cw: discussion of the recent tragedy in Orlando.
So there’s a reason I haven’t been on here this past week, even though I had a few posts lined up I really wanted to do before I go on holiday (I’m still going to try and knock them out today).
We all now know what happened in Orlando. The worst shooting in the US, aimed at queer, and primarily black and latinx POC.
The shooter, an ISIL sympathiser, known for his racism and homophobia (as told by family and friends). A man so full of hatred that he chose on that night to go into a club and shoot innocent people with the intent of killing. A man, who ISIL has now claimed responsibility for, despite him having no other connection to the terrorist organisation.
This man was AMERICAN. He was a racist and a homophobe. He was not the product of Islamic extremism, as the media would sensationalise. He was a civilian who lived among American peoples, and let his hatred brew to fatal, disastrous consequences.
Mateen, through his actions, has reminded us that queer people are still not safe. That we are still surrounded by homophobia, and hatred, and disgust, just for loving. Love is meant to be the greatest power in the world, yet queer people are despised for loving another sex, bigender people, agender people, and transgender people or for being bigender, agender or transgender. Or even asexual.
This attack has hit me for six, along with queer people all over the world. But this week I have been struggling with a lot of helplessness, and a lot of guilt.
Growing up, I never felt my sexuality was in question. It did not matter. Not one bit.
It has been questioned by close friends, but I never felt the need to question it myself. I knew I wasn’t a lesbian, because I was definitely primarily attracted to boys, however I also had attractions to girls that I didn’t really publicise to anyone. I also didn’t really know what bisexuality was, so to have these attractions was very confusing. I knew gay people, but not bisexual people. I even knew a man who had been married for 20 years before leaving his wife for a man. I just thought he had “turned gay”.
When I came to that age where people I knew were discovering and questioning their sexuality, I asked a friend of mine what she had identified as, and what she said stuck with me. “I don’t see how anyone can call themselves straight”, she said. “You might think you’re just attracted to boys, but how can you know that you’d never fall in love with a girl? We’ll never be able to meet all the people in the world – how do we know that there’s not someone out there of the opposite sex who’s made for us?”
That day I decided to stop questioning, and to stop defining my sexuality, as she had.
The advent of realisation came to me many years later when I discovered what bisexuality was and learned a lot more about it. One of the things that had been stopping me from identifying was the fact that I had been attracted to more boys than girls. I thought, if you’re bisexual, it has to be equal (it doesn’t).
When I knew that I was bisexual, I didn’t “come out” to anyone because I didn’t think it was necessary. I am lucky enough to have 4 supportive parents who love me, one of whom is queer themselves, and my Mum had asked me a long, long time ago whether a girl I hung about with was my girlfriend (she wasn’t, but I wanted her to be).
I fell in love with a cisgender man, and I think most people in my life – to this day – just presume I’m heterosexual. I may be married, but I still feel attraction, and my husband and I have such a relationship of trust that we know there is a difference between attraction and infidelity. Most people are “allowed” to crush on celebrities when it relationships, probably because they’re seen as untouchable, but not ordinary people around them. We happily admit to each other when we find people hot, which can be quite entertaining if we both turn our heads at a girl walking past.
I am aware of the privilege I have as being a white cisgender woman being in a relationship with a biracial cisgender man. We are not subject to homophobia simply based on appearances.
This is why I have been feeling guilty this week. My husband and I comprise 2 letters within LGBTQA (he is on the asexual spectrum) but we would never face the prejudice the poor people in Pulse had to deal with, and lost their lives over. But it still does not erase my sexuality, and it still does not erase the hurt I feel for my community and my not-so-privileged people that are part of that who are in pain, and not feeling safe right now.
I have spent a lot of time crying, and hoping and wishing that this will go away. But it won’t. And I am truly scared of the future of my fellow queer people for the first time in a long, long time.
But the one thing of good that has come out of this is the solidarity that queer people all over the world have shown the victims that were at Pulse. Through his actions, Mateen has robbed 50 families of loved ones, but he has also enraged us and given us the strength to show that we are proud of who we are. I am so proud of all the queer people I have seen who were not out to their families and friends, coming forward and saying “this is who I am”. We are stronger than this.
p.s. Yesterday I decided to wear my sexuality on my eyes lol
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