Ask Tré: On Sexuality

By TRÉ STEPHENS

Dear Tré,

How do I deal with the fact that everything has to have a label? Sexuality is fluid but I feel pressured to “decide” what I am.

-Anonymous

Dear Reader,

Thank you for your submission! I want to address what you said about sexuality. You said “sexuality is fluid, but I feel pressured to ‘decide’ what I am.” When it comes to sexuality, I like to think of it as a coloring page. People say there is a right and wrong way to color a page, but I beg to differ. Some may color in the lines, out of the lines, some may not color the page at all, or may not use the “appropriate” colors when creating their masterpiece. What matters is that you know that you are content and proud of what you created. It’s the same with sexuality. You are in control of how you define your sexuality. Nothing and nobody can change the way you feel, and there isn’t one way in particular that you should present your sexuality. So, you are correct. Sexuality is fluid and you shouldn’t feel pressured at all when it comes trying to figure out what the appropriate identity tag is for you.

I’d like to address your original question by sharing some of my own story in hopes that it will help you in some way. When I first came to Middlebury, there were many people who thought I was just gay. Even I thought I was gay. But as I have grown, I just haven’t found that to be true anymore. I have claimed to be gay, bisexual, pansexual and even demisexual. What I found out though, is that maybe, just maybe, I’m just sexual. Why should I have to place a label on myself just to fit into a certain group? Everytime I thought I found the right label for myself, I would just start questioning all the contradictions I had with my newly found sexuality. I mean even my friends joke around and question what I am, and while I argue with them every now and again about it, I also just tell them to mind their own business because it shouldn’t matter to them. I’ve learned that even friends need to be put in their place from time to time. I have accepted that people have labels and that labels are something that will be around for a while. But, don’t expect me to label myself because I don’t find it necessary to have one. Just like I accept that there are labels out there, the world will have to accept that labels don’t work for me.

Over many years, we have been trying to find ways to label ourselves for two purposes: to find people with common identities and to single out anyone who is different from us. I use the word “us” because we all do it in some way, shape, or form. Labels have been around for a long time and I don’t think we are in the age, yet, where labels don’t matter. In terms of finding a label for your sexuality, if you feel like you don’t need one then you probably don’t. You shouldn’t feel pressured to label yourself as anything if you don’t want.

My advice to you and to the rest of readers who may have the same question is that it doesn’t matter how you identify as long as you continue to walk in YOUR truth. It is no one’s business what you do in YOUR personal life. If you feel pressured by anyone to box yourself into a label, tell them that it’s not their decision and if those people can’t accept that, then just tell them that this is not up for debate as it isn’t even about them. Walk in YOUR truth and look fabulous while doing so.

I hope this advice serves you well, and if you ever want to ask more questions you can always submit questions to go/asktre/ or find me on Facebook at Tré Stephens. Thanks for reading and check next week’s edition of Ask Tré. 

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Ask Tré: On Sexuality