I live in fear.
I fear that I will be denied a job because I may be living with someone of the same gender.
I fear that I will have to choose a job based on its equal-opportunity policies, rather than it being my dream job.
I fear that my immediate family and friends hide their true thoughts about my identity and life choices.
I fear that my extended family will cut me out and keep me out of their lives.
I fear that my pansexuality is not seen as a Queer identity in the eyes of “the community.”
I fear that I am expressing a façade to the public.

I live in uncertainty.
I live uncertain about whether I will be able to marry.
I live uncertain about whether I will marry a woman, a man or someone of another gender.
I live uncertain about whether I will be creating my own children or whether I will be filing for adoption.
I live uncertain about whether my family will accept my children if they are adopted.
I live uncertain about whether my connection with God truly is in its best relationship at this moment.
I live uncertain where I will be able to live and where I will be accepted once I leave this bubble we call “hoMe.”

But if I live each day in fear and in uncertainty, how will I see what is ahead of me? How will I understand that my daily choices will affect my future? How will I accept the fact that everyone in my life is impacted by my love, laughter and compassion? How will I succeed in life if I identify with the Queer community? I will not know the answers to these questions if I continue to live in fear and uncertainty.

I live as Ryan Freeland. I live as a lover, a giver and a fighter. I live as a college student, a friend, a son and a brother. I live as a Christian and a white male. I have many identities and I am honored to call them my identities because they make me visible to the public.

But I am not hesitant or in denial of my sexuality. I am proud of my pansexual identity. I am proud of myself. I love myself. To truly accept your inner self and expose it to the public takes a lot of courage, and I send my gratitude to every Queer individual because YOU conquered the most difficult task of all: loving yourself and accepting yourself.

It has only been six months since I have openly identified as pansexual. It has been difficult. It has been heartbreaking. It has been ugly. But I know that this is my life and I truly love every daily experience. Yes, I do live in fear. Yes, I do live in uncertainty. But also, I live with love. I love my identity because it is the one identity that makes me feel real juxtaposed to my other identities.

I live with pride.
I am proud to be pansexual.
I am proud of my immediate family and friends for acknowledging and listening to my words.
I am proud of my achievements.
I am proud to continue living with my identity.
I am proud to commit to pursuing whatever I want in life without my one identity being a drawback.

Q & A is the Daily’s section designated as a space by and for LGBTQ students at the University of Michigan. To contribute your voice or find out more about Q & A, e-mail Michael Schramm at mschramm@umich.edu.

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