One of the Q’s in the lovely Queer “Alphabet Soup” stands for “questioning.” Well, one of them does; there’s more than LGBTQIA+, which is why we have the + sign at the end (similar to the concept of the asterisk after Trans*). Questioning sexuality is healthy, and can be a moving experience. But, does questioning mean that there is always an answer laying in wait?
Questioning sexuality can be a lifelong journey. It can be a solid identity that isn’t, necessarily, fraught with painful confusion or based on the indecision and fear we think of when we think of questioning our own romantic and (a)sexual inclinations (though in many narratives it is). (A)sexuality is fluid and individualistic. Similar to the fluidity of Gender. But, since gender identity and romantic or (a)sexual preferences are not the ‘same thing,’ they can’t be smushed together. It may sound somewhat contradictory, questioning something continuously as chosen, as solid, as an identity itself–when we question (a)sexual identities, aren’t we supposed to be looking for one, don’t we hope to find one? Questioning can’t be an answer at the same time, can it?
Well, yes. It very well can be. And is.
And lots of Queer folks are ‘coming out’ as Questioning. That is, identifying as Questioning, not being in the process of. While LGBTQIA+ folks need to ‘come out’ to dominant culture–because there is a cis- and hetero-normative default; the attitude that everyone is presumed to be straight until they specify otherwise, and that is that–folks who identify as Questioning as a lifelong identity need to ‘come out’ to LGBTQIA+ communities. Because we, too, make assumptions, and one of them is the assumption that when someone is questioning, they are seeking a definite answer.
Before I go on, it should be mentioned that I do not identify as Questioning, so I cannot speak for those who do. It is their voices that need to be the loudest, and the most listened to on the topic of their identity.
Questioning isn’t ‘throwing in the towel’ in a search; it’s not giving up in a negative manner (“I’ll never find an identity, so I might as well stop looking”). Questioning one’s (a)sexuality could be that no label fits; it could be that every label fits. It could mean (a)sexuality is so fluid that they’re literally always questioning. It could also be a subversive, radical act of resistance to both hetero- and homonormativity. Never knowing isn’t never finding.
Ultimately, someone’s romantic and (a)sexual inclinations are nobody else’s business. When there is an honest, open dialogue, non-questioning folks shouldn’t expect to be educated. We shouldn’t feel entitled to know the reasons why one uses Questioning as an identity as opposed to a process–why don’t they identify in a manner that fits narratives we may be more used to.
People question all sorts of things all the time throughout their entire life, ‘identify’ as questioning certain things, things that have nothing to do with Queerness. So, why can’t someone be comfortable with Questioning as their place on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum? (Hint: of course they can.)