A few days back George Shelley of Union J and I’m a Celebrity fame posted a short video to YouTube talking about his sexuality. Strangely, I had actually planned to write this blog post before George’s announcement. In the video, George discusses how there has been much speculation surrounding his sexuality and that he wanted to clarify that he had had both girlfriends and boyfriends in the past. He went onto say that he does not need to label his sexuality, as for him labels are old fashioned. Of course, the media jumped on the story and announced that George had came out as ‘bisexual’ completely ignoring the point George was trying to make.
For me personally, George’s video is everything I had wanted to say in my original blog post. If you are not aware, I have been in a relationship with a girl for almost 7 years and we have been engaged for almost two years. Prior to this, I had had relationships with boys. (I say this very loosely as I was only 20 when I met my partner). I have been very lucky to grow up in a liberal accepting family and I have always been very vocal in my support for LBGT rights. Even as a teenager growing up in the early naughties when the idea of being gay was not as prevalent in society as it is now. I have never ever had a struggle internally with the fact I can like men or women. However, I have had a struggle externally with people trying to ‘label’ my sexuality.
A lot of people, even my family, assume I’m gay. The fact I have been with my partner for so long and my previous relationships were short lived I believe found this assumption. I have had a few acquaintances say ‘You’re gay now, aren’t you?’. I don’t get annoyed with this, they do not mean any harm. It is just frustrating that there has to be a label thrust upon me. A lot of bisexual people have talked about the struggle of ‘bi-erasure’ and I used to think this did not really exist (like the ignorant person I was before finding the glory of feminism). Even though I would not label myself bisexual, I still see it around me all the time. People still see in black and white; you’re either gay or straight. There is no in between.
However, sexuality is a fluid concept. It can mean different things to different people. Because of this, there are now numerous sexualities including but not limited to straight, bisexual, asexual, and pansexual. I find this quite hard to deal with. I understand why the sexuality and gender spectrum has increased over the years. It gives people a form of self identity. But I do not need a label. I am me. And I like who I like. Gender does not even come into the question. I like the person for their personality and the emotional connection we make. It is very rare that I ever feel anything for anyone purely on a physical/sexual level. And at this point, it does not even matter? I am in a committed relationship with a girl. Because I fell in love with her. It does not negate my past relationship. It does not mean I am ‘now’ gay. Likewise, If George falls in love with a girl, it does not change who he is. If George falls in love with a guy, it still does not change who he is.
I want to make it clear, I am not saying that people should not be labelled. Labels are very good and powerful and allow for more representation within the mainstream. Being able to call yourself gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual (the list goes on) is a fantastic thing. But allow a person to label themselves, do not do it for them. And do not assume if a person is in a relationship with another person of the same-sex that they are automatically categorised for life.
What do you think about labels and the fluidity of sexuality? Feel free to comment below to tell me your views, I would love to hear them 🙂