Boundaries Matter, and No One Gets to Suggest Who You Should Be Attracted to

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I’m worried — worried that people within our own community are starting to treat one another in the same judgmental, disrespectful way that we are constantly fighting against with those outside our community. We have to allow people to define themselves for themselves and to love who they love, and we have to stay out of it. Otherwise, we are just as bad as our enemies.

The Law of Attraction – It’s Not Who You Should Be Attracted to; It’s Who You Are

I am a lesbian. I love women. I’m sexually attracted to women. I have long hair. I prefer dresses to pants. The woman I married and with whom I fell hopelessly in love has short hair and prefers pants to dresses. Some people are mad about some of these things. And I’m mad about that. Partially for my own sake, but more for others who have not yet found their partner.

We have to allow people to define themselves for themselves and to love who they love, and we have to stay out of it. Otherwise, we are just as bad as our enemies.

We have to be gentle. It’s hard enough to find love in this world without telling other people how to do it. You have the right to be respected for what you are looking for in a person, and you have the responsibility to respect others for what they are looking for. Just because someone is not interested in one thing or another does not mean they look down upon or hate or disrespect whatever that might be.

For instance, I am a short woman. But I was never interested in women as short as I am. I don’t want to date a short woman. And that’s not anyone’s business. When someone else makes it their business, it suggests that they think they know better than I do what is “good” for me. But more than anything, it reveals that they feel left behind: “You can’t be a femme lesbian because then I feel bad about myself for not being one.” “You can’t be only interested in certain kinds of women because I’m not one of those kinds of women.” “You have to like everyone because I demand validation via your interests.”

Does it sound crazy to you yet? It should.

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Worst of all, it sounds an awful lot like “incels” — those who think they have an “inalienable right” to access to sex with women they deem attractive. It sounds an awful lot like the people who are upset (straight, gay, trans, cis, whatever) because people don’t find them desirable. That may be disappointing. But it is certainly not about one’s rights being denied.

Let’s Show Each Other – And Ourselves – A Little Respect

The only thing anyone has a true right to in this arena is respect. We deserve to be respected for how we identify. That does not mean we have a right to be celebrated or rewarded or told how spectacular we are for being one thing or another. It means we have a right to not be treated unfairly or unkindly. That’s it. That is it.

We deserve to be respected for how we identify. That does not mean we have a right to be celebrated or rewarded or told how spectacular we are for being one thing or another. It means we have a right to not be treated unfairly or unkindly. That’s it.

This may sound harsh — cruel even. I think we want to believe that everyone has a right to be desired or coupled or loved. That everyone “gets” someone. But life doesn’t work that way. And it especially doesn’t work that way when one expects others to accept them as they are but don’t accept others as they are. You get to be whoever you want to be, just like everyone else gets to be who they want to be. And you don’t get to be with whoever you like, you get to be with whoever you like who also likes you. It’s just how it goes.

You get to be whoever you want to be, just like everyone else gets to be who they want to be. And you don’t get to be with whoever you like, you get to be with whoever you like who also likes you. It’s just how it goes.

If You Have an Issue With Other’s Preferences, That’s Your Problem, Not Theirs

So, you don’t have to like how I choose to present myself? You don’t have to like who I would or would not go out with when I was dating, because it makes absolutely no difference what you think. And if you’re upset about people not wanting you, well, it’s time to look internally. Not externally. No one has to be interested in you, and they aren’t racist or transphobic or whatever for not choosing you. They get to choose.

What’s so great about that is it means that if and when someone does choose to be with you, they really do want to be with you. They aren’t doing it out of pity or pressure from the outside world or whatever. When we allow people to be themselves and respect people for honoring their truth, we do ourselves a favor, too. We have the security of knowing they aren’t being fake, and they aren’t faking it when they choose us.

You have to be honest with yourself about who you are, what you want and what you are and are not willing to do in the name of partnering with someone. You have to be whole first. Putting others down and demanding they want you is not being whole. It’s not self-care. It’s the boring old blame game.

That advice they give you on the airplane is good advice: Put on your own oxygen mask before you help others. You have to be honest with yourself about who you are, what you want and what you are and are not willing to do in the name of partnering with someone. You have to be whole first. Putting others down and demanding they want you is not being whole. It’s not self-care. It’s the boring old blame game.

Everyone gets to be themselves, and no one gets a trophy for doing it. Barney sold too many of us a false bill of goods. Most of us don’t mean a thing to the world. But if we’re lucky, we might mean the world to someone else. But it’s not a given. None of us is owed anything. We do, however, owe it to everyone to be respectful and keep the judging to ourselves. It’s only fair. If you want to do you, then I get to do me.

This article first appeared in the Dallas Voice on June 15, 2018, and is republished here with permission. 

 

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