Amma, it has been sometime since I began questioning my sexuality. Despite being open to non-heterosexual relationships, I do not feel comfortable attaching a label to myself. What do I do about it?
Oh, my dear Idli! Your Amma understands the dilemma you are in. We are all brought up in such a heteronormative and monogamous society that most of us are conditioned to think about our sexuality in a certain way. When we get out of institutions such as schools (yes, darling, school was not too fond of your Amma’s thoughts and questions either), we tend to feel more free and liberated, and people tend to feel comfortable exploring their sexuality.
Labels may be empowering for some people, but of course they do not work for everybody. We are all humans, naa? We are all different. We cannot always fit into boxes and categories. I know that the labels available to define sexuality are very accommodating and fluid. But the very act of choosing a label for yourself and having to stick to it may be very disconcerting for many. Sexualities are not static. Your understanding of your sexuality can change over time, and claiming a label should not have to be a lifelong commitment.
Your sexual orientation is indeed a part of your identity. But your identity does not need to be defined. University spaces tend to be free, yet they are not entirely devoid of queerphobia. Labelling yourself is a brave act. Choosing not to label yourself is brave as well. None the less, labelling is a choice, my dear. There is no one way to be queer. I once had a child of about your age tell me, “Being queer is just choosing to go beyond the norm”. You may be conscious of it and want to find a label that best describes you in order to associate yourself with a community of people. Or you may want to not call yourself anything and still consciously associate yourself with a community.
Amma needs you to take care of yourself and be kind to yourself. Think about what you like and are comfortable with. I hope you prioritise yourself. I am happy that my dear idli came to me to express their concern. Asking for help is brave, darling. Amma is always one question away from you!