A woman has explained what her life is like as a pansexual in a "heterosexual marriage"...
And while that may leave some people "surprised"...
It's important to remember that no two relationships are the same.
Keep scrolling to find out more...
Jillian Johnson recently took to the internet to share her story of life as a pansexual in a "heterosexual marriage."
Jillian is a stay-at-home mom, college student, and freelance writer.
She lives in a 2-story house with her husband, Brad, an aircraft maintainer in the Air Force, and their 3 children.
And to anyone on the outside looking in, they look like "a completely normal, monogamous, heterosexual married couple."
But, that's not quite the case.
And it's something that people online have a lot to say about...
Jillian Johnson took to Huffpost Personal to talk about her married life as a pansexual which leaves most people "surprised."
She explains that while she doesn't try to hide her sexuality, it is just assumed by most people that she's straight as she's a woman married to a man.
Jillian writes: "Most people are surprised to find out that I'm pansexual. It's not that I try to hide my sexuality ― I'm quite open about it when it comes up in conversation ― but it's usually assumed that I'm straight because I'm a woman married to a man."
"The topic of my sexuality often comes up in June, which is LGBTQ Pride Month. I am very vocal on social media about my sexuality, as well as acceptance of the LGBTQ community as a whole."
"1 of 2 things happens when new friends discover my sexuality: Either they accept what I tell them and we move on, or they are a bit taken aback because, as they put it, 'you're married to a man'."
"So far, I haven't really been met with, 'well, we can't be friends because you're an abomination,' which is somewhat remarkable given that we live in the deep South. I consider myself lucky for this."
Once people are aware of Jillian's sexuality, she often has a lot of questions put to her.
Questions like: "What does "pansexual" mean? How is it different from 'bisexual'? How many women have you dated? Would you date an alien from another planet? What if they had no gender? (Yes, this was a real question.) How does your husband feel about it? Do you guys have an open marriage?"
But fortunately, she doesn't mind answering some of them in order to bust some of the misconceptions.
Jillian goes on to answer some of those frequent questions, writing: "Being pansexual means that I am attracted to all genders. I have the greatest respect for a person's gender identity, but gender does not really play an initial role in my romantic or sexual attraction. To be a little clichéd, I am most attracted to what's on the inside, not the outside."
"I identify as pansexual, rather than bisexual, because I am attracted to people regardless of how they understand or label their gender ― or if they refuse to identify with any gender at all ― rather than just to the 2 binary genders, male and female, that society most widely recognizes."
"As for some of those other questions, I have dated a few women and someone who considered themselves nonbinary, meaning they did not identify as either exclusively female or male."
"I would absolutely date a gender-neutral alien if they possessed personal qualities that I found attractive. Perhaps I might even go for a spin in their spaceship and take a tour of their home planet."
Fortunately for Jillian, her husband is completely accepting of her in all ways, but there are some people who aren't...
As she explains that she has actually received a lot of backlash from members of the LGBTQ community: "I have been told that I have 'chosen sides' and that I'm 'not really LGBTQ because you married a man'.
"Being accused of invalidating my sexuality by entering into a heterosexual relationship is both funny and a bit disheartening, especially when it comes from people I would think would be the most likely to accept me. But it's only happened a handful of times, so I try not to let it get to me too much."
A woman once asked Jillian why her sexuality matters so much when she's married and although at the time she did know how to answer, she now does:
"1. Being married to my husband doesn't automatically make me straight. In fact, I think it further validates how I love because of why I love him. Yes, he is an incredibly attractive man, but I fell in love with him because he is intelligent, kind, selfless, hilarious, and we have a bond that is soul deep. I respect the man that he is, but his gender is not why I fell in love with him.
"2. I want to be accepted as I am, for all that I am. While my sexuality may not define me as a whole, it is a part of me. Just like anyone else who has "come out of the cabinet," so to speak, I want to be accepted by others and not have to hide some of the more important things about me. It's important that I am heard and validated by those I love. What's more, my pansexuality didn't disappear when I married a man (and it never will disappear) and just because our marriage can technically be defined as a heterosexual relationship doesn't mean that I am heterosexual."
So, you maybe wondering about Jillian and her husbands relationship...
Well, the pair first started dating back in high school and while he was first taken aback that Jillian "wasn't quite straight" he came round to it.
The pair broke up after around a year of dating and following that Jillian dated other people.
They then reconnected after a few years, got married, had children and here they are.
Jill wrote: "My husband and I have regular conversations about LGBTQ issues. His views on the community have evolved so much from when we first got together. Our small-town upbringing didn't expose him to a lot of people who were openly LGBTQ, so he didn't really know how to react. Now, as my husband and a leader in the military, he has learned a lot about our community and how to be an ally."
"Now that our children are getting older, we're having LGBTQ-related conversations with them as well. My oldest son, who is 14, has been raised to view all forms of love as normal. It was no surprise when he told me that his best friend was gay and that he didn't think twice about it when she told him. He is a great ally to her and I'm confident he will be to the rest of the community as he grows up."
And as she finished, Jillian wrote: "So, yes, I married a straight man, but this doesn't mean I'm not still pansexual."
"What it means is that I've chosen to spend my life with the one I love ― who happens to be a man. My sexuality is something I'm proud of, and I embrace the opportunity to have healthy conversations about pansexuality with people wanting to understand it better."
"I hope to continue contributing to conversations that encourage acceptance with both the LGBTQ community and my heterosexual peers."
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