Far from Straight
I absolutely loved this post and have considered writing one of my own for quite some time. I’m probably going to end up sharing way too much here, but you know, I believe in authenticity. I believe in honoring one’s own truth. I believe in honoring each other’s journeys so I share a little of mine.
I remember the first inkling I had that I was attracted to women was when I was in 6th grade…in Catholic school. I was heavily Catholic. Believed in and practiced the Church’s teachings to the fullest extent possible. Believed with my whole soul. And back in the early 90’s, bisexuality wasn’t really a thing yet. Not like it is now. I chastized myself heavily for even looking at other girls, for thinking anything sexual about them at all. Meanwhile I had more and more boys pressuring me into sex. I went so far as to try joining a gang only to drop out when I wouldn’t “let” one of the guys rape me.
The same year that was I wrestling with noticing girls I was getting ever more involved with boys (my first boyfriend is now gay–he says if I couldn’t turn him straight no one could–and that makes me smile). It was also the year that I found out my favorite older brother was gay. It was right there in his own handwriting in a letter left carelessly by my dad on the kitchen table. I read and was angry. Not because my brother was gay. Nope, I was angry because no one had told me. I confronted my parents who claimed they thought the news would be too shocking for a 13 year old Catholic girl. I still give them shit for not giving me more credit than that. I wrote a powerful and emotional letter to my brother telling him that while I was mad he didn’t tell me that I loved him and would always accept him and support him.
And just a year after that my state (Colorado) was proposing the infamous Amendment 2 which prohibited giving gays “special rights”. My very first political involvement was to counter Amendment 2. To write to the editor, to give speeches in class, to do what little a 14 year old could to speak against this horrid law. Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned it in Romer v. Evans, which may very well set the precedent needed to protect gay marriage statutes throughout the U.S. today. My, how far we have all come.
I have hundreds of stories, most of which are small attempts to show my support of my LGTBQ brethren: from teaching a seminar to high school Latinos forcing them to confront their biases and prejudices with regard to not just homosexuality but gender roles in general to building my current mediation and law practice to specialize not just on LGBTQ families, but all sexually expressive and self-actualized relationship models. But it all doesn’t seem to be enough. If you’re still hearing such horrid things from dates, from friends or colleagues, then I still haven’t changed the world all by myself. It takes so much more than just me and you…but it can’t be done without me and you.
See, like you, I’m anything but straight. My mom knows and my dad does not. I think there might be a bit of a revenge thing in there with my dad for not trusting me about my brother, or maybe it’s just his advanced age and health. I’m attracted to men, to women, to trans, to gender fluid. Chances are if someone likes me I’ve already had my eye on them for a while 🙂
But It kills me when people identify me as a “straight ally” because while I agree that I’m an ally, I’m not coming from outside this group. I’m the Q or I’m the B or something…anything other than straight. To top it off I’m also polyamorous and both of my male partners are also bi or bi-leaning. It’s different for them. As men I mean. They deal with so much bi-phobia and bias in not just the straight community but in the gay communities as well. I’ve been a long proponent of bi-visibility for a very long time, as a queer (or pansexual) woman myself. But the bias against bi men is so strong, so unreasonable that sometimes it is hard to overcome that. So I get the darkness and want to read about it…identify with it…and remind myself of how I overcame my own.
I’m proud of what you wrote and what you shared. You’ve touched so many lives with this blog and you are likely to be the guy that does change the world in the same way I have always aspired to….with honesty and thoughtful interactions. I will be sharing this everywhere I can….your story. My own. The stories of countless others who recognize themselves in your words.