This week I chose to interview two vastly different people. One is a person I met during my short time at New River Community College, and will be named as Alex, and the other is a girl who went to my high school who will be named as Sharno.

When I first met Alex, I couldn’t tell if they were a boy or a girl, and that made me a little uncomfortable. However, after getting to know them, they introduced me to the term “Gender Fluid”. This means that on any given day, Alex dresses the way they want to be seen. Some days Alex feels more like a boy, so they wear boy clothes. Other days, Alex feels more like a girl, so they dress up and wear makeup and wigs and enjoy the general public.

While they could tell I was a little uneasy about the whole concept, talking with Alex came very easily. They have an older brother who is also gender fluid and a mother who is about as loving and supportive as can be. When I asked them about dating, they just kind of laughed. Alex told me that most potential relationships were met at drag shows across the area, where they frequented with the family in order to have some fun. Flirting seemed to remain pretty consistent across the board, and Alex even had a consistent girlfriend at the time.

Knowing that situations like this can be tough and bring out the mean, defensive side of people, Alex is cautious about the friends they keep, even going as far to make sure that people in their community do not find out about their lifestyle because of the fear they anticipate will come from it. While Alex seemed incredibly comfortable in their skin, I picked up on subtle hints that dating, living, and just being accepted were still incredibly hard, and they were forever grateful for a family that understood them.

On the other end of the spectrum, Sharno was quiet, bookish, beautiful, and never even considered the idea that one day she would be married to someone that she didn’t even know across an ocean. I hadn’t spoken to her in awhile, so I was wondering if college had done anything to change her views on the world. In her own words, she told me, “My body is not mine to keep track of. Since I was promised, my body belongs to my future husband, and anything I do to it to lose honor will shame my family and cause that betrothal to fall through. So, no, I don’t want to talk about sexuality anymore.”

With speaking to her, we didn’t quite get to the point of talking about flirting, but it seems like she’s not allowed to notice it since she has been promised already. It seems that most of the selecting a future mate was done by her parents and she’s never really had a say in it.

It’s amazing to think that within the span of 30 miles live two people whose lives and sexuality can be so vastly different.