Introduction to LGBTQ+A
LGBTQ+A is an informational question and answer column that aims to provide readers with answers to questions they may have about various queer issues and topics, with answers from people in the LGBTQ+ community. Students interviewed are members of the Gay-Straight Alliance, which meets on Wednesdays in H-3.
Diana Gruber, a senior, is one of the co-presidents of the M-A Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). She has been involved in GSA since she was a freshman, and is excited for what the club has planned for the upcoming year!
Fenyo: What advice would you give to someone questioning their sexuality?
Gruber: “The advice I would give to someone questioning their sexuality would be to think about your attraction to people in the past, and how you have felt attraction towards different genders throughout your life. In doing this, also consider your feelings now, specifically who you feel attracted to and how you feel this attraction towards them. Sexuality can be a confusing and scary topic, especially those who do not receive any information about relationships that do not fall under heteronormative norms, but the internet is a great resource that can provide answers to the questions you have. Use the internet to look up information on different sexualities, and their definitions, and be aware that there are more options for sexuality than just ‘gay’ or ‘straight.’
Also, since sexuality is a fluid state of being, your sexuality grows and changes with you, and you shouldn’t feel like once you come out you are unable to change your mind once you experience more things in life. If you come out as gay during high school and then decide you are attracted to more than just one gender, you can change your mind and use a different label, that is okay! Above all, trust yourself and your emotions. You do not have to label yourself if you are not comfortable and there is no pressure to have a clear answer about your sexuality. It is all about what you are expressing and how you feel most comfortable presenting yourself to the rest of the world.”
Fenyo: Going off that topic, what would you say to someone who is questioning their sexuality but has only had heterosexual experiences?
Gruber: “If you have only experienced heterosexual relationships, or have no experience whatsoever, you can still question your sexuality. Actually, I encourage everyone to question their sexuality throughout their lives. Many people default towards heterosexual relationships in the early years of their lives, as society teaches kids that heterosexual relationships are the ‘norm,’ but that’s not the case, and everyone should be aware of this. There isn’t one answer for your sexuality, and you shouldn’t feel confined by societal expectations to live a certain way.
Your identity and attraction are valid no matter your experiences in the past. If you have kissed people of multiple genders, or even nobody, you can still decide your sexuality. As attraction is not always a two-way street, your attraction to someone does not have to be requited for it to exist. Many middle school girls have ‘girl crushes’ but push these feelings aside as they feel they are not ‘normal.’ I encourage everyone to feel attraction to whoever they want, as long as they are in a safe environment and feel comfortable doing so. If you think you are gay, trust yourself! It’s not about what you’ve done, it’s about what you feel.”
Fenyo: Can you explain the differences between bisexuality, pansexuality and polysexuality to those who may be questioning how they identify?
Gruber: “Yes, I can! Polysexuality is an umbrella term, as well as a sexual identity, and it means attraction to two or more genders, which encompasses many sexualities that are neither homosexual or heterosexual. People that are polysexual as an identity are attracted to two or more (but sometimes not all) genders, and often consider gender as a factor in their attraction. An important thing to note is that contrary to popular belief, polysexuality isn’t the same thing as polyamory, when a person is romantically involved with multiple people at the same time.
Bisexuality is the attraction to both similar and different genders to oneself, hence the term ‘bisexual.’ While bisexuality was once considered the attraction to only two genders, bisexuals often do feel attraction to more than two genders, and don’t feel attached to this rigid definition of bisexuality. However, it’s up to each bisexual to determine how they interact with their label, and opinions on how bisexuality should be defined vary from person to person.
Pansexuality is the attraction to all genders, binary and non-binary. People who are pansexual often do not differentiate between genders when experiencing attraction to another person, and do not feel another person’s gender is a factor in this attraction. There are many overlaps between these polysexual identity orientations, so it is up to every individual person to decide which label best suits them, or if they even feel the need to choose one.”