Am I bisexual or lesbian?

Hi Kelsey, thanks for sending your question to Alterheros!

From what I understand, you are trying to find the right label for your sexual orientation, and also trying to decide if you are finding yourself more attracted to women because that is what’s natural for you, or because you’ve had a bad experience with a man before. These are questions that many people take years to navigate. Many people have no idea why it is that they are, or aren’t gay. Most people believe they were born that way, but there are others who believe that

something in their life has brought them there. At the end of the day, does it matter? If you are bisexual or a lesbian because you were born that way or because for some reason you’ve just decided you don’t want to be with men, isn’t it the same in the end? You are who you are right now, and you seem quite happy that way. So try not to analyze it and find all the answers , and just enjoy your happiness and love right now.

I can see how it is scary not to know why you are a certain way and if you are going to stay that way forever, or if you might change your mind again one day. But the reality is that sexuality is fluid, it also often doesn’t fit into one of the typical categories that society generally tells us it does (straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual). There is an entire spectrum of diverse sexual orientations. Although some people may know when they are 4 years old that they are gay and always

have been and always will be, for lots of people it is a life long journey of self discovery. A journey that never ends because as you grow and change, your sexual desires and preferences will change and grow too.

In regards to your friends asking you ‘what are you- bisexual or lesbian-?’ you can tell them what you want. If you don’t have an answer for that question yet, then tell them that. You can tell them that you love women, especially your girlfriend, but you aren’t sure how you feel about men. Try not to feel pressured to make decisions and label yourself for other people. This is something that is completely about and for you, it affects your life, not theirs. Labels are complex. They can be empowering and comfortable but they can also be constricting and can feel like a sort of contract. Some people like to have a label for themselves because it is nice to fit into a community and can contribute to a sense of solidarity. However, other

people choose to never label themselves (labels are for clothes!) because they don’t want to limit themselves to being and loving only one kind of person.

If you need further support, it might be a good idea to seek some counseling (depending on where you live, you can probably find some free confidential youth counseling in your city). You could also consider joining a community youth group that could help you meet people and be exposed to certain things that you might not usually experience, and these experiences could help you discover yourself

some more. There are lots of web resources and books also about labeling and defining sexuality. I recommended checking out the following if you are still curious: ‘Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love’ by Lisa Diamond; as well as ‘The End of Gay’ by Bert Archer. These could get your mind working a bit, and in different ways. Go easy on yourself, there is no need (and no way) to know

everything right now. Give yourself time and enjoy exploring and learning!

Let us know if you have more questions!

Hillary, for Alterheros.

About Hillary Greer

Hillary is currently completing her Bachelor of Social Work at McGill University, hoping to continue on to her Master degree after. When she lived in Toronto, she volunteered and worked at an alternative youth and family counselling organization with Dr. Karyn Gordon. Since moving to Montreal, she has completed an internship at Head and Hands, and has now been involved with AlterHeros for almost two years! She am now doing an internship at the MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation center, working with families of young children with hearing impairments and developmental delays.

Being a part of the outreach team at AlterHeros has given me the chance to explore a wide variety of topics and connect with the queer community a bit more. I had a lot of emotional support growing up and was supported in whatever choices I made. I love being involved with Tell the Experts because it enables me to be able to connect with individuals who might be looking for that kind of support for themselves. Growing up, exploring and questioning yourself, and coming out can be difficult and sometimes scary, and I am thrilled to be able to help as many people as possible to make this journey an easier one.

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