• Laura Boyle

Belonging

June, and Pride, and the “who belongs at Pride and who doesn’t and why” discourse always gives me a big bundle of Feelings, with an intentional capital F. In many ways, I feel like I haven’t earned a space in a celebration for marginalized sexual identities - I’m not LGBTQ+, showing up “to support the people I’m in relationships with” when they have other partners who are also of those marginalized identities feels unnecessary, the discourse around whether kink and polyamory “belong at Pride,” while it gets my hackles up in a “have you learned any history?!” way (or at least the kink part does), also adds to the “ah, I don’t belong and am unwelcome” feeling - so I tend to sit it out but be supportive.


It also shakes up all my “definitely not bi enough to be bi, right?” feelings, every year, like clockwork - which some friends assert means I am definitely bisexual, since there’s actually no requirement you have been in a lasting relationship with a particular gender, just have experienced attraction, and (TMI ahead) I’ve probably had more sex with women than many “I’m bi but then I got married to a man” monogamous people. Being a compulsive overthinker, obsessor over semantics, and generally unable to accept things until they’re beat over my head, I probably won’t self-identify as anything but straight (or maybe heteroflexible? But that sounds like a circus act) until I fall in love with a woman and can’t deny that that’s happened. So, again, I feel like I don’t belong at an event that already isn’t really nice enough to bi and pan people, and I can’t even claim one of those identities full-throatedly.





So, essentially, I guess what I’m saying, in this ridiculously personal little revelation of how Pride everything in the month of June (because now that corporations have got hold of it and Pride isn’t a riot, it really is everywhere) makes me feel, is that I have identities I’ve embraced and ones I’m not sure of. I’m certain I live a polyamorous life and don’t intend to stop. I’m certain I’m kinky and owe any ability to be public about that to the same leathermen who protected gay folks at early Prides, when Pride was half-riot, and that because of that, I’d assert that clothing that represents that has just as much right to be at pride as body paint, rainbows, glitter, and other stereotypes of LGB self-expression. I’m not certain about a bisexual identity I might have, despite ten years of wondering about it and occasional sexual expression of it, because no one being interested in romantic expression of it with me has left me pretty confused about the whole thing. Who even knows? It’s all fluid and labels are bunk. Regardless, labels are what qualify you for this event(s), as far as the Gatekeeping Public would have me know, so I’ll be involved as an ally, quietly, not very much, as I continue figuring out if I belong.

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