The cat is already out of the bag on this subject, since I decided to come out on Twitter on National Coming Out Day, but I wanted to elaborate a little bit more on my blog since this is a really big deal for me.
I've always kind of questioned my identity, but never felt comfortable actually identifying as anything other than heterosexual -- despite my parallel discomfort with actually identifying as heterosexual. Part of that probably stems from other people questioning my identity, as well as my discomfort with other people stereotyping me. My tomboyish nature and my non-discussion of who I dated or wanted to sleep with has led to more than a few people speculating about my orientation in the past, including my own parents and more than one colleague. (Of course, they could have just asked me, but whatever.)
I'm lucky, in that since I was 18 or 19, I haven't felt closeted... I just seriously didn't know how best to identify myself, or didn't feel comfortable applying a specific label to myself because the last thing I would ever want to do is be appropriative. I've had numerous LGBTQ friends since I was 15, in fact, and have always prided myself on being an ally of the LGBTQ community, having been involved in political outreach, protests, charity events, and other social issues over the years.
I've also long held the attitude that if I met the right person, their own gender wouldn't matter to me. If I'm really honest with myself, that's an attitude I've had as long as I can remember.
So why put a label on it now? Labels shouldn't matter, but they still do. I'm in a safe enough place in my life, with friends, family, and my job, that I have the privilege of being able to come out. Not everyone can do that, and even if they can, they may have other reasons to not do so, which it's critical to respect. But I can come out, and I am willing to do it, so I feel I must because visibility matters. It matters not just to other LGBTQ folks, especially LGBTQ youth, but also to society.
If you're wondering why "queer" instead of bisexual or pansexual, well, it's just what feels right to me right now. Artist Erika Moen also has a great (and slightly NSFW) comic on the subject of why she identifies as queer, which really resonates with me for various reasons. You can check it out here.
And yup, I still have an amazing boyfriend who is my partner in crime. But loving him doesn't change who I am, and now that I've kind of figured this out about myself, it's really important that I'm honest about it.