10.11.17

10.11.17 Original photo: Photo by Peter Hershey on Unsplash

I had completely forgotten about this post until I found this in my drafts a couple days ago. I was waiting to try to figure out the point of this post, but I still have no point, so here you go. Enjoy.


A couple days ago, it was National Coming Out Day. Now, I had nothing prepared for this day, mostly because I’m never aware of these things until they’re actually happening (someone find me a calendar with every holiday/celebration ever pronto, please). But, here’s a story that kind of ties into my queerness and coming out. Here you go.


10.11.17

Wednesday was a lovely, albeit stress-filled day. The majority of it was taken up with me panic-writing an essay due later that night (don’t worry, it got finished on time).

That afternoon, the brand-new, fancy-schmancy LGBTQ Resource Center opened on campus. So, with the rest of my Women’s Resource Center crew, I went to the grand opening.

Nothing particularly exciting happened at the opening. It’s a nice space with a lovely new-carpet smell. After everyone walked through and we were sitting on the curb eating green chile stew, a news crew came up and asked to interview someone. As the resident journalist major, it is my duty to say yes and get interviewed, so off I went and got interviewed. The interview was fairly unremarkable. I talked about the new space and how important it is, especially as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. The interviewer almost forgot to turn on my microphone. Rookie mistake. I went back to my friends and finished my food and left.

Now, at this point, you may be wondering “Sarah, why did you just tell us this extremely boring story?”

As I was driving home, I realized just how far I’ve come. That interview could’ve ended up on the news (it didn’t, unfortunately), and the entire city, more or less, could’ve known about my queerness. Even a year ago I could not imagine talking with people IRL about my sexuality, much less identifying as queer on the evening news.

In the past few months, I’ve really come into my own. From laughing nervously every time someone says to “make sure you’re straight” (often in reference to using equipment at the gym) to doing an entire presentation in-class on bisexuality, I have finally begun to own a part of myself that has been stuffed in a closet for 18 years of my life. And it feels incredible.

Why I Identify As Bi, Not Pan

why i id as bi not pan

Today I’m going to answer a question that came up last week when I was writing about why pan isn’t better than bi: why I identify as bi, and not pan. This question is closely tied to my previous post. I felt very uncomfortable and a lot of weird shame when I first started identifying as bisexual because of the whole argument about why pansexual is better. So, I wanted to discuss my label-finding process, if you will, a bit to hopefully shed some light on bisexuality and my own coming-out story.

Just a disclaimer, before I begin. This is not an argument about why being bi is better than pan. This is my own personal story. About me. You are different from me, so your labels are going to be different and your story is going to be different. That’s great. My purpose with this is to talk about me, both because I’ve never really talked about my coming-out publicly and to possibly help someone dealing with similar issues.


*flashback time*

via GIPHY

Let’s go back to February 2016, when little 18-year-old Sarah suddenly realized that she wasn’t just attracted to boys. (The experiences leading up to this point requires another blog post. Let me know if you want to see that!) At this point, I was faced with a scary decision: trying to find a label.

Now, I often compare labels to floaties in a pool. Some people like hanging out on the floaties, and other people like just hanging out in the water (or not having a label). I tried swimming in the pool and absolutely hated it. I felt like I was drowning. So, I decided I needed to find a floatie (or a label).

I began to do some research on the most reliable source of all – Tumblr. Honestly, Tumblr is great when it comes to trying to find labels. Another resource I’d recommend in Ash Hardell’s book The ABCs of LGBT+. I wish I had that book during this time of my life.

narrowing the search

Anyway, I narrowed my search down to two labels: bisexual and pansexual. Now, at this point, I defined bisexuality as an attraction to both men and women, and pansexuality as an attraction to all genders. I knew that I was definitely attracted to men and women, but I wasn’t too positive about non-binary genders. I figured that theoretically, I would be attracted to anyone one, no matter their gender. In that case, I felt that I almost needed to identify as pan.

But, it just didn’t fit. It’s very hard for me to explain, so I’m going to use another metaphor! Sweaters. Pansexuality is that sweater that looks amazing on the hanger, but when you try it on, it’s kind of scratchy and doesn’t fit right. Bisexuality, however, is the soft, cuddly sweater that you never want to take off.

via GIPHY

*ding, ding, ding*, bisexuality won!

So, I decided to identify as bi. But, I was still uncomfortable with the binary definition of the label. It just didn’t work for me. It was like I was wearing the soft, cuddly sweater in the middle of summer sweating my ass off. I felt weirdly shameful of being bi. That is, until I discovered that bisexuality didn’t necessarily need to mean men and women. I can’t remember exactly how I figured out that bisexuality didn’t have to mean binary. Let’s be real, it was probably on Twitter. Bisexuality could mean men, women and agender people. It could mean all genders. This was a revelation to me. I finally had a word with a description to match how I felt!

Nowadays, I like to use a definition of bisexuality as an attraction to people of a similar gender and of a dissimilar gender. And this definition really works for me.


So, moral of the story, kids: you define your label, your label doesn’t define you. Go forth and conquer (your labels)!

I would love to read your comments down below or over on Twitter.

PS – Please appreciate my first attempt at Photoshop on the featured image of this post. I tried.

Pan Isn’t Better Than Bi

pan isn't better than bi original from https://www.emaze.com/@ALICFOZI/Social-Injustice

*this is a response to/lowkey reiteration of Ash’s vid. you should watch it. it’s very good*

Today we’re jumping down the queer rabbit hole again to talk about a topic near and dear to my heart: bisexuality. More specifically, bisexuality in conversation with pansexuality, and how there is a weird idea that pansexuality is somehow better than bisexuality because it “encompasses all genders, not just two.”

Bi vs. Pan

First, let’s talk about the “standard” definitions for bi and pan. In my view, there should be no standard definition because each person experiences their sexuality in a different way. But in order to understand where the problem is, you need to understand the usual definitions that people apply to these words. Bisexuality is often seen (I would argue by people not a part of the bi community) as an attraction to both men and women. Pansexuality, on the other hand, is an attraction to all genders.

Bi Isn’t Binary (Unless You Want It To Be)

However, the idea that bisexuality is binary is bullshit. Almost all of the bisexual people that I know (i.e. follow on the internet) use a much more progressive definition of bisexuality. ¬†I even know of some non-binary people who identify as bisexual. Personally, I like to define my bisexuality as an attraction to people of similar genders as myself, and dissimilar genders as myself. This is quite close to Ash’s definition of an attraction to your own gender and other genders.

So, really, bisexuality can exist however you want it to. Maybe that means being attracted to only men and women. Maybe that means being attracted to all genders. Either way, people need to stop policing other people’s labels. It’s not nice. And very annoying. So please stop. Just let people choose whatever label they want, and recognize that your definition of bisexuality (or pansexuality, or any sexuality for that matter) may not be their definition.


I’m curious to know what you think about this topic. Let me know down in the ¬†comments or over on Twitter!