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Pride Month 2019

Why it's okay (and healthy) to question your sexuality

Questioning: the uncertainty of one's gender, sexual identity, and orientation (or all three) is the process of exploration by people who may be unsure, still exploring, and/or concerned about applying a social label to themselves for various reasons. 

Social Pressure

Human psychology teaches us that social pressure on an individual can make a whole lot of difference in how they see themselves, and how they relate to the outside world, both in a negative and positive way. 

Each and every single one of us can be affected by this phenomenon, and we're all 'encouraged' by our peers to be, or act a certain way, to change our attitude, the way we talk, and how we behave in a group. 

The reason we tend to give into this pressure comes from the very normal need for humans (especially young ones) to conform to a set of standards, to belong to a certain group of people with whom they share interests, experiences, fears, and daily activities. No one wants to feel left out in a group of friends, no one wants to feel like the 'weird one', or the outcast, so we make the best out of what we have, and try our best to fit in. 

However, when it comes to very intimate and personal matters such as sexuality or gender, this whole process becomes a lot more complicated than it already is, as everyone's experience is completely different from anyone else's, yet we still try to categorize ourselves into groups in order to feel normal. The definition of 'normality', however, changes alongside generations, historical times, and societies, and therefore so does the definition of what is normal when it comes to sexuality.

For example, in Ancient Rome, men were free to enjoy sex with other men without losing their masculinity or social status, so how come same-sex sexual activities only became legal in Italy in 1890, and discrimination regarding sexual orientation in employment was only banned in 2003? This is due to many factors such as different religious views, historical, social, and anthropological changes, and there's a high chance that in a thousand years from now people will change their minds another five hundred times.

The one thing that has remained constant throughout history is the existence of many sexualities and gender identities, even when they were banned by restrictive laws, and punishable by death, and it has never been a stagnant issue: these things can change over time for some people, they can shift from one to another, or they can remain a question mark for the rest of someone's life.

Unfortunately, a big portion of those who are questioning themselves feel invalid and unwanted in the LGBTQ+ community, almost as if they had to 'make up their mind', and decide whether they identify as straight and cisgender, or as part of the community. 

The Truth

Everyone should have the right to choose whether or not to define themselves a certain way, and the way one identifies can shift over time, even very short periods of time. Someone can identify as 'gay' one day then choose to identify as 'bisexual' if they were to figure out new information about who they are, and who they love. That is, if they prefer labels at all.

To some, labels can be a way to feel apart of a group, and to feel less isolated, especially in places where LGBTQ+ people still need to hide to avoid persecution, it can be liberating to identify as something that someone else also identifies as.

To others, labels are restrictive and useless, and that's just as valid of an opinion as the previous one, hence why people who remain label-less still deserve to feel part of the community.

In conclusion, no one has the right to determine whether someone else 'fits' within the community, or to expect that other people respect their standards for what is, and isn't 'the norm'. Questioning is a big part of everyone's growth, whether it is about our sexuality or not, it makes us human beings capable of critical thinking, and it should be celebrated, even in its uncertainty. 

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Pride Month 2019
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