lgbtq

Thoughts

tw: homophobia


Hello people. I would wish you a happy Sunday but at this moment in time that just doesn't feel right to me.

Once again I have to sit here and write on my blog that I'm sorry about and saddened by the state of the world. Not only for the people currently in Charlottesville, but for the people who have to live in this violent reality every single day. I wish there was more to say, but seeing as I don't think I would be able to do any justice to it, I won't.

I also want to apologise in advance for my writing today. I have something in my head I just really need to vent. Today probably isn't the best time to do it, and I am torn about doing so because I in no way want to present what many people may see as a non-problem when there are such scary realities happening right now. I in no way face the same oppression as most people in this world, and I hope I don't present myself as such.

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You may have noticed (or not) that I haven't written in a couple of weeks, and there is a very specific reason for this. If you read my "Pride" post, you will know my romantic… situation, shall we call it? If you haven't, I'll very quickly break it down: I'm polyamorous, which means I don't believe love only has to be between two people, and I don't think monogamy is the only viable relationship option. I'm in a relationship with two people, one of whom I'm married to, and the other I've been in a relationship with for about 8 months and who lives 1.5 thousand miles away.

Last week, I flew that distance to go see them in person for the first time.

We spent 5 days together, and it was one of the best periods of time in my entire life. I was, and am, ridiculously happy about us. After all the frets from others (and the lesser but still existing niggling doubts of myself) of whether it was 'real' or 'safe' or whether everything would be okay, it was perfect.

I'll point out here that since that last aforementioned blog post, I have had discussions with several people about my 'other' relationship. Almost every single person has reacted the same: a little concerned, needing explanations, and in the end, happy so long as we are all happy (and then having a separate conversation with my husband just to double check that he is, in fact, "okay"). I am so incredibly lucky that I have such supporting friends and family, especially when others (my partner included) are not afforded the same.

So, I spent five days away and it affirmed everything I already knew: I was completely in love with them, and they with me. And for the alleviation of doubt, because I know this is what everyone wonders: no, it does not change the way I feel about my husband, and no, it does not change the way they feel about theirs (they are also married).

I was incredibly upset about leaving, and then I missed my transfer flight on the way home, which, on top of already being hormonal and emotional, just made me a fit of tears for the whole day. And then, something completely unexpected happened.

I was with a family member, who didn't yet know about the situation, and whom I actually hadn't even come out as bi to because I just assume people know… and they became the first person who reacted negatively to it.

On a day when I was already upset, coming off the back of one of the happiest times of my life, I was told the following:

 

"I knew there was more to this"

"You've always been so weird"

"I always knew there was something wrong with you"

"I can't believe you've just flown thousands of miles to fuck some girl"

"Does [my husband] have gay tendencies? Actually don't tell me, I don't want to know"

"I can't believe you"

"It's just fucking weird"

"Well I guess it's better you went there than [my daughter] waking up to some bird in your bed"

"So you're gay? I was surprised when you married a bloke"

"So… what? You all just share a bed?"

"It's weird that [my husband] is straight. I could understand it if he liked blokes too. Then you could have an arrangement"

"I knew there was something weird when I saw you with some girl on facebook. Actually I didn't even know if it was a girl or a boy. Whatever."

"I'm over it now. Can we go gay clubbing? I love gay clubbing. Guys buy me drinks and then I let them down after."

 

I'll say it again: I don't expect everyone to understand. I don't expect everyone to be okay. I don't expect everyone to want to discuss it and ask questions and get to know them. I don't expect everyone to change their world view to fit mine. I don't even really expect people to even take an interest, for the most part.
At the end of the day, this relationship directly affects exactly five people: me, my husband, my daughter, them, and their husband. And yes, that may be "weird", but to us it feels absolutely normal and absolutely right. We love each other. All of us. I may be in love with them, but I absolutely love and consider their husband part of my family too now, the same way they feel about mine and my daughter.

However

That doesn't make the things I had to hear hurt less. To know that deep down it's nobody else's business doesn't help ease the stabbing feeling in my gut to once again be told in my life that I am weird, that there is something wrong with me. Do you know how many times I've had to hear that?
And yes, I've always known there was something different too, and as I said previously, I have been so happy in finding my identity because it helps me come to terms with that. It helps me understand my past actions, it helps me understand my feelings. It helps me feel that there is somewhere I fit in. And now? I'm back to not knowing.
I still love the person who said those things, because although I was upset, I was not entirely surprised, and I know that somewhere inside it comes from a protective and caring aspect of their personality. I know they love me. I know they are concerned for my safety. I know that my worldview is completely different to theirs.

But If someone felt comfortable enough to say that to my face, what are people saying behind my back? I am so, so, so lucky. I have the entire world in my hands. My husband is perfect, my daughter is perfect, my partner is perfect. And yet…

Here I am. My stomach in knots. Fourteen years old again. Too weird. Something wrong with me. Not worthy of the love I have.

kirsten-xo

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P R I D E

Note: CW for identity struggles, specifically relating to bisexuality and polyamory. I will be using the terms bisexual/bisexuality as those are the terms I use to self-identify, and I am on the side of discourse that does not see bisexuality as an exclusionary term. Because I am attracted to all genders and not an outdated binary, you may find it easier to see this as being about pansexuality.


It’s now been over a year since I last had a post relating to sexuality on here, the last one being this blog post I wrote about the Pulse tragedy and what that meant to me as a bisexual. But seeing as it’s PRIDE MONTH once again, I felt it necessary to take the time out to write once again about the pride and privilege I have in my own identity.

The thing about sexuality is, that it’s fluid. People can identify one way at one point in their lives, and as something completely different at another. And I feel like this is often an under-represented aspect of the LGBTQ+ spectrum; that it is just that: a spectrum.

Gender and sexuality are not binary. They never have been. They have just been perceived as such in history’s eyes. It is not as simple as gay/straight, male/female… and despite all the shit that’s going on in the world, and the oppression that those who do not fit into this binary mould still face, I’m pretty proud to be part of a world that is starting to realise this, and part of a community whose voices interweave as one to shout for representation and the pride we have in our identities.

As I discussed before, it took me a long time to even realise I was bisexual, and even once I had, there was a feeling of “too little, too late” because I was already in a long-term relationship, and thus there seemed like no point in “coming out” or anything.
This can be a very jarring feeling.
My bisexuality is very inherently a part of my personality, and shapes who I am as a human being. I think that that can be a difficult concept for straight people to understand, and it’s something I was struggling with at the time of that last blog post, which I think is evident. I am simultaneously part of a community, and yet excluded from it at the same time. I have even seen posts this year saying that bisexuals in “straight relationships” shouldn’t even be allowed to attend Pride events.

I’m not going to go into a breakdown of a disagreement with that statement. It’s clear I disagree with it, however I do also understand the thoughts that go behind that from the people who would say such. As I have addressed, there is privilege that comes with my identity, and I guess that means that many LGBTQ+ people do not see a cis girl in a “straight” relationship as contributing to the community in any way.

I have thought about bisexual erasure and invisibility* a lot.

As with last year, it hurts, it really hurts, if I feel anyone is in any way trying to strip me of my identity. And I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out why this is. Although I can acknowledge and understand a criticism that comes from other LGBTQ+ people as to why my identity is objectively less important as a cis girl in a relationship with a cis guy, it still feels important to me, and I still feel passionately, intensely, emotionally invested in matters that affect the LGBTQ+ community. Whenever I am made to feel like I’m not allowed to care about these issues, it feels like someone is ripping out a part of me.

Bi erasure/invisibility isn’t always about the under or lack of representation of bisexual (or pansexual) identities. Sometimes it takes the form of erasing someone’s identity completely from themselves. Being married made me feel very excluded from the LGBTQ+ community because lots of people made me feel like I had “made a choice”, and this did not sit well with me.
If you’re bisexual and enter into a relationship, you have not made a choice about your sexual identity. You’re not straight if you’re a bisexual who enters into an opposite-sex relationship, and you’re not gay if you’re a bisexual who enters into a same-sex relationship. Bisexuals are not confused. In either of those relationship forms, we still exist as bisexual individuals.

It wasn’t until this past year why I realised why this sat so uncomfortably with me.

There are plenty of people in relationships, plenty of people in marriages, who are attracted to others, and who do not have a problem with their partner being attracted to others. There are also a lot of people who do. And there are even people who claim not to have any attraction to others when in monogamous relationships.
My husband and I have always been in a relationship of complete and utter honesty. There is nothing I don’t share with him. And I truly mean nothing. I’m not presenting this as in ‘ideal’ model in any way by the way; relationships exist in a dizzying variety of models and this is just ours. But what this means for our relationship is a complete honesty when it comes to this particular subject.
I am completely and utterly in love with my husband, and I also always have and always will be attracted to others simultaneously, regardless of gender. I don’t like to label my relationship by things I am allowed to do, because our relationship is a partnership and not to do with ownership, but the easiest way to describe this is to say it is permissible by my partner for me to be actively attracted to others, and vice versa.

Because I am always actively engaged in attraction to others, I feel like my sexuality is not passive. I’m not a bisexual woman in a relationship with a man and not attracted to anyone else. I’m a bisexual woman in a relationship with a man who is actively attracted to other people, including those of other genders.
Obviously I am in no way saying that if you are in a relationship that sounds more like the former that you are not bisexual, or that your identity is not important. But I do feel that it has an impact on how you are going to react to certain things.
The reason why I bring this up is because I thought this was the way it was for everyone: that active attraction to others was normal, and permissible.

And then something else happened which threw my own identity into a completely different light: I fell in love with someone other than my husband, and entered into a polyamorous relationship.

…. that might be a lot to process; I’ll give you a minute.

 

 

You good? Good.

 

Writing in full details about my other relationship isn’t something I’m ready to do completely at this time. That isn’t because I’m not proud of it, and it’s certainly not something I am ashamed of in the slightest, I just don’t think it’s time.

But what has happened in the past 7 months that I have known this person, is that I have had to acknowledge and accept another part of my identity… and in several ways that has been completely affirming, and completely terrifying.

I am so incredibly lucky that all parties involved in my relationships have made this year so beautifully easy. Granted, it is a long-distance relationship, which in a sense makes things easier to adjust to, but coming to terms with polyamory as an identity, especially when you have never been in a polyamorous relationship before, is understandably a confusing time.
It’s a time where you question yourself, your relationship with your existing partner, your relationship with your new partner, and even your relationship with your friends and family. Polyamory is far from “the norm”, and you dissect every relationship you have with someone to work out whether it’s “okay” to tell them.
Once again, this doesn’t come from a place of shame in your relationship, but rather an acknowledgement that you are “deviating” from many peoples’ moral compasses. It’s nobody else’s business to judge another person’s relationship/s, but first and foremost one must think of their own safety: mentally or otherwise.

Something that many bisexuals have to deal with is questioning their own identity based on the prejudices others have of them. As I already spoke of, the common misconception is that bisexuals are confused, and this is not helped when people want to break down your relationship history.
If you’ve only ever been with someone of the same sex, then surely you must be gay. If you’ve only ever been with someone of the opposite sex, then surely you must be straight.
It doesn’t work like that. You are bisexual if you are bisexual, regardless of the genders of the notches on your bedpost or any short-term or long-term partners you’ve had.

It can feel very affirming, as a bisexual, to find someone of another gender to one that you are used to dating.

That might seem like an unusual thing to say, and in a sense it is rather sad, because you don’t need to be “actively fulfilling” your preferences by actively entering into a relationship with someone.
But the sad truth is that the criticism can bog you down. You can start to feel like you are not who you thought you were, not part of the community you thought you were. Because surely if you really were what you thought you were then you’d actively be doing something that somehow proved it? And surely if you’ve never done that and then marry someone you’ve picked a side and your identity is then inconsequential for the rest of your life?
It’s sad, it sucks, it hurts.

And if you’re in that position, I want you to know that your identity does matter and is valid.

But without lying to you all, when I met my other partner, it was affirming.
I got to a point where in my head I thought maybe, just maybe I was wrong. Maybe all these feelings I’d had for as long as I could remember were aesthetic-based, maybe I just appreciated all genders visually, but not romantically or sexually.
To then meet someone who was not male, who I fell for, who I was attracted to emotionally and physically, was like a revelation. Even though I’ve known it half my life already, it truly was an “aha! I was right!” moment.

The past seven months have been an eye-opening time in my life.

I have learned what it means to be me again, and to have all the things I hated about myself for so long validated.
I wasn’t making it up or imagining it: I like other genders, I am capable of loving more than one person at a time, non-monogamy is okay. And it really is okay. It’s more than okay: it’s fantastic.

But more than anything else, I now feel so truly confident in my identity again.

Hi 🙂 I’m Kirsten, and I’m a mother, a wife, a girlfriend. And that, I say to you now with pride.

kirsten-xo

*bisexual erasure/invisibility: the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality in history, academia, news media, and other primary sources. In its most extreme form, bisexual erasure can include denying that bisexuality exists. [source]