IN THE MAR­GINS

GA Voice - - Outspoken - By Ash­leigh Atwell

ty dang sexy.

That leaves me con­sid­er­ing and re­con­sid­er­ing how I see my­self. I am com­fort­able say­ing that I am over­whelm­ingly at­tracted to women, re­gard­less if they are cis­gen­der or trans­gen­der. I love ev­ery­thing about them even when they drive me up a wall and back down again. If I have to quan­tify it, I’d say my at­trac­tion to women is some­where around 90 per­cent, 9 per­cent would be for my non-bi­nary baes and that 1 per­cent would be for Ma­her­shala Ali, Tre­vante Rhodes and the oc­ca­sional in­stance I find cis­gen­der men at­trac­tive. Some peo­ple would call me bi­sex­ual and oth­ers might sug­gest pan­sex­ual, but I don’t feel com­fort­able us­ing ei­ther la­bel. I ac­knowl­edge that it might be some in­ter­nal­ized bi­pho­bia that I need to work out, but even then, it just doesn’t feel right.

I’ve pri­mar­ily iden­ti­fied as queer for a while now and I’m be­gin­ning to feel un­com­fort­able with that la­bel too. Queer is sup­posed to be en­com­pass­ing and fluid but there are times where I feel like it’s suf­fo­cat­ing me. The LGBTQ com­mu­nity has al­ways had an is­sue with beauty stan­dards, and queer used to be the la­bel that was above that, but now I’m not so sure. There are times where I feel stuck be­tween two com­mu­ni­ties, the main­stream LGBT and the al­ter­na­tive queers. Some­times, I feel like I’m not queer enough be­cause I don’t have pink hair, a sep­tum ring or the right type of “cre­ative.” Then, I’ll go into a main­stream space and feel like I’m too loud and too rad­i­cal.

I’m at the point where I’m ready to re­ject la­bels be­cause it’s too com­pli­cated and fraught with im­pos­si­ble stan­dards. It’s ex­haust­ing. I hope we get to a point where peo­ple don’t have to work so hard to con­vey who they are and what they like.

As of now, the la­bel that fits me best is Ash­leigh.

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