Fluidity is a concept that has interested me for years, but I was not very familiar with how it worked. When I first started learning about the LGBTQ+ community, I read about the spectrum of gender and sexuality, which gave me a foundation for my knowledge, but still didn’t answer many of my questions. Over time, my thoughts about queerness have been transformed to the idea that labels don’t have to be fixed and that societal standards can be restrictive.
This is also true of living in a publicly authentic way, which reminds me of my experiences as an asexual person. Whenever I meet someone new, a question that I am always asked is if I am dating someone. When I say no, I am met with even more questions, as a 20-year-old who is not dating and has no interest in dating is not typical. In situations like this, I am reminded that living publicly isn’t always as public and obvious as we would assume. I am not trying to be loud and obvious. Instead, the stereotypical default forces me to display my sexuality publicly.
People in heterosexual relationships are given the room to be seen in public without being questioned, and yet they are also allowed to be quiet and stay in the shadows if they choose to. They are not forced to be in a given situation simply because of their relationship status. This is not a luxury that I have been offered, whether in public and surrounded by strangers or in conversations with my family. Even so, I don’t have the same experiences as queer couples, so I can’t fully understand what being public about their relationships mean.
Yet, it is clear that the pressures of heteronormativity in society have negative effects on many people, regardless of their sexual identity. Whether you are in a relationship or not, these standards still have an effect on what it means to go out in public and live authentically, with or without a partner.
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