Every year, the month of June is celebrated as Pride Month. In honour of this, Michelle Davies—Service Design and Delivery Director at enei—shares her personal thoughts about sexual orientation and identity.
Embarking on the journey
I intrinsically believe it is every person’s basic human right to feel comfortable with their sexuality and to express it in any way they see fit and appropriate for them as an individual. We all deserve to thrive and realise our potential as unique human beings, free from discrimination and judgement.
Sexuality and the need for labels has intrigued and somewhat troubled me since my early adolescence.
I have fallen in love with both men and women during my 53 years on this planet but could never quite pin down my own sexual orientation. I’ve never really known what my self-defined label should be. I never felt fully lesbian, but equally never felt quite straight either. Bisexual? Pan-sexual? Maybe, but putting myself in either of these boxes has never quite felt right for me either.
Mine was more an attraction I didn’t want to categorise, and why should I? I always felt I was simply attracted (or not) to individual people on some level or another. It didn’t matter about gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation; we either ‘clicked’ or we didn’t.
Simple I thought! Not so easy at all, as life turns out. But it should be!
No one chooses their sexual orientation; it is a fact we’re born with, in the same way as brown eyes or blonde hair. How much we can embrace who we are, is, however, influenced greatly by the situations we find ourselves existing in. Whether that’s a loving family, accepting friends who support our self-exploration of life, or a hostile oppressive environment that demands conformity at all costs.
I completely understand that labels are positive and life affirming for many members of the LGBTQ+ community, but not for me. I’m proud to say I can now accept myself and be at peace with the unique human being I was born to be.
I have never experienced either of these extremes, because rather than put myself out there, for most of my life I have chosen to hide from the judgement of others. A sad state of affairs, many may say. Probably, when viewed from a wholly sympathetic and objective perspective, but in fact an entirely normal existence for many people whose sexual orientation is not absolute.
I completely understand that labels are positive and life affirming for many members of the LGBTQ+ community, but not for me. I’m proud to say I can now accept myself and be at peace with the unique human being I was born to be. It has taken a long time to get here, but I will no longer apologise for who I am or continue to hide my whole self from the world.
Unfortunately, even when the LGBTQ+ acronym is used inclusively, bisexuals (and pan-sexuals and sexually fluid people) have often been left out of discussions about LGBTQ+ issues and this continues to this day. But am I a “B” or am I a “P”? Sexually fluid, confused, in denial, greedy, or maybe a “Q”?
Who cares? Not me anymore. I am Michelle……. wife, mother, daughter, human rights advocate, and all-round decent human being, and that is good enough.
This blog post was written by Michelle Davies, Service Design and Delivery Director, Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion. It was originally posted on 16 June 2021 and revised in July 2022.
Additional enei resources
- Blog: Celebrating 50 Years of LGBTQ+ Pride: Ten LGBTQ+ Icons who inspire us, 27 May 2022
- Employer Guide: Gender and Employment
- Employer Guide: Gender Reassignment
- Employer Guide: Sexual Orientation and Employment
- Infographic: Sexual Orientation
- Quick Guide: Gender Identity
- Quick Guide: Glossary of Gender Reassignment Terms
- Quick Guide: LGBTQ+ Pride
- Quick Guide: Sexual Orientation