Natalie Minor, '22
My favorite movies have always been rom-coms. From 10 Things I Hate About You to Four Weddings and a Funeral to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, I have seen and loved them all. But when you absorb all of these stories over the years, you grow up thinking that love has to look a very particular way. Like many other queer people, I always thought that I would meet a man, fall in love, get married right out of college, have three kids a few years later, and live happily ever after. There were no stories about same-sex relationships for me to look to, I did not know any adults in my life who weren’t married and had kids, and people at school were too busy picking a new crush every week to tell me that it was okay if I didn’t have those feelings. But LGBTQ+ people have been redefining what love looks like for a long time. In the 19th century, some people of the same sex were involved in romantic friendships, which were very close but non-sexual relationships between friends. Before we began to define couples as either gay or straight, these people existed in relationships that were somewhere in between platonic and romantic.
As an asexual lesbian, meaning I experience little to no sexual attraction but am romantically attracted to other women, I think that people do not expect me to be able to find love. Frankly, I have personally struggled with the fear that nobody will ever want to date a person who identifies as ace. It is difficult to remain hopeful that I will get my own rom-com story when most people intertwine romantic and sexual attraction so closely. But I have learned to place more value in the other types of love around me than in just the romantic love I am expected to experience.
First of all, familial love is something that is very important to me, and I hope to remain close to my family members for a long time. Additionally, an overemphasis on romantic love discounts the significance of platonic love. The love I have for my friends is, to me, more important than anything else, because they are the people who have stuck beside me for the longest time and who I have learned the most about. I know which of my friends like certain foods, who needs to be reassured and who needs to be hugged when they are upset, and which music everyone likes to listen to in the car. This effort that I put into my friendships directly results in the care that I get back from them, and that is the love that I feel in my everyday life.
And, once again, queer people continue to redefine what love and relationships have to look like. Queer-platonic relationships, which are kind of like modern romantic friendships, are very close platonic relationships that are often between people on the asexual or aromantic spectrums. So, even though I may not ever have the epic, romantic love story of When Harry Met Sally, I know that I can find love in all the people around me, which is more than enough.