This blog is a collection of a young woman's random thoughts, many tangents, and occasional
short stories and novel excerpts. Stay tuned for plenty of bull and brief moments of brilliance.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Reflections on Sexuality

Some days, I wonder if my sexuality matters.
One year and fifteen days ago, I “subtly” (as subtle as I can be) came out in a blog post. A couple months later I made a post about bisexuality, but besides that, I haven’t mentioned much of it on Facebook. In June after the recent Supreme Court decision, I made a post about how excited I was for my first Pride Parade as openly bisexual.
It was then I realized I might have come out a year ago a bit too subtly.
I got a couple messages from people that made clear they thought this was my coming out. I kept thinking in my head, “Jeez, dude, this happened like a year ago,” but I still took in the kind words. I was pumped up for my first Pride Parade nonetheless. I had heard criticisms of them becoming more commercial and generally geared toward a white, male, homosexual audience. After going, this is more or less true, but I was still hoping I’d had a great time.
I did…but I had the distinct feeling I shouldn’t be there.
I’m not involved with any organizations around Illinois or the Chicago area (not for a lack of desire, I just hate leaving the house and interacting with people), but my lack of “belonging” feeling wasn’t from my not knowing anyone present. Luke was very supportive and had a great time himself. As much as I tried though, I couldn’t shake the feeling I not only shouldn’t be there, but I didn’t deserve to be there.
My relationship with my sexuality has been a long and complex one. I first came out as bisexual to my mother in 8th grade and her reaction was to laugh. I forgive you, ma, but that was a bit harsh. Quickly as I came out, I went back into the closet. I don’t remember what exactly prompted the conversation with her, but I had the same feeling then I did last year when I told my closest friends and family: I don’t deserve to come out.
I’m in a long term relationship with a man who I adore and want to spend the rest of my life with. I’ve never dated a woman. I’ve never had sex with a woman. I’ve never experienced persecution for my sexuality and I recognize the immense privilege associated with this. I never walked down the street hand-in-hand with a girlfriend and my family will likely never have to face my sexuality in any real way since I’ll never bring a woman home. My tiny, self-critical voice inside my head keeps telling me I’m a very convenient bisexual.
“Let me get this straight…you’re an atheist, feminist, wannabe hipster living just outside of Chicago, wearing boots and glasses and giant hats, who Instragrams any swanky place she goes to, who doesn’t want children, and you’re bisexual? Wow. Aren’t you cool.”
No one has ever said this to me, but I tell it to myself constantly. Many times while wandering through Wicker Park or Lincoln Park I’ll catch my reflection in a store window and wonder if I’m a fraud. I have the privilege of passing. On top of that, I have the privilege of even debating how to, or even to at all, present my sexuality to the world.
So the question comes back to: does my sexuality matter, in any real way? Does it matter that I’m both attracted to women and men if I’m in a relationship headed toward that life-long commitment? This whiny, self-doubt is pathetic and helping no one, so why bother mentioning it? I don’t deserve to wear a label of “queer” and frequently don’t feel like I could call myself LGBT. Do I have to be out longer to be comfortable with this? Does my voice in any of this matter? Does my perspective matter? I’m not afraid of labels, but can we be afraid we’re not worthy of the label to start with?
What would make me deserving of this label? 
I can’t be the only bisexual wondering this. Bi-erasure is a constant problem in media where our only frequent representation is that of a bisexual (almost always a woman) who is sexually promiscuous, only adding to negative stereotypes. We are a porn gimmick and a man’s fantasy. Perhaps we wouldn’t be so afraid of calling ourselves “bisexual” if it wasn’t considered a joke, a phase, a non-issue, or a college girl pastime.
I'm not sure what I wanted to come of this long rambling. I'm not sure if it helped. Coming out did show me how quickly we assume any girl-boy pairing is a heterosexual one and any perceived girl-girl/boy-boy relationship is obviously a homosexual one. It showed me our understanding of sexuality has broadened, but only minutely so. We can now see two options, gay and straight, and all the other gray areas in the middle are messy and "millennial bullshit." 
But with my sexuality, I can't help but come back to my relationship and how I view it in the context of everything.
The other day I laid in our bed staring at the ceiling fan move the hot air around our two-flat in Oak Park. Luke came in and laid in my lap as we watched The Tonight Show on my computer. Later that night when we were walking home from the bar near our house, I couldn’t help but notice the way the moonlight hit his face before we crossed into the tunnel under the train.
I loved this person. I didn’t love him because he was male. There’s nothing wrong with being attracted to a certain gender, but I found something beautiful in that moment of realizing that nugget of truth in him. In us. Of all the people in the world, male or female, this passionate, wonderful person fell into my life. And I never wanted this person to leave.
Perhaps coming to terms with our own bodies, mind, and general personhood is yet another facet to self-love.
I'm getting ready to get my next tattoo in a couple months. It's going to be bisexually based. I'm trying to convince myself still that I deserve to have this. "What does it matter?" I still ask myself every couple days, I still wonder aimlessly, I still question sitting her at my computer typing away. I'm trying to learn not to hate that question, but embrace it. I'm trying to learn to question myself in a way that doesn't accuse my brain of being a liar. I'm trying to love revelations about myself without thinking, "You should have realized this sooner." I'm still trying.