Sunday, 17 March 2013

My Lazy Identity


The first time I ever thought that I might be attracted to women was when I was fourteen. I was in a hot tub with friends, we’d been having drinks, and one of the girls in the group leaned over and kissed me. It was hot. I mean the actual temperature; it was hot, and steamy, and she tasted like mint, and all of this, despite its fairly obvious connotations in hindsight, felt exclusively like a tremendous amount of confusion mounting up inside of me, overwhelming the experience in general.
I was a teenager in a fairly accepting environment with not a lot of solid ground. Unlike my friends who were proudly (and of course nervously, and bravely) coming out as gay, or lesbian, or trans, I had not “picked a side”. I knew that I was attracted to men. And now it seemed I was attracted to women. 
I was left wondering if maybe I’d missed something; did I just think I was attracted to men because that was the norm? Could my head really do that to me? Or maybe, everyone felt the way I did about the same sex, and these were just normal feelings of intimacy between friends. 
I considered coming out to my parents, but didn’t quite see the point. What would I tell them? That I occasionally followed social norms, but also occasionally wanted to be with women? I didn’t even have a girlfriend. No way to “prove” my sexuality. They would be accepting of me either way, I knew, and in this I was extraordinarily lucky. But though I’d been raised in acceptance, I’d never met someone (that I knew of) like me. No one who was in the middle. Everyone had a side.
As I grew into my identity with my sexuality still bouncing off the walls, I became intimidated by the very idea of the LGBT community. “Bi” was definitely in there, but every time I managed to drag it out in conversation, it seemed it was associated with the words “wishy washy,” “lazy,” or “slutty.” I honestly wasn’t sure which term was worse. I began to question myself. Maybe this wasn’t my sexuality. Maybe this was desperation. Maybe I was pathetically in need of attention, so much so that I didn’t care which gender it came from. I became disgusted with myself. 
I believe my resolution to this internal conflict has, unfortunately, come much more with age than experience. Learning to strengthen my confidence in other areas of my personality, such as my love of compassion, my ability to listen, and my intelligence, eventually brought me to a more comfortable place within myself. My decisions have become my own. I no longer shyly laugh at being called “lazy” in my sexuality. I command a need for respect and education. 
And yet there is, perhaps, a lingering sense that I am trying to prove that bisexuality doesn’t mean promiscuity. It doesn’t mean indecisiveness or laziness or “attention-whoring” (a term with which I take issue on quite a few other levels as well, but we’ll save those for a different time). On that point, there is a sadness that can only be overcome, perhaps, by raising awareness. I am sad that the term “bisexual” has failed to become recognised as a legitimate sexuality. 
So I write this as an open invitation. What is your sexuality? What is your experience?

4 comments:

  1. I don't agree with the concept of sexualities. Gay, straight, bisexual; society (in all aspects of life, not just sexuality) seems to be on a never ending quest to categorise everyone and everything with neat little labels. The fact is people are complicated. The range of emotions you can feel for another person are pretty much limitless, and you can feel any one of those emotions to a certain degree; it's not just an on off switch where you either feel it or you don't, so to try and categorise everyone as either "gay", "straight", or "bisexual" is like trying to categorise all the colours in the world as either "red", "blue", or "purple". Sure there are some red people and some blue people and some purple people (and according to my years as a children's entertainer: a flying monster with one eye and one horn that eats them), and of course every shade in between, but there's also greens and and yellows and browns and blacks and whites and all these people are left feeling out of place as society tries to force them to pick a colour on the red-blue spectrum.

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  2. Absolutely, and I think that it's that out of place feeling that is perhaps more common than most people let on. We all have our individual spectrums. I think as a teenager I felt the need to examine the already existing labels; society provides so many, so surely, I thought, I would fit into one. Only now am I living somewhat outside of the labels (self imposed and otherwise). :)

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  3. Since late high school and falling in love with one of my best (female) friends, I have always thought of myself as "not-so-straight," which I guess reads more like a non-identity than an identity. I sometimes feel like a traitor by letting people assume that I am heterosexual just because I choose to be in a long-term relationship with a man. I have also been troubled by the stereotypes that surround bisexuality. Many people seem to think that if you're not alternating between male and female sexual partners in quick succession, you aren't bi. So of course they equate bisexuality with being "slutty;" their definition rules out everything else.

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