By: Carol Rood
I have always been a bit different. Even in High School I didn’t have a group I “clicked” with. I had a different set of friends every year. I had lots of boyfriends during high school. If I didn’t have a boyfriend, I was looking for a boyfriend. I have always felt better when I am in a relationship with someone.
It never mattered to me if they had blonde hair, or brown hair, curly hair or straight hair. I didn’t care f they were Jewish or Christian, or Muslim. I also didn’t care if they were black or white or asian, or something else entirely. I was raised by parents who were not prejudiced. As a person who has experienced prejudice firsthand (people calling me names and throwing pennies at me because I am Jewish), I was open to being friends with anyone, regardless of their gender, religious affiliation or sexual orientation.
I graduated high school in January of my senior year and joined the Navy. I knew I didn’t want to go to college after graduation, and I also knew I needed a skill, so off to the Navy I went.
However before leaving for boot camp, I decided that I didn’t have enough freedom living with my parents and I moved out of my parents’ house and moved in with a friend who worked at the same grocery store I worked at.
During that time I wasn’t dating anyone, and a woman at the grocery store began pursuing me and wanted to date me. Strangely enough, this wasn’t a problem for me. It didn’t seem weird or different or unusual to me. Although that would be the norm for 2012, this was 1983, and things were different then. I had never met anyone who wasn’t heterosexual that I can remember, and although her being a lesbian was foreign to what I had experienced growing up, it didn’t bother me, or seem “weird”. We dated for a few months until I went to Boot Camp, and sadly while I was there she sent me a “Dear Jane” letter and broke my heart.
After graduating boot camp I went on to hospital corpsman school in Chicago, and dated young men while I was there. After graduating, I went to electroencephalogram technician (EEG Tech) school in Bethesda Maryland. It just so happened one of my classmates was a gay male (who later sadly died of AIDS), another was a lesbian, and another a bisexual girl. Thinking about it now, that is a high percentage of non heterosexually oriented people, since there were only 9 of us in the class. For 1/3 of us to be other than heterosexual is interesting. The other two women (the lesbian and bisexual woman) and I were the only women in the class, so we hung out together. We went to gay bars in DC, and I began dating women I met there, as well as men I met on base. I didn’t really have one exclusive relationship. I dated. I dated both men and women, although since I was in the military I had to keep the fact that I was dating women a secret.
When I graduated EEG Tech school I was stationed at Great Lakes Naval Hospital, and had relationships with women exclusively for about three years. During that time I met a really nice guy and started seeing him, and then had relationships exclusively with men for many, many years.
I met the man who is the father of my children during this time period, and was honest with him about my past relationships. He didn’t mind, and we were married for 8 years. For reasons that are a story for another time, the marriage ended, and a year later I started seeing my Lovely Bluebell.
We have been together for almost 8 years, and I am very happy, and satisfied in my relationship.
My reason for these thoughts is that a few days ago I was asked to speak on a GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer) panel, and was thinking about my sexual orientation. I happened to be sitting with some of the amazing people at my church and we were talking about my involvement in the panel. I was sharing about the fact that I don’t really feel comfortable with any of the “titles” for sexual orientation I knew about. I wasn’t really a lesbian, or heterosexual, and I never really felt comfortable calling myself a bisexual, (although I don’t know why, it just never felt like it was the right fit).
One of the people in the group (who happens to be a lesbian who just came out last month) said to me, “Oh, it sounds like you are Pan-sexual.”
I was like, wait, what??
I had my laptop with me, so I googled it.
That fit! Here are some of the definitions I found:
From the Urban Dictionary:
“One who can love sexuality in many forms. Like bisexuality, but even more fluid, a pansexual person can love not only the traditional male and female genders, but also transgendered, androgynous, and gender fluid people.”
And from Wikipedia:
“Pansexuality, also referred to as omnisexuality, refers to the potential for sexual attraction, sexual desire, romantic love, or emotional attraction towards persons of all gender identities and biological sexes. Self-identified pansexuals may refer to themselves as gender-blind —that gender and sex are insignificant or irrelevant in determining whether they will be sexually attracted to others. The Oxford English Dictionary writes that pansexuality is defined as “not limited or inhibited in sexual choice with regards to gender or activity.”
The concept of pansexuality deliberately rejects the gender binary, the “notion of two genders and indeed of specific sexual orientations”, as pansexual people are open to relationships with people who do not identify as strictly men or women. Pansexuality can also mean the attraction to a person’s personality, rather than their physical appearance or gender.”
I have been attracted to men, women, women who look like men, men who look like women, androgynous people, Asian, Caucasian, African American, all genders and ethnicities. I may have been attracted to Transgendered, transsexual, people and just not have known it. I am attracted to all kinds of people, and I plan on being with Lovely Bluebell forever, but I have learned the hard way that life doesn’t always work out the way I planned. If Lovely Bluebell and I were to ever decide to end our relationship, I don’t know what kind of person I may be in a relationship with.
So from now on if I am asked what I consider my sexual orientation to be, I will say, “I am an Omnisexual.”
That might start some interesting conversations….