PUTTING THE Q IN LGBTQ+
By Diana Award Programme Facilitator (Youth Development), Megan Hockley
The process of questioning is something that so many of us experience in our lifetimes, yet we don’t really hear people talking about it. Questioning is such a valid identity, and we will be exploring what it is and what it means.
16 June 2022
Questioning. Something which we all do daily. What’s for dinner tonight? What bus should I take to school? What am I going to wear tomorrow? But what do we do when we face the questions: WHAT IS MY SEXUALITY? WHAT IS MY GENDER? AM I A VALID MEMBER OF THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY IF I AM… questioning?
What it means to be questioning
Questioning describes people who are unsure or exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity. This process of figuring out who you really are can be exhilarating, but it can also be a daunting time that may surface feelings of anxiety or insecurity.
It is okay not to have a label to describe your identity or sexual orientation, but it can be challenging not having a word to tell others who you are. We have words for everything! Yet, when it comes to labelling yourself, it can seem an impossible task, especially when everyone else around you appears to have it all figured out, right? Where do I fit if I’m not gay, not straight, not bisexual or pansexual?
Questioning. Is this a label? Yes.
Will people understand me? Not necessarily.
Will people ask me lots of questions if I tell them? Maybe.
Using ‘questioning’ as your label is perfectly valid, but it is also completely okay to use no labels at all. Everybody is different and can choose how they would like to identify. There will be people that understand what you’re going through, and champion the fact that you’re exploring who you are, and there will be others who don’t get it, and that’s okay. They don’t have to understand, they just have to accept, and listen. And if they don’t do either of these things, educate them until they do.
People are naturally curious; therefore they may ask questions when you first tell them you’re questioning. Only answer them if you feel comfortable; setting boundaries is key. You may wish to answer your friend’s questions but not your family’s, or vice versa. Whatever you choose, it’s the right decision.
Labels, no labels, or somewhere in between, celebrate everyone! Source: https://www.pexels.com/search/no%20labels/
Am I valid?
Questioning is something which many people go through when discovering who they are. It is a completely normal process. Sadly, there is a large emphasis on making a decision, with societal pressure making us feel the need to label ourselves as quickly as possible. This can make us question our validity as a ‘Q’ in LGBTQ+, but it is just as valid as every other letter!
Many fail to appreciate the process of discovering who you are, but it is important to take your time with it, it doesn’t matter if it takes days, years or you’re forever questioning! You may come to a decision very quickly, or even change your mind countless times. You may come out more than once to your loved ones as you gain new knowledge and gain a deeper understanding of yourself, and the wonderful world of the LGBTQ+ community.
Am I the only one?
Definitely not! So many people go through the process of questioning their identity and sexual orientation, and some even discover that they are straight or cisgender all along. You are surrounded by people who have been questioning, or still are, but a lot of people just don’t seem to talk about it. Opening up conversations with people around you is a great way to make both yourself and others more comfortable with the topic. Everyone’s experience will be unique, but you are not alone in the questioning process.
Whether you are questioning forever, discover a term which best describes you, or decide not to label yourself at all, you are valid, and welcome, in the LGBTQ+ community.