Astrology Helped Me Embrace My Fluidity, and It Can Do the Same for You

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“You know,” my former colleague confessed, “you don’t really act like a Gemini.”

It was May 2018, and my coworkers had roped me into after-work drinks at a Hell’s Kitchen gay bar in honor of my 22nd birthday. I’d grown particularly close to this colleague. In a team of mostly cisgender gay men, the two of us stuck out. We quickly bonded over shared interests our male coworkers couldn’t possibly understand: Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer, vibrators that look like necklaces, and of course, astrology.

I’d barely dipped my toes into the intimidatingly vast ocean of astrological study; by comparison, my colleague had the technical astro knowledge of a deep-sea diver. So when she offered to pull up my birth chart after a tequila soda or two, I nearly leapt out of my seat with enthusiasm. She proceeded to show me a circular wheel covered in strange glyphs and explained everything from my Rising sign to my misunderstood Sun in the 12th House. I ditched the hard stuff for water and listened as closely as I could, desperate to commit her cosmic wisdom to memory.

In that dimly lit bar, my world tilted on its axis. My coworker was right: I didn’t seem like a Gemini, or resonate with all of the sign’s stereotypical characteristics, because I had a whole natal chart full of different planets and placements at play. And get this, the planets in the sky were also moving in real time! These planetary motions, or transits, could ping different parts of my astrological blueprint and reflect key turning points throughout the course of my life.

I felt validated beyond belief. It was as if the universe had handed me a permission slip to complicate the stories that I told myself, about myself. And one complex story in particular had become increasingly difficult to ignore: Like the planets above, my sexuality and gender expression were in flux. I no longer identified with the labels “lesbian” and “butch,” which I’d used since my teens.

Seeing my birth chart for the first time kickstarted my passion for astrology, which I now study and practice in earnest. As I soon learned, Gemini is one of the four mutable signs of the zodiac, known for their adaptability and flexibility. According to Hellenistic astrology expert Chris Brennan, ancient star-watchers called the mutable signs “double-bodied signs.” The phrase refers to all four mutable signs, but I find it especially resonant for Gemini, the sign of the Twins. Us Gemini placements can hold space for multiple truths at once, even when they contradict each other.

Case in point? I am a genderfluid bisexual person who is attracted to people of multiple genders in fluctuating capacities. I came out publicly as bisexual in June 2018, less than a month after that fateful birth chart reading in a gay bar. It was mostly well-received. I worked in LGBTQ+ media, after all. Surrounded by fellow queer people well-versed in the language of gender and sexuality, I felt safe and validated.

But the moment I left my gay oasis at work, I encountered hurdle after hurdle. My parents didn’t understand why I was backtracking on my previous identity label and couldn’t “just be gay”; well-meaning friends thought that my bisexuality was probably just a phase, and suggested that I stop broadcasting it to the world so I could “figure it all out.” The message was clear: While being gay was acceptable, fluidity was too complicated to stomach.

I internalized so much biphobic rhetoric—about being “greedy,” about being unable to make a decision—that I began to abandon my principles. I’d pen a scathing op-ed for work about the harm of “gold-star gay” language, only to let a girl I was seeing brag about her arbitrary badge over drinks. When people mistakenly referred to me as a lesbian, I’d nod instead of correcting them. As I indulged my gender fluidity, the situation became even more dire. I’d wear pants to outdoor work events in 100-degree weather for fear of making others uncomfortable with my leg hair and bold tattoos, which render my gender somewhat illegible.

Worst of all, I’d fall into a vicious cycle of feeling even more shame when my actions in private didn’t align with the values I expressed publicly. You of all people should know better, I’d admonish myself in my head, afraid to even journal about my self-betrayal. And for a words-oriented Gemini, that inability to express my innermost thoughts and feelings felt crushing.

Research estimates that bisexuals comprise the majority of the LGBTQ community, yet we are significantly less likely than other subgroups to come out of the closet. If that seems paradoxical, allow me to explain: Being bisexual can feel like an unwinnable game of having to “prove” the validity of our identity, especially if we experience varying degrees of attraction to people of different genders over time. We embody nuance, the in-between. In an algorithmic world hellbent on neatly labeling everything and everyone, fluidity of any kind is a threat.

But astrology predates our category-obsessed, capitalist society. It holds space for paradoxes, for both-ands. You can have a fire sign Sun and a water sign Moon. Neither cancels out the other, and both are part of your unique cosmic blueprint.

The planets journeyed across the sky without shame or fear. Why couldn’t I do the same?

My experience is mine alone, and I am not suggesting that all Gemini placements experience sexuality and gender identity as fluid. But exploring the expanses of my birth chart—including, you guessed it, my Gemini Sun—offered the perspective I needed to free myself from internalized shame.

As astrologer Chani Nicholas writes in her bestselling book You Were Born for This: Astrology for Radical Self-Acceptance, “You are not just a Virgo or a Gemini or a Libra; you are a moment in time, with every sign, planet and point playing a part in who you are, how you move through the world and what you came here to do.” By now, you know that I am a Gemini Sun. I’m also a timid, deeply emotional Cancer Rising ruled by a boisterous, dramatic Moon in Leo. If my birth chart is indeed a microcosm of my life, then I am a living, breathing contradiction. I guarantee that your chart paints a similarly complex portrait.

I became intimately acquainted with my “big three,” as we astrologers sometimes call the Sun, Moon, and Rising signs, through both study and observation. When I wasn’t hungrily devouring episodes of Brennan’s astrology podcast, I kept a journal tracking how certain transits made me feel. I took comfort in witnessing how my prevailing mood fluctuated as the Moon made its way through the signs of the zodiac, and I marveled at how my baseline energy levels corresponded with the Sun’s movement through the 12 Houses.

Over time, it became easier to release the negative emotions I’d long associated with fluidity and fluctuation. The planets journeyed across the sky without shame or fear. Why couldn’t I do the same?

I began to claim my bisexuality and gender fluidity with genuine pride, correcting people who described me incorrectly and experimenting with different clothing styles and haircuts to affirm my ever-shifting sense of gender. I leaned into my natal Venus in Gemini, which favors an adaptable aesthetic. It is very much an ongoing process—I’m still determining which gender pronouns feel right to me, for example—but I feel more comfortable with who I am and how I present myself to the world than ever before.

In the words of poet and fellow Gemini Walt Whitman, I contain multitudes. I also experience fluidity—in my identity, my gender expression, and whom I want to fuck. Thanks to astrology, I now embrace these core parts of who I am as written in the stars.

Sam Manzella is a queer freelance writer, editor, and producer who covers LGBTQ culture, the cosmos, and everything in between.

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