This past weekend our beautiful city celebrated just how beautiful we can be with the annual Kentuckiana Pride Festival. I had the privilege of participating in this year’s parade, as I had last year, and it brings me so much joy seeing individuals embrace their true authentic self.
One of my favorite parts about Pride is seeing how all of the variations of identities come together to celebrate. A lot of people may assume many things about my identity: I am white, fat, cis, and in a straight-presenting partnership. What I mean when I say that I am in a straight-presenting partnership is, even though I am engaged to a cis male, I am not necessarily straight by any means. In fact, I personally identify as pansexual. I feel that when I try to explain what that means to people who I don’t know that well, even people that I know extremely well, it is hard for them to grasp.
Basically, my attraction for someone does not correlate to their gender. I “came out” as queer (which is more of an umbrella term for not being straight) two years ago because I wasn’t quite sure what my sexuality would be considered, I just knew that it wasn’t straight. I had always been different when it came to my romantic attraction to people; it just took some personal growth and courage to actualize what it was. For a long time I thought that I was bisexual because I did like both men and women, but then I considered that I also had an attraction for folks that do not fall within a certain gender dichotomy. I like people. I am attracted to them for varying reasons. I am pansexual.
This is a somewhat sensitive subject for me to discuss as I feel that I have somewhat drifted “back in the closet.” My sexuality has caused some controversy in my personal life. I thought that I was going to lose loved ones in my life because of it at numerous points. Knowing that I have a partner who is accepting and supportive of my sexuality has become a major strength of our relationship as he had to defend me very early in our relationship. Another byproduct of our relationship was me converting to Catholicism, and I am so grateful for him introducing me to the Catholic Church.
Growing up, I was a Freewill Baptist pastor’s granddaughter (I still am) and I felt that because of my family’s religious beliefs, I couldn’t reveal my true self. Most of that was internalized homophobia on my part. I know that my family may not understand everything about me, but that’s okay, because I know that they love me. When I decided to join the Catholic Church, I felt the strong urge to conceal my sexuality again. So I started mentioning that part of my identity less and less.
I finally realized that what I had fought for most of my young adult life had to be handled differently in my late 20s. I can love Jesus, go to church, and be pansexual. All of my intersecting identities can exist together. I can be in a straight-presenting lifelong relationship, raise a family with my partner, and still be pansexual. I can only hope that my newfound family and church family can accept me for the loving, kind, generous person that I am and see past any disagreements we may have.
So, this month, and every month, I am celebrating Pride as a pansexual woman. I am celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and all of the beautiful folks that comprise the community I hold near and dear to my heart.