Dating After Coming Out as Queer Started Super Awkward

But first, I have more to say about labels.

Dana Leigh Lyons
4 min readOct 28, 2022
Image of author by Brian Limoyo

Note: I’m reworking material on addiction…merging into a chapter on gender and sexuality. Find Part 1 of this latest thread here and Part 2 here.

Since coming out more than two decades ago, my relationship with labels is the same as my relationship with jeans: Too tight in places; falling down in others; all in all, a terrible fit.

While I wear my gay badge with pride, claiming a qualifier is more about external expectations than internal experience.

In the end, “queer” has stuck though I’m equally good with “gay” or simply swimming in the ever-expanding LGBTQIA+ alphabet.

“Pansexual,” “gender fluid,” and “sexual flexible” work but tend to invite unwanted conversation or awkward silence. I do not identify as cis or heterosexual or straight, even when with a male partner.

Not everyone likes this. Many don’t. Many prefer a neat label, a demonstrative claiming of pronouns, a place to put me in the imagined constructs of their own ecology. Or, let’s be real, their own taxonomy.

Everything has its place. I go there, in that box. I am that way now and now and always.