Confusion and acceptance
November 10, 2020
At first, Lonsbury decided to label herself as pansexual, but quickly learned that she would rather not identify with a label. “When I first realized I didn’t only like men, I wasn’t sure what to identify myself as because I didn’t really know the different sexualities,” she explains. “Once I found out what pansexual was, I decided to identify as that. I thought it would be nice to have a word that represented what I felt. I kind of forced it on myself.”
Pansexuals are a minority in the LGBTQ+ community as statistics pertaining to the amount of individuals who identify as pan are not found or at least widely mentioned. As a minority group, there is a lot of misinformation about pansexuals, leaving many to feel outcast and even misinterpreted. The exclusion can cause feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety, and confusion.
Lonsbury found herself surrounded by copious amounts of untrue information pertaining to this group in the LGBTQ+ community, limiting her ability to discern what was true or false. She gradually became her own biggest obstacle for finding acceptance, unable to accept the pansexual label or acknowledge herself for who she really was. “I completely am supportive of the [LGBTQ+] community,” she conveys sincerely, “but I sometimes feel like it’s hard to support myself. I feel like I don’t deserve to be able to express how I feel about my sexuality and I don’t deserve to be a part of the community. Sometimes, I feel insecure about my sexuality . . . pretty much, in the most simple way I can put it, what goes through my brain is: yes, pansexuality is real and it is valid, but I’m not allowed to be pan.”
A big part of the LGBTQ+ community is the need to be accepted for who they are by the ones they love. According to One of Us INC, an organization dedicated to providing support for those in the LGBTQIA+ community since 2018, 42% of people who are LGBTQ+ report living in an unwelcoming environment and that the biggest problem they face is unaccepting families.
Lonsbury was fortunate enough to be able to confide in her younger sister, sophomore Cynthia Brown, during times of uncertainty. Brown identifies as pansexual within the LGBTQ+ community and the two sisters fully support one another and have grown closer since they came out. “My sister supported me when I came out to my mother and when I was struggling on what I identified myself as.” Brown recounts fondly. “I supported Haily when she came out to me. . . and I supported her on the labels she went by, and now that she chose not to have a label.”
The fact that both Lonsbury and Brown were able to find acceptance in one another during a time of confusion and struggle has made their bond stronger and allowed them to grow confidence without the fear of judgment from those who lack understanding.