Queer Imposter Syndrome

“The actual imposters will never feel imposter syndrome.”

I’ve never heard of this before, and reading it felt so validating. I’ve been saying I’m bisexual ever since I started going to a women’s college fifteen years ago. I thought that maybe it was because I was exploring, but no, I was definitely attracted to certain women at my school or at neighboring colleges. I grew up in a house with a mom who had a gay best friend and a dad who wasn’t comfortable with that ‘stuff’. I know he would’ve supported me no matter what, but there was this fear of disappointing him and fears from my adoption trauma that kept telling me he’d reject me if I came out to him. So I forced my own mind to believe it was wrong for me. Not for anyone else. How could I help that? He told me that my trans friend wasn’t allowed to come over if “he” (she) was going to dress like a woman. I was scared to be myself, but I didn’t know this back then.

So when I went to a women’s college where so many people were openly queer, it was amazing. Refreshing. Informative. I was able to be ME, there. So I let loose. I’ve never had a girlfriend but I’ve had many crushes on many cis women (why I called myself bi as opposed to pan) throughout these fifteen years. I was able to act on two of those crushes but only briefly. Kissing was as far as I got with one, hand holding with the other – neither wanted a relationship with me. And then I fell into relationships with guys, one right after the other. Mike. Matt. TJ. Gerard. Kevin. With no breaks in between any of them that lasted longer than a few weeks.

Last year, I did a lot of soul searching and inner work. I discovered a lot about myself that changed my life in the best ways possible. But, I’ve noticed that I’m much more selective with women. I don’t think that’s the best word, actually – I’m attracted to men much more often than I am to women, and that’s only physically (not necessarily sexually). Romantically, however, is another story entirely. Someone I met almost 2 years ago, who has become a sister to me, explained demisexual and demiromantic to me last year and then everything clicked.

I was afraid that I was attracted to the idea of being bi while actually being straight. I was afraid that I was wrong about myself and walking around lying. To everyone and to myself. She quelled that fear. I’ve been worried about this on and off during the past year, even after realizing in January that I’m actually pan, not bi. Much more recently, I’ve been wondering if it’s possible to only be romantically attracted to women and not sexually, and also wondering if that’s just a fantasy.

But it’s not. It’s real. Sexual and romantic orientations are complex and vast, as is gender. There are so many, and while some people don’t like labels, I need them. Labels help me. So, on that note, I’m pan. I believe the full term for me personally would be panromantic but it could also be pansexual. I identify as polyamorous, which was a huge and scary realization when it struck me because I was afraid of not being accepted, but my husband is the most wonderful person in the world and helped me realize that it’s okay to identify this way. I am monogamous in my marriage, and the happiest I’ve ever been. I don’t long for anything else. I fall somewhere on the demi spectrum. I am physically attracted to men more often than women, but it does happen with women sometimes. I believe I am demisexual with women; I haven’t gotten close enough to a woman to form a romantic bond so I wouldn’t know if I’d be sexually attracted to them, but I have had several hardcore crushes.

I am not an imposter. I struggle with this every day, and anxiety thought spirals that accompany it. I am not an imposter. I am just me, and no one can invalidate that.


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