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To My Parents & Yours: Attraction Doesn’t Recognise Gender

Attraction, regardless of gender, isn’t a dirty secret; it’s a human reaction.

Attraction Doesn’t Recognise Gender

I haven’t been around for very long. I haven’t seen a lot of things that my elders have seen. But whatever I have experienced through my young, impressionable eyes, has taught me that attraction really isn’t that complicated a concept.

At the very core, when you’re attracted to someone you want to be around them. You want to talk to them, know everything about them; touch them, kiss them, hold their hand, hold them. And most of all, you want them to be attracted to you, too. I won’t go into the chemical equations and hormones everyone talks about when they talk about attraction — because I don’t know a lot about them, and because there’s more to this than just a chemical equation. Everyone who feels attraction goes through the same things, the same anticipation and anxiety, the same sadness when sometimes, things don’t go as planned. Attraction is one of the most beautiful, brutal things we experience in our lives, and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that attraction doesn’t recognise gender.

Source: Nicole Mason/Unsplash

The first time I found myself wanting to be best friends with a girl was in second grade. I felt a connection with her that I didn’t with anyone else. I watched her at times, as she pranced around completely unaware of someone longing to have her company. I felt like there was no one who could be a better friend to me. I didn’t know there was a term for every time I felt this for a girl because crushes were only to be had on boys.

The first time I felt strongly attracted to a girl was when I was 14. This was the first time I’d felt attracted to anyone, actually. I was emotional, inexperienced, and I had no confidence. I had no idea who I was and I didn’t care as long as people liked me — but not too much because attention made me anxious. The first time I felt aware of her breasts pressing against mine, and the shape of her waist in my arms as she hugged me, I was terrified. I had never felt this way when boys hugged me. I remember crying in my bathroom because I felt like I had a disease. I felt like I was looking at people wrong and they’d get to know about my dirty little secret just by the look in my eyes. Now that I think about it, I feel like an idiot. Attraction isn’t a dirty secret; it’s a human reaction.

Source: Volkan Olmez/Unsplash

When I told my mother, we had a fight. She said I wasn’t old enough to be thinking about this, and I should focus on my studies instead of doing these “dirty things.” She told my father even though I told her not to, and he went as far as calling me a sex addict. I didn’t know how to tell them that this wasn’t a deliberate decision I’d consciously made. It was a shocking discovery I’d stumbled upon in the middle of the day at school. I didn’t know how to explain that I didn’t have any control over my feelings when they grounded me for having a crush on a girl. I didn’t know how to tell them that they were being homophobic and cruel.

Things are better now and my parents understand that attraction is a part of my life just like it is for girls who are straight. They made the effort to research and inform themselves, and now they understand that nobody can control who they feel attracted to.The two most important people in my life accept me, and I don’t care about anyone else. My mother and I have girlfriend talks about cute girls and these sneaky conversations are more valuable to me than anything else in the world.

Now that I’m older and it’s easier for me to accept that I’m a girl who feels attracted to girls, I understand that it’s such a foolish thing to be fighting about. I feel the same things as any girl who feels attracted to men — I just feel them for the same sex. I didn’t choose this, I didn’t even know it was possible until much later in my life. I’m happy with who I am, and I don’t owe anyone an explanation for what makes me happy and why.

There’s nothing unnatural about attraction. Having feelings for the same sex isn’t a disease and it’s nothing like anything many of our parents, leaders, and other people of the older generations think it is. It’s heartbreaking that leaders of a billion people think a different kind of attraction from what they know as normal is a threat. It’s heartbreaking that people can find it in themselves to say, “love is beautiful, but only if it looks like this.”

[Featured image source: Arjun Kamath]

[Editor’s note: This post is written by a guest author who wishes to remain anonymous due to undisclosed personal reasons.]

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