Before I start this post, let me make sure I’m being clear. I am straight, and I’m completely NOT saying that I face any type of stigma or harassment or anything else because of that. I don’t, and I hate that anyone faces anything like that because of their sexual orientation. I’m just using my personal experience to illustrate the point of this post, which is that each person’s sexual orientation is *theirs* to define.
Disclaimer out of the way…
Like I said, I’m straight. I identify as completely heterosexual, no same-sex attraction whatsoever. And I’ve been told more than once that I’m wrong about that.
Um… yeah. People who *aren’t* me tell me that I’m wrong about *my* sexuality.
“No one’s a hundred percent anything, so you can’t be a hundred percent straight.” “Sexuality is a spectrum, no one’s at either end, everyone’s somewhere in the middle.” “Oh, you just haven’t met a woman you’re attracted to yet, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t attracted to women.” (Yes, someone really said that last one to me.) People I’ve known who identify as homosexual, with no opposite-sex attraction at all, have told me they’ve heard the same type of thing.
It doesn’t matter how the person you’re talking to or about identifies. Gay, straight, bi, pan, ace, whatever. No matter what you *think*, you don’t have a right to tell someone else what their sexual orientation is. Yes, sexual orientation is a spectrum, as is gender identity, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t people who fall firmly at one end of the spectrum or the other. And if someone says that’s where they are… they get to say that, and that’s the end of it. Their sexual orientation. They choose how they identify.
It can be pretty offensive to be told you don’t know your own sexual orientation, regardless of what it might be. If you wouldn’t want someone telling you that you’re wrong about how you identify, don’t tell them they’re wrong.