Have you ever had something to say but you know that it will not add to the conversation? That the information you give, won't change anything, won't make a difference - negative or positively? That's how I've felt about coming out.

This is not a post about bashing or shaming anyone for coming out, this will always be an inclusive place that shuts no one out. This my personal story, as it is with the other posts, and my experience.

I acknowledge that I am a fortunate person, because the information said in this post will not alter my life negatively, and even if it did, I would have a support system to fall back on, which many do not have.

I've wanted to say something for a long time, maybe a few years, but I found my voice lost, confused as to where it fit in. For those that do not know, I've been married to my husband for nine years now and I wouldn't change that, but recently I've confronted the other parts of me that contradict the relationship in some way. While my husband is almost blindly supportive, I did not know how he would take the news of me saying I wasn't straight or how anyone else would take it at the age and status I am at right now but he took it with mild curiosity and loving support.

It started with my sister in law (my sister's wife) asking me how straight I am, purely out of curiosity (I assume). We've definitely talked about weirder things so this wasn't in any way awkward. It gave me an out, a way of telling the story I didn't think needed to be said. My response wasn't to say that I'm not fully straight, but to lay out my actual percentages, which read as a 50% attraction to men, 40% to woman, and 10% to anyone in between, but since I am married to a man, it didn't really make a difference to label myself anything other than a married woman in a hetero relationship. But as David Rose put it best, I am attracted to the wine, not the label (also my niece's fav quote), and that includes my relationship with my husband.

I wasn't scared of telling my sister or her family, or really even my husband, because of how comfortable my sisters have made me feel over the last fifteen years. When my sister came out, I was fourteen and confused as to what it meant for her. I didn't tell her then, but I was scared for her. Our parents are rigid Christians that saw her life as a sin, a typical (though it shouldn't be) response that the LGBTQIA community receives from loved ones. I feared that she was making a mistake but meeting her girlfriend and seeing how happy she was, it melted away because I saw the love they had for each other. Nothing else mattered.

They created a loving supportive space, even if they didn't know it, by accepting anything that comes. It shows more with their kids as they've thrown a lot at them in the last few years. They've proved that love is love and that's all that matters.

To see them raising their children now, both part of this community in their own right, is something I didn't see back then. I think I always saw the shadow of our parent's (mostly our father's) opinion weighting it down.

I did not make a big deal of telling my sister, husband, or her family about this because I knew any situation would have been accepted. Had I come home with a woman instead of a man nearly ten years ago, it would have been accepted just as my husband was.

So this is me coming out, I am not straight even if I am in a "traditional heterosexual" relationship. I am pansexual and I have finally found the space and place to say that.

Happy pride, y'all!

- Ashleigh (Anne)

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