I have always questioned my own sexuality and yeah I know, I’m not special because everybody does that. But hey I thought I was straight for like all of high school until now. I figured I’d graduate without anything really changing all that much. That seems to be a trend though, thinking that I have it all figured out and then whoopdeedoo I learn and change again.
In retrospect, it’s probably more accurate to say that I had been questioning, even if I didn’t realize it. I’ve had crushes on both guys and girls, although I always excused the latter as being a “girl crush” or that I “really, really wanted to be her friend.” I admired girls in a totally “platonic” way.
Cue the eyeroll, please.
Yeah right. Wanting to be with her 24/7, hold her hand, and maybe possibly date “if I were a guy” is definitely platonic. Not.
As someone of Asian descent, I have always understood the importance of cultural representation in novels. I never saw books as a way of affirming self-acceptance as a Chinese woman; I was brought up in a very nurturing, open environment. Thankfully, I was never ashamed of or shamed for my race. In that way, I guess I always saw culturally diverse books as something that is necessary, but not 100% necessary for me. I love reading them, yes, but I didn’t get any type of personal gratification because well. I didn’t really NEED that affirmation from books because I already had it from my family and friends.
But hey, sexuality is a completely different ball park, isn’t it? For me, my culture is something that is rooted in more than just myself, but in the people I grew up with. Sexuality on the other hand? Well, it is probably one of the few things in my life that I really really had to figure out myself without too many clues from others.
So yeah, this time around, books were so so so important to helping me figure out my sexuality. Knowing that there was a plethora of novels that depicted people going through the same dilemma that I did helped the process a lot. While I didn’t get to read all of these books because ohmygosh high school is a busy time my dudes and February and March are, without a doubt the busiest months of the school year, knowing that they existed and had realistic, positive depictions of queer characters was great. Never have I been more grateful for authors that are willing to write about minority groups.
- Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden
- Coda by Emma Trevayne
- Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
- Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
- Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson
None of these books will perfectly represent every person’s situation. But what I think is so important about them is that the themes, while common, are portrayed differently in each book. Annie On My Mind focused simply on exploration and love between two girls, while Autoboyography was more about accepting other LGBTQ individuals’ current relationships with their sexuality. For me, these two novels were important to helping me sort through my thoughts and normalize everything. Because well, after living for 18 years thinking I was straight, realizing that I’m… not made for a pretty jarring realization.
So uh I guess the real question now is… what exactly am I? Well, this post has been in the works for over two months and it looks almost nothing like what it did when I first began drafting it. And it has to do with the fact that I struggled to find a label that accurately fit me. Books helped me experiment a lot.
(and yes I know labels are so fucking overrated but hell, they exist to simply stuff and it helps to categorize for me)
This post began with me identifying as solely bisexual (and yeah I am). But it never ever went up and I could never finish it because it just didn’t feel right. It felt almost too exclusive (even though it’s not), too concrete considering that I have yet to really experience any romantic relationships (#foreveraloneclub). I much prefer the label, Queer, even though a lot of people use it interchangeably with other identities. I just. Don’t like labels. So I pick the label that is the least defined because sexuality is so damn fluid that I prefer saying I’m Queer over saying that I’m bi. And is this likely to change? Probably, but that’s just human nature.
But also, this 100% feels like a “hey I’m coming out post” but I definitely did not intend for it to be that way. I just don’t think that it’s necessary to come out unless my choices affect other people (and in this case, my lack of love life ensures that it really doesn’t) and well my fam will figure it out eventually. I just really wanted to write about the differences in how books helped me through accepting my cultural upbringing versus my sexuality because I thought it was interesting.
yagirl is out!