I have never had a girlfriend. Seeing as my partner is a cis-man, and I love him, it’s unlikely that I will ever have a girlfriend. But even so, it’s important for me that I am bisexual. Last year, a friend of mine asked – with my permission and with good intent – why that was so. And I’ve been trying to figure a satisfying answer to that question ever since then.

I had my first crush on a girl when I was around 8 or 9. Of course, I didn’t realize that it was a crush until I was in Clarion, writing my week 2 story. I hadn’t thought of that girl since we went to separate classes in middle school. But suddenly she was there in just as vivid living color as all the other crushes I had when I was young. For so long, I didn’t think of that as a crush, because back then, I didn’t even realize that girls could have crushes on girls. It took me almost a decade to understand that was even a thing, and even then, because I had always had crushes on guys as well, I didn’t realize that it applied to me as well. Surely EVERYONE thinks about how kissable Angelina Jolie’s lips are?

A while ago, my partner and I were talking about Madonna videos. I don’t remember the context or even what started it. I do remember my partner’s confusion when I referred to the above video as “the one where Madonna owns a factory” *silence* “You know! The one where she dances in a suit! In a factory!” Friends. That dance sequence is like 15 seconds of the entire video, if that. This video, full of purposely gorgeous, wet men dancing for most of the video, and that 15 seconds seared into my teenage mind to the extent that I could probably still describe the entire dance she does. I don’t think I ever wanted to be Madonna. But I could see myself being one of the men who wanted her. But surely everyone thinks of Madonna that way?

The first time I remember someone suggesting that I might be queer was when I was 18 or 19. I was watching Matrix with my then-boyfriend and talking about how, if I were gay, I would absolutely want Switch. He responded, jokingly, with something along the lines of “if I were queer, and since I somewhat am”. We laughed it off, but that moment stuck with me. That was the first time anyone ever pushed back on the idea that these were thoughts that everyone had. It took me like a decade longer to actually understand that I was, indeed, queer.

I think the best answer I can provide to that question is that it explains so much of my life. From the point of view of an outsider or even society as a whole, I may as well be a straight woman. But the fact that there is a word like bisexual to explain the fact that I exist makes my whole life make sense in a way it didn’t before I knew it was a thing. And it has been important to me.

So happy pride, to one and all.