Because attraction isn’t something we truly control.
We, as in all the out queers in the world, have heard it. “Oh there was this girl in my college dorms that I seriously thought about trying stuff with, but don’t get me wrong I’m not a lesbian or bi,” or “There was one time when I was really drunk that I made out with a dude, but it was just the alcohol, I’m not gay.”
I hear it all the time. So often so that I have a pretty generic response for when they devalue my sexuality and turn it into nothing more than a drunken night of experimenting, or something that girls do in college because why have a boyfriend when you can just have fun with a girlfriend right? That’s what it feels like they are doing when I come out to them and they respond with stories of experimenting when they were also experimenting with drugs, and they make sure to tell me drugs were involved because you obviously need to be hich to have sex with someone of the same sex *eye roll*.
“Considering how fluid sexuality can be, I am not surprised you have found yourself attracted to someone of the same sex at some point in your life. It’s like telling someone to spend their whole life in this house with generic curtains and furniture, and while they may be happy, they will always wonder what the house next door is like when you see them living a less generic life. In short, being curious is really normal and to be expected to some degree. And your night of experimenting somewhat compares to me experimenting with blonde hair. It was fun at first but just wasn’t who I am or really fit me. But, this purple hair, that is much more fitting. I will continue to change my hair color and find the one that fits me. However, at least now I know that blonde isn’t me.”
If they aren’t speechless, they usually begin saying that their night of experimenting meant more than changing my hair color because they found out for sure they were straight. Or they begin fighting saying that you are born with your sexuality therefore it can’t be fluid.
Here’s the thing, we truly don’t control who we are attracted to. That’s the truth and I agree there.
But, if we don’t control who we are attracted to, therefore we do not control what our sexuality may be, but we find ourselves rarely attracted to people of a gender that we usually don’t, we can say that sexuality is fluid. Because we are attracted to people we usually aren’t, therefore briefly your sexuality has changed.
I know, it can be a hard concept to accept.
Usually, I think of sexual identity as more of a “this is what I am usually attracted to” rather than a “I am never ever attracted to _______.” It’s definition is more of a guidelines than a permanent thing. Someone who is gay may be attracted more to people of the same sex, and may be more attracted to people of the same sex in a romantic way, but every now and then come across someone of the opposite sex they are attracted to.
That’s not anything like noticing someone is aesthetically pleasing. Majorly different. I know that cats are cute, but that doesn’t mean I want to have sex with them. It is common to see people are cute.
But the moment it’s a little more than thinking someone is cute, and you are getting more turned on (shocker I am talking about sexual attraction and use terms like turned on) by the person, it doesn’t necessarily make you gay or bi. Not that you shouldn’t pursue a relationship if you want to.
It’s more about the fact that no one can define your sexuality for you.
Personally, I identify as panromantic because I find myself often attracted to people of multiple genders. But, I have a friend whom is a girl and dated a girl for a year. She identifies as straight because she has never been attracted to any other girls in her life, other than her ex girlfriend.
Do I, as a queer person, try to make her identity as queer because of her past relationship with a girl? No. Because I understand that attraction is simply attraction and the title of how you define who you are attracted to does not actually determine your attraction.
Sexuality is fluid because attraction is.
However, that doesn’t mean that people’s identities are not valid. They are. It is important to that person and how they want to label themselves. It just means that sexuality isn’t a black and white topic, there are a lot of gray areas. And those shades of gray vary.