fit in with my female cousins and classmates. looking back, there were enormous signs of my omnigender identity lying there, just being ignored. the way I wanted to hang out with my boy cousins more than my female ones, the times I played wearing both a princess dress and a fake mustache, and the way I was so upset the night my mom was telling my sister about gender indentities, and when I told my mom I was non-binary after hearing that term, she told me I wasn’t, which might have been one of the worst nights of my life. but enough about my gender. I’m positive of it now and I want to know my orientation.
Later, just after I came out, I started having crushes on girls. I was madly in love with my best friend for awhile, but now I’m shipping her with my other friend, so I’m really over her. By then, (and still now) I find straight white cis boys repulsive (and other boys pretty bad as well.) which was the exact type of guy I used to crush on (or maybe not?) but here’s the weirdest part. I was so crazy about this kid (who told everyone he was non-binary at the time) that I sent him a message, telling him I liked him, then as soon as he said he was actually a boy, I lost complete intrest in him. crazy, I know. Do they have a sexuality fluid orientation? Did I make up all my crushes exept the last one, to be accepted? these questions flood my mind. please help.



Hi there!


Thanks for your questions, they’re very interesting and I have lots to say about them..


So one of the first things you mentioned is having had crushes on boys when you were younger but today, looking back on it, it kinda seems like they weren’t entirely your idea. Almost as if your family, and society at large, might have told you in one way or another that you should find boys to like, that this was the normal expected way to act for people like you. It makes a lot of sense to be honest! It sounds to me like heteronormativity : this false, strange yet popular idea that you can only ever be a boy who likes girls, or a girl who likes boys. Many people, adults even, still seriously believe that! How weird right?


You know when two small children of different genders hang out next to each other and some lonely older adult says something like “ohh is that your girlfriend :)?” or “one day he’s going to grow up and be such a womanizer :)!” It’s not just weird, it’s also a manifestation of heteronormativity. Growing up in a society where people constantly make those types of comments or insinuations, it would make sense that at some point you start believing them, and trying to convince yourself you might be someone or feel some way in order to please them.


I think your likes and dislikes in terms of hanging out with boys and/or girls or clothes and costumes can sometimes be hints for your gender, but not always either. For example, a boy can like makeup and dresses and still like being a boy. So it depends on how you look at it and how you interpret the information. I’m very sorry your mom reacted badly when you told her you were non-binary, you deserve better and I wish it would’ve gone differently for you. 


But your original question was about your sexual/romantic orientation! Specifically how to figure it out. The clues you have is that you’ve mostly had crushes on friends which were girls and one person you thought at the time were non-binary, and that you find cis white hetero boys repulsive. Relatable! Reminds me of this song, and this one. Hating cis men is trendy these days apparently, for obvious reasons. I just want to say that being attracted to boys, in the broad inclusive sense, is not a bad thing and there’s nothing wrong with loving a boy, even if cis white hetero men are pretty terrible as a group.


So to figure your orientation here is some information that you might find useful. First, sexual orientation is made up of three components : attraction (the kind of person you want to be with, you like and fantasise about), behavior (the kind of people you actually have intimate relationships with) and self-identification (the words you decide to use based on the first two criterias and your own personal preferences). Those three components are not always linked : you can know you’re a lesbian without having had relationsships, or bisexual and only fantazing about women, for instance. Your sexual orientation can also be different from your romantic orientation.


Generally speaking, orientations have to do with the gender of the people that you’re attracted to, even if a lot of other factors besides gender can matter. If you’re mostly attracted by girls, you could say you’re lesbian or gay; if you’re mostly attracted by people of multiple different gender(s), you could be bisexual or pansexual; and by noone you could be asexual. Trans and non-binary people tend to be included in all orientations. If you refuse to limit yourself to those labels and want to empower yourself by changing the meaning of a word that was once an insult, you could go with queer. I like queer, because it’s open-ended and could mean many different things, and it’s also politically charged and comes with a set of revendications and a profound meaning.


In the end, I don’t have a fixed definitive answer for you. Sexual orientation is something you have to figure out for yourself. It’s okay not to know or not to be sure, and it’s okay to take the time and energy to think about it when you can. There’s no wrong answers here. 🙂


If you think of other things or have other questions about sex, gender and relationships we are here!


Wishing you all the best,


Maxime, peer support agent for AlterHeros

Iel/they/them, accords neutres