All I can think about today–all anyone can think about today, according to my Facebook feed–is same-sex marriage. In the wake of North Carolina’s ban and Obama’s positive stance, not to mention the comment I got on my previous post from a young, gay Christian woman and my lesbian coworker’s engagement, what’s on my mind is acceptance and tolerance and a celebration of love.
I think same-sex marriage is this generation’s interracial marriage, and I hope that in generations to come children won’t be able to understand why we would have made a big deal about it. We’re definitely not there yet, and we have to work hard to make that our reality. But I’m very hopeful.
I don’t have a lot to add to the world’s perspective on same-sex marriage. Other people know the trials and joys and arguments on both sides much better than I do. What I can add to the knowledge of the people who read this blog, however, is a little bit of information about what it’s like to be bisexual.
I get a lot of different reactions when people find out that I’m bi. Mostly it’s curiosity. Some people assume I’m saying I’m promiscuous or attention-seeking; some think I’m a lesbian who hasn’t committed yet; some think I’m “in a phase” or still experimenting from college. So I’d like to answer some of the questions I hear or imagine hearing, in case it’s at all edifying.
1. What do you mean by “bisexual?”
For me, what I mean is that I’m attracted to both men and women. For awhile I just didn’t identify as one sexual orientation, and then I said “I’m attracted to the person and not the sex,” but I think that’s what bisexual means, really, and so that’s what I tell people I am.
2. Are you equally attracted to men and women?
Actually, no. I experience more attraction to men, and I find that there are more men I am interested in dating than women. This does not mean I’m not attracted to women or that I haven’t met women I would be interested in dating. I just crush more frequently on dudes.
3. Have you ever dated a woman?
I have gone on dates with women but I haven’t been in a relationship with one. Then again, I’ve only ever been in two relationships, so it’s really not saying too much.
4. How do you know you’re bi?
How do you know you’re straight/gay/trans/asexual? I’m actively attracted to and have crushes on people of both sexes.
5. When did you know you were bi?
I had my first crush on a boy in preschool. I had my first crush on a girl in first grade. I continued to have crushes on people of both sexes from there on out.
6. Are you sure you’re not a lesbian?
Pretty sure, yeah. I’d happily be a lesbian if I were a lesbian. I’d happily be a straight ally if I were not attracted to women. I’m not aware of trying to force myself to be interested in women.
7. Are you primarily attracted to butch or femme women, or is there a difference?
I’m primarily attracted to women who are more femme, but there’s no ruling anything out.
8. Why come out? Why not “pass?”
Honestly, for most of my life I do “pass,” because the default assumption is always “heterosexual.” I don’t bring up my sexual orientation in conversations with the majority of people I meet because it’s none of their business–I wouldn’t talk to them about it if I were strictly straight, either. Do I feel guilty for letting people assume that I’m only interested in men? Often, yes. I feel guilty for the ability to “pass,” to bring home a boyfriend and to not have any uncomfortable subjects come up, to be around older people who ask when I’m getting married and not have to say, “When it’s legal.” Then again, when that assumption comes up, I often try to gently let people know what’s up. If it’s their business. But this is who I am, and just as I don’t think my gay friends have anything to be embarrassed about, I don’t think I should either.
Nope. I’m looking for a relationship.
10. Are you sure?
11. What’s the reaction from “actual” gay people? Do they resent you?
I’ve been lucky in that my gay friends haven’t ever expressed or seemed to have a problem with me. They don’t think I’m faking or anything like that that I can tell. Nor do they seem to resent my “getting to be in the GLBT club” without having to face potential discrimination at any time. Honestly, I resent that in myself more than any of my friends seem to. I do know that this is a reaction that the bisexual community has encountered in the past, and that saddens me. I’m against discrimination, period, and while I respect that gay/trans people may struggle every day, I would hope that they of all people would be accepting of my feelings for whomever I have feelings for.
12. Do your parents know?
They do. They’re also reading this, so now they know more than they probably wanted to. Hi, M + D! My brother knows too. It’s not an issue.
13. So, like, what kind of porn do you watch?
The porn I watch is for research for a show, duh-doi (coming Spring 2013, we hope!). Porn makes me kind of uncomfortable a lot of the time because it’s so much about the (presumably male) gaze and much of it seems to be about the man’s pleasure first and foremost. Were I to watch recreationally, it would probably be lesbian porn for that reason–even though still primarily aimed at a male audience (unless queer- or feminist-produced), the focus is on mutual pleasure. See “pr0ne” once we write it for more commentary on that.
14. Did your boyfriends know?
Yep, they both did, and the people I’ve dated otherwise have. They were also aware that I don’t think of being bi as a free pass out of monogamy. If I’m dating a guy, I don’t get to go hook up with women because it’s somehow “different.” The whole point is that it’s not different.
15. So, I have this friend who’s single…
I can’t promise anything, but I’m up for meeting new people.
Feel free to ask other questions in the comments if you have them–I’m not especially shy, and if I think it’s not your business I’ll just say so.
And once again, love to all the people in my life who’ve supported me and other LGBTQ people over the years. It means more than you know. Also, non sequitur pro tip: Giardiniera on a salad is a fantastic idea.
Almost as good as same-sex marriage.