h2>Dating : What Pride Offers Those Still ‘Figuring Out’ Sexuality
For decades I’ve associated Pride celebrations with rainbows, glitter and parades. It’s been smiling same sex couples, exuberant public de-closetings, and remembrances of the struggle that’s come before. It’s been a time for those who have identified their sexual orientation to claim and proclaim it proudly and take their place as a part of a community.
Which is to say, I’ve never believed Pride has had anything to do with those of us who haven’t yet figured out our sexuality.
As a thirty-five-year-old Midwestern-raised single mother who has never been in a romantic relationship, I feel markedly category-less in this realm. Without an innately clear sexual compass, I’ve spent the better part of the past five years thinking and overthinking what that means for my ability to identify and claim a particular orientation (and, by extension, a happy partnership). I’ve envied those who seem so sure of where they land on the matrix of modern sexual spectrums, able to point to the exact cross-referenced label that defines their experience. It was for these people, I believed, that Pride existed, not those of us still floundering.
This month, however, as I references to Pride buzz about, I find myself feeling overwhelmingly grateful. I recognize that the sheer fact that I am able to be in the self-inquiry of who and how I love is no small miracle. The state of being un-defined, confused and seeking is a luxury afforded by those who came before and did know exactly who they were in love, didn’t see their experience represented, and were determined to claim their experience anyway. The work done by those individuals who dared to break camp to set up a new beachhead is what allows us to now sit in introspective consideration of which label to claim for ourselves, and the freedom to change that label tomorrow if we so choose.
So, I’m celebrating this Pride month by saying thank you to everyone out there celebrating. Thank you for the freedom you’ve given to those of us identified simply as “TBD”.
Kristen Ruth Smith is the author of The Overthinker’s Guide to Love: A Story of Real-Life Experiments Turned Practical Wisdom and creator of the Curious Love serial podcast.