SELF-DISCOVERY FOR ALL BI & PANSEXUAL INDIVIDUALS
I am a cisgender pansexual 34 year old entrepreneur, business owner, hairstylist, wife and mother. I am not only that, though, I am a daughter and a sister, a mentor and a student. I am growing every day.
Being a pansexual woman is often portrayed as “selfish”, or “indecisive”, and sadly you are sometimes not wholly accepted because of your sexuality. I’ve dated many women who would get uncomfortable by my male friends and vice versa. There’s a common misconception that bi and pansexual individuals want to date and / or sleep with EVERYONE which couldn’t be further from the truth. After dating women for a lengthy period of time then dating a man, all of my lesbian friends would claim “but you’re gay! you don’t really like men, do you?” It's like you’re constantly having to come out all over again and defend your identity.
When I came out to my family when I was 19, being from the Midwest, my father wasn’t very happy about it. He wouldn’t ever refer to my partner as my girlfriend, but only by “my friend”. He would never come to our apartment or ask how our relationship was going. It was honestly some of the hardest years in my life. Being young, gay and in love in 2006 where it wasn’t wildly accepted was hard enough without having the support of someone you admire so much. My youngest sister at the time, unbeknownst to me, starting questioning her own sexuality at the same time. Then she was only twelve and we were very, very close. My father found out about her experiences with other girls and would not allow her to spend time with my partner and I. My father told me that we were “glamorizing the gay lifestyle” and that my sister was far too young to understand what she wanted. Things got worse before they got better. I separated my relationship from my family life, they were two completely different lives that I was living in simultaneously.
In the spring of 2013, I met my husband. I told him while we were dating that I was queer and had past relationships with women. He was the most supportive man. He was married previously and has three beautiful children that live with us full time. Twins, Sirran & Rhys, who are twelve and Livia is eleven. They’ve met our friends who are members of the LGBTQIA community. They are fully accepting of our friends. We have raised our children to accept everyone for who they are and that each persons journey is their own and we are not here to judge.
Our daughter Sirran wrote us a letter yesterday. Her letter was a letter of self empowerment, bravery, and vulnerability. She told us that she is bisexual!! My husband and I hugged each other immediately, pulled her out of bed so that we could tell her how proud of her that we are. Her letter took courage. The kind of courage I wish I had when I was her age. It also reminded me that although my coming out was ideal, I overcame those challenges through my own journey. My father and I are stronger than ever. As the world around us is changing so has my fathers outlook. We had a very big heart to heart during his last visit to NYC in February. I told him how much he hurt me and he apologized. That chapter in our lives finally closed. We made amends and now we can be fully open with another about anything. He’s learned through my group of queer friends that people are people, regardless of their sexual orientation. Because of me, I was able to teach my father how to be compassionate to others who are not like ourselves. Because of me, I am honored that I am doing the same for my children. I was able to tell my daughter that I am also pansexual and have dated women. She hugged me tighter than ever before. It was incredible.
So... to answer your question, “what do you celebrate”? I celebrate strength, self discovery, acceptance, and all other bi & pansexuals individuals who are searching for all of those things. I know that they will find it someday. They will discover that love is truly love regardless of anyone outside who believes otherwise. That our love, who we choose to love, doesn’t need to be justified or defended. That we ARE part of the LQBTQIA community and though we may be in heterosexual relationships, we are still queer and proud. We DO belong without any explanation. I celebrate individuality.
Having this photo shoot with my daughter would mean the world to me. She may not share the same DNA as me but I know she is a part of me and I am a part of her. We share this experience which is more rewarding than I ever thought possible.