Reflection on sexual orientation: Nora Aguiar

The happiest moment of my life was when I first read the verdict of the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodge: the case that legalized marriage equality. I was, of course, ecstatic at our nation having secured an individual right of great importance. I also was proud because I am an activist, and have been one since long before I even knew what being an activist was about. Intersectional feminism, the form of feminism that takes into account the overlapping nature of all facets of oppression such as homophobia and transphobia, has been and continues to be something by which people identify me. As a feminist activist living in a patriarchy, I have come to know failure intimately. But with Obergefell v. Hodge, it felt like a complete victory in every way. Finally, there was nothing standing in the way of the right to marry: neither God nor person nor twisted morality would ever keep one from love.

I discovered years ago that there is much more to sexuality than simply gay and straight. There is a multi-dimensional spectrum of identities that encompasses the deeply complex existence of any human. Ideas introduced to me only a couple years ago, when I first joined the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, helped me realize how expansive sexuality is. Asexuality and aromanticism were entirely new concepts I had never previously considered. My enlightenment also provided me with another important realization: labels don’t need to matter. For many people, labels are a method of validation. Unifying similar people under the same title is a great form of empowerment. Contrarily, for many people, labels are irrelevant. Knowing we’re somewhere in this beautiful infinity suffices. When we need to know, we’ll know, and that itself is a perfection. The absence of a label can be just as validating as the presence of one. There is no “wrong” identity, no “wrong” way to be human, and no “wrong” sexual orientation. The only right identity is the one you choose for yourself.

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