Am I a lesbian if I like men and women?
When it comes to sexuality, it can be difficult to determine who you are. If you like men and women, pinpointing your identity can seem even more confusing – but it doesn’t have to be.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret – you can be whatever the heck you want to be.
When it comes to identity, we tend to overlook this. We get so caught up in the pressures placed on us by society that we forget that our identity is self-imposed. Say it with me: “Only you can define yourself.”
That being said, it’s okay to feel confused by all the labels out there. When it comes to sexuality, there are dozens of different “categories” that you can slot yourself into, and figuring out which one you fit into best is no easy feat.
If you like men and women, it opens up a lot more space for confusion. By definition, you’re straight if you like men, and you’re a lesbian if you like women – but what if you fall somewhere else on the spectrum? It’s important to remember that there’s no rulebook, and that means you can’t get it wrong. Stop overthinking it, and choose a label that resonates with you. If calling yourself a lesbian feels right, go with it. You might also identify more with the term bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, or queer. You can also refer to yourself as sexually explorative, a dyke, or a unicorn. Maybe labels aren’t your thing, and that’s okay too! At the end of the day, the name – or lack thereof – doesn’t really matter as much as the person beneath it.
When I first started dating Faith, I identified as bisexual. I’d always been attracted to men, so switching gears completely just because I had feelings for a woman felt a little too fast and furious for me. But gradually, I started referring to myself as a lesbian – both out loud and in my head. As time wore on and I started to feel more committed to Faith, I also started to feel less attached to a label that implied I had feelings toward the opposite sex. My identity grew as I grew, and that’s the way identity should be – fluid. It needs to fit you depending on what stage you’re at in your life.
There’s this assumption that once you choose a label, there’s no room for movement. But if you have the freedom to switch up your hairstyle, your wardrobe and your living situation whenever you want, why shouldn’t you be allowed to switch up your identity? This notion that your identity is fixed is part of the reason why so many people struggle to find themselves, and it needs to be broken. We need to accept the fact that the only constant in this world is change, and that the labels we attach to ourselves need to bend and stretch to adhere to our ever-changing selves.
Now go be you, whoever that may be! Postpone the chore of putting a name to your sexuality, and focus instead on exploring and developing it. Figure out who you really are underneath all the labels and learn to love that person unconditionally. After all, she’s pretty amazing!