Friday, February 14, 2014

On Sexuality And Perception Of Sexuality And People

Note: I wrote this a week or so ago and left it in draft form until I found the guts to publish it. After Ellen Page's coming out tonight, I decided I can do it. (I ADORE EP. She is high on my list of favorite people.)

Sometimes I see stories about people 'coming out' as gay, and I think about how we don't really see coming out stories much of bi people.

But then I think, probably that's not so much about whether bi people come out, but more about how we see people as so binary: she has a girlfriend, clearly she is gay, she has a husband, obviously she's straight, both are neatly in their boxes and that's where we want them, so it's all good.

Except, especially since I've written a couple of articles lately about transgender people/issues/legislation, I've been thinking about how binary people aren't.

But it's so much about what people see externalized, right, like, if you're bi but you're in a long-term monogamous relationship with an opposite-sex person and intend to stay that way, what reason is there to come out?

Except, somebody's got to make people see, you know, that everybody doesn't fit in your boxes. You don't get to look at this guy and say, oh, he has sex with girls, oh, that guy over there kisses dudes, this woman likes ladies, this woman prefers men. Because you're categorizing some of them wrong, you know? Some of them are into sex with both or neither or don't even know, right?

WHAT what the hell did I just say?

You need to know that this one girl is bi, because when you look at her and go, oh, she likes dick, you're only telling half her story? What? No. First of all, that's a fraction, not a half, of her story, and second, wtf are you doing categorizing who she is based on her sex stuff?

That's so weird, like, what if you were dividing people up that way like, oh, that's the principal, she likes black dildos, oh, that's the grocery store clerk who gets off on sitting on ziploc bags of crushed ice, oh, that's my preacher, he only does it in the dark. Can you even imagine if you were thinking about all those people's sex lives every time you looked at them?

Except, when you go, Oh, yeah, that's my gay friend, oh, yeah, that's the gay teacher, oh, that cashier, he's gay.....well isn't that what you're doing? Categorizing them by some aspect of how they live their sex lives and their love lives?

Except notice how there were no, "Oh, that's that straight guy I know" stories in there? That's because you mostly only do that to gay folks.

So then I'm like, damn, man, I'm really glad I'm married to a dude and present as totally cis, because it must be uncomfortable to have people think about your sex life every time they interact with you.

Wait, did I seriously just say I'm glad nobody can see my non-straight-ness, because it means I don't have to deal with the things so many other not-straight people have to deal with?

That is a seriously sucky attitude.

Then I think, but I'm married to a dude, if I came out as bi, what would be the point? I mean, I'm not looking for a girl, any more than I'm looking for another guy. It would only be weird, right?And it's so much easier not to.

And then I think, AND if I did, I'd have to go through that thing where some people think about your genitals and what you like to do with them every time they look at you. And I'm so much more than my genitals! I'm all my thoughts, and all my non-sexual entertainments like reading and writing and playing with my kids and badozens of things that have nothing to do with sex, and why would I come out and let people turn me into nothing more than my love life?

Here's why: because there are people who don't have the choice. There are people who, if they don't come out, won't be able to be with the person they love. There are people who have to choose between coming out or living a lie. Coming out or staying alone.

Plus, the thing that's going to make non-straight people stop being diminished to nothing but a caricature of their sexuality is more people coming out, making non-cis sexualities more mainstream and less of a 'special' or 'unusual' case, right?

Plus, is it any less 'living a lie' if nobody can ever tell?

So, to those outside the small handful of friends who already knew it, hello, world, my name is Stephanie, and I am bisexual.