There are all sort of attachments we can form: work relationships, familial relationships with our siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, friendships, significant partners, and spouses. In each of these relationships we create unique interaction patterns and thus results in diversity. This post focuses more specifically on intimate relationships. Intimate relationships may not need to include sexual relationship but may include emotional closeness and feelings of belongingness with another person(s).
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, and so many more relationships that fall under the LGBTQ umbrella are oftentimes compared to their straight counterparts. Will this couple get married, have kids, follow gender-defined roles, etc. etc. etc. Intimate relationships have no template and no right or wrong way of “doing” and therefore, all relationships should be celebrated for being beautiful the way they are.
Significant relationships come in all shapes and sizes. Even within the LGBTQ community we may have mixed-ethnic couples, monogamy, open-relationships and many other forms. In addition, within these relationships, we may decide to have children, adopt children, and even choose not to have children. What holds these relationships together is a desire to be with each other and the respect for our personal, and each other’s, boundaries and space. As such, each and every form of relationship is valid and sacred. There are no right or wrong way to form intimate relationships within our queer community.
In addition, each person’s relationship with their significant partner is unique. We all possess unique cultural identities based on the intersection of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, ability, education, socio-economic standing and additional identities. Through the interaction with each other, some of these cultural identities may become more meaningful for ourselves based on the values we hold. Furthermore, we may form strong communities based on our identities and this bond may strengthen the relationship with our partner(s). We also bring forth personal expectations and desires within the relationships we choose to form. Within our intimate relationships, we negotiate our comfort zones and what we hope to get out of this attachment. Healthy attachment is based on consent, shared interest, and love. How we define the intimacy with our partner(s) is personal and beautiful. More importantly, every person will have their own unique definition of intimacy and that what makes diversity so wonderful. We get to be who we are.
Finally, as a related point, it is important to celebrate the “you” within the relationship. You are unique, wonderful, and different. And you should be proud to be YOU. Do not belabor the expectations of the larger society. Be who you want to be with whom you want to be with. Have self-compassion. You MATTER. No one is better than being you, than yourself.
It is important to celebrate diversity within intimate relationships because it is so critical to understand ourselves as multifaceted beings. And through our personal identities we form relationships that are unique. Intimate relationships are formed because YOU are part of the equation. You are funny, different, weird, and everything you want to be and that is what makes diversity so wonderful!
Phillip is a Master’s of Counselling student with Athabasca University. He had previously volunteered with The Landing: A Safe Space for Sexual and Gender Diversity, as a Community Education Facilitator and co-facilitate the Queer/Trans Person of Color (Q/T POC) support group. He had also volunteered as a Camp Counsellor with Camp FYrefly. He enjoys working with youth and adults and how we can all bring forth personal and community resiliency.