its from the livejournal community Postqueer, and is pretty interesting (comments especially).
Archive for March, 2008
This article rocks. I don’t think I have ever seen such a thorough look at bisexuality in anything that wasn’t a bi-specific book. And even then, this author looks at so many of the current issues and does a really good job of exploring where they are coming from and what they mean for bi people.
I especially like the look at the gender difference, and why men may be more reluctant to identify as bi than women are. It certainly has been true in my experience that I know many more (bio/cis)women who identify as bi than (bio/cis)men. And most women I have encountered have thought about their attractions a considerable amount and have considered the identity of bi, while most men I have encountered would not consider the label of bi, even if they have had sexual experiences with more than one gender. I have often wondered what the cause of this is, and thought of reasons why. I think article does a good job of pointing out that straight men control a lot of what happens around sexual identity. I think there is also some social conditioning around sexuality that is different for men and women, which could be another cause. Women are typically socialized to believe that attraction can come from emotional intimacy, and also may have strong emotional bonds with ‘girlfriends’ while growing up. Women are conditioned to form those attachments early on and throughout their lifetimes, and also may see emotional attachment and sexual attachment as related. Men, however, are not conditioned to be as ‘touchy/feely’ and also are conditioned to see romantic relationships as a sexual thing, rather than emotional. They have less movement between emotional and sexual, and also less initimate bonding activities between men. Does this emotional attachment between women create a more fluid sexual environment that allows more women to feel comfortable going between the lines of sexuality? Does the lack of emotional attachment between men create an environment where men feel less comfortable moving between these boxes? Is this reinforced by straight mens’ ideas about bi women and homophobia surrounding gay men? Does the gay mens’ community reinforce these boundaries by being generally unaccepting of someone who is not “all on one side” of the line? Being out as bi is hard enough for me, and I think its much harder for men.
I also really like the part about both thee straight and the GLBT communties pushing bi people to the other side. There is no space to move between the two, and there is hardly a community large enough to be in a ‘bi space’ most of the time. For me, I have definitely felt more comfortable in a GBLT/queer space, however, I have also spent a considerable amount of time /effort/energy making space for myself within these community spaces. I have encountered a lot of biphobia and have had struggles to maintain my bi identity within these circles. I don’t blame people who don’t want to work as hard as I have to quell stereotypes and make sure bi folks are included, its a lot of effort. I also find it difficult to navigate straight spaces as a bi person. I can be out as ‘queer’ sort of, if people know what that means, but usually they assume it means I am a lesbian, and if I am dating a guy that assumption could be confusing. My strategy so far has been to be out to people I trust and enjoy confusing everyone else with a side of generally not talking about my dating life.
Overall, this article has covered many issues that I consider relevant, and does a really good job of giving a fair approach to the topic. Impressive!
When I came out to my mother 3 1/2 years ago, I told her I identified as bi or queer, I never used the word ‘gay’ and corrected her use of the word in reference to me. I knew things could become more difficult later on if I didn’t start out with the truth. I wasn’t sure she got it, but decided not to push it too much right away. Several months later, I was in a relationship, my first relationship-relationship with a woman. I told my mother. This is how the conversation went:
me: Mom, I have some exciting news for you!
me: E and I are dating!
me: isn’t that exciting?
mom: [pause] well, I guess so. [long silence]
me: did you have a question, mom?
mom: well, I guess I just don’t believe the whole gay thing with you.
me: well, I’m not gay, I’m bi.
mom: I guess I don’t know what that means
me: it means I can fall in love with someone of any gender.
mom: [long pause] okay, well, the other day when you sent me that email, I was really upset. .. (this email had nothing to do with my sexual orientation, and the conversation just went on from there)
That was a hard conversation for me, and the last one we really had about my sexual orientation and her questioning it. I dated E for a year and a half, and we lived together. My relationship with my parents was tenuous during this time, and when I told them we had broken up and I was moving out, they were practically ecstatic. Our relationship has been easier since this time.
This leaves me in somewhat of a bind. If I am dating a man, do I tell them? Let their imaginations go to that place of marriage, etc? Do I only tell them if I am dating a woman, and preserve the slight amount of queer identity I have with my family? I feel like I have already failed myself and my personal beliefs and politics by not telling them about the man I was dating last summer, and now, as I think about seeking out dating women, I feel as though it would be really horrible to tell my parents about it.
And, there is the question of my younger brother’s wedding. Who should I take? How can I go about not feeling invisible as a queer person, and also not feel like I am lying about who I really like? It seems like the only way around this is to wear a button, or come out to everyone. Might be inappropriate and silly to do at a wedding.
Sometimes, I think it would be easier to be a lesbian. But I am not a lesbian.
Coming out and being out during college was fairly simple, I told everyone I was bi, and if they didn’t believe it, they only had to watch who I dated for a few years to get the picture. But I was also in a pretty liberal environment, and mostly hanging out with other queer folks. Most everyone had heard of bisexuality, and if they hadn’t, were willing to learn and got it pretty quickly. It was a space where it was incredibly uncool to be intolerant of anyone.
Now, I am in the situation where I need to come out at work, and do a little more education/ explaining of my identity to many people. I think most people at work either assume I am a lesbian or assume I am straight. There’s a small few who have actually talked to me enough to know how I identify. It feels harder to come out as bi in this situation, I feel like fewer people know what bisexuality is (espcially without all of the stereotypes that go into that) and everyone is more set in their ways. I feel like if I were gay, it would be pretty easy to tell people that, and have them get it and be ok with it. Also furstrating in a sillier way- there is no way for me to make myself “look bi”. Suprisingly, there are not really any stereotypes about what a bisexual person looks like. Short of wearing an obnoxious button everyday, its going to take considerable effort to actually feel out at work.
yup, that’s right, I openly admit to having my cake. . . and eating it too. hA! maybe not, but I do identify openly as a bisexual person, and this is my blog about my life as a bisexual. I plan to include thoughts on my own sexual orientation, as well as thoughts/ feelings on how others identify themselves, and probably some way-to-political ranting on community building and discrimination/ prejudice and oppression.
feel free to let me know exactly what you think, and I will do the same.