Now Until the End: Why I am Bisexual

[trigger warning: mentions of Bi and transphobia and rape]
I remember the very first time I ever heard the word bisexual. I was maybe 6-7 years old and riding home in the backseat of our blue minivan. The Michael Jackson song “Tabloid Junkie” was playing over the radio. We coasted to a stop at the light.

Or see it on the TV screen
Don’t make it factual, actual
She’s blonde and she’s bisexual”
” Mommy? What’s bisexual?” I knew what a homosexual was. I knew God hated them. I knew my mother hated them.
” A bisexual is like a homosexual but they date people who are the opposite gender too.”
The light was green. The blue van crossed through and over the train tracks, badump dump bump. I looked over the little bridge and into the water. A fat catfish swam by.
” oh. Then I’m a bisexual” I said now turning to pick up my sisters dropped pacifier.
” No you are not!” She shot back.
” Yes I am! I would date girls and even marry one! “I snapped back handing the pacifier back to my sister.
The van was picking up speed,houses whizzed by fast. She was mad.She always drove faster when she was mad. But I was just as mad. I liked this new word. It felt right. Like a lightbulb had shone into a dark room that was always there, but I just missed it.A blind spot.

We were going really fast at this point.I was getting scared.
” Fine! I’ll only date and marry boys. That way god will love me and I can go to heaven! But I’m still bisexual.” I was clinging tight to the word and my sisters hand.
The car kept speeding up. My mother’s voice got louder and angrier.She told me about how gross bisexuals were. They carried AIDS, always cheated on people. They broke up happy families. It didn’t matter that a bisexual only dated opposite sex people. They would always cheat or try and break up good happy families.And doing those things got you sent to hell.
” OK. You’re right…I wouldn’t ever do those things. Those are just mean. I’m not mean like that so I must not be bisexual.” I lied. The car started slowing down. I let go of the breath I was holding.We got home and as I put the groceries away I felt this mix of joy and fear.
I had a word that described me. But I wasn’t a bad person. But I was with out a doubt a bisexual.

Later on in bed that night I reasoned it out in my mind. I would try and only date boys. I would also never ever be like those other bisexuals my mother mentioned. I knew that no matter what it was true.I was bisexual and just for that I was going to hell.

I prayed my last prayer for several decades. While cleaning I found what I had written in a old diary.

” Dear God,
I’m sorry but I am bisexual. I know this means that I am going to hell. I don’t know why I am bisexual but I’m sure I am. I’m really sorry to disappoint you. I’m not going to give people sick or cheat or break up families. I don’t know if only dating boys will mean I can go to heaven.Mom says no. So I’m going to hell. I guess I’ll have a long time to get used to the idea. Sorry.”

I spent the next few prepubescent years learning to accept that no matter what else I did or prayed, I was going to hell. By the time puberty had started and we had moved to the other side of the country I had given up trying to suppress and pray away my bisexual desires.I was going to hell anyway right? Why waste time and energy denying things.
At 12 I had my first real crush on a girl in my class. We kissed at a sleep over while watching “Gattaca” and talked in hushed giggles at how dreamy Ethan Hawke was and how we wanted to kiss Uma Thurman.
By 15 I had converted to Buddhism and found a religion that did not condemned me to endless suffering because I had kissed a classmate. I was still terrified that secretly God was out there and angry.
” if so I’m going to hell already for being bi. I can’t go to like extra super secret hell on top of that for being Buddhist.” I rationalized.
At 16 I fell in love with a wonderful smart,beautiful girl.She was from a hyper christian family.We would hold hands secretly at movies and talk about how we were just like the bisexual protagonists of our favorite anime series “Revolutionary Girl Utena”. Every time her screen name popped up on my AOL instant messenger I would grin and my stomach would flutter. We were both Bi and loved chatting about who we found attractive of any gender. We were both going to hell we thought. We had planned that as soon as we were both 18 we would meet in San Francisco. We were going to then move to Berkeley and go to school there. Then get married when it was legal and then live together until we died and then meet back up in hell.

Her parents found out about us and pulled her from public school to go to a special school, an Evangelical Christian boarding school where she would be ” cured”. The ” cure” killed her.
I was cleaning out some old things and I found her last note to me. It was on a small crumpled piece of paper.Passed between friends of friends until it reached me. She told me she loved me and that I should be happy and work on changing the world. Just like Utena in the anime.

At 17 I had moved again. But now wore all black. I hated everyone. I was angry and hurting.I was still bisexual. If asked about it I would tell people I was. I dated men then for the first time since 7th grade. My feelings and attractions to all genders never changed. I was still bisexual.
I went to college. I dated one guy then another all while developing feelings for my roommate.
Eventually after much self searching I came out on Facebook. I had no problem telling friends and new acquaintance that I was bisexual. I was proud standing there in my pirate shoes and flame red hair. I was Bi. I was exploring my gender for the first time with freedom.
I was raped by a friend for committing the sins of being a good friend, drunk and Bi.
After all bisexuals are always wanting sex.
Suddenly I was back in that van whizzing by mailboxes hearing those words. Echoing my mothers voice joined by my attacker, then rape counselors. Then friends.Then the world. It slammed me down for the next 3 years.
I would still tell others I was Bi.But it was in a small voice now.
I came out as trans* and bisexual again 3 1/2 years ago. I was attacked for it. Told by what I thought were life friends that I was an “attention whore” they joined the other voices.
I found the term pansexual on tumblr .It seemed just like bisexual! Only better! Or so all the graphics said. It was better. It was stigma free! It was hearts not parts! I tried it on. I searched around but there didn’t seem to be much  community or history. Most of what I saw was pansexuals talking about how much better they were then bisexuals. But on the bisexual sites I only ever say attempts at including pansexuals. It wasn’t just Bi Net is for Bi’s but for pansexuals, fluid and queer. I remembered how much it hurt to be told being Bi was awful.

I sat down and thought about it all. I remembered the catfish,the song,kissing during Gattaca” holding hands and crying. I found so much hurt and power and strength there. The strength to be OK with going to hell possibly. I had found the Bi community. Full of challenges and beauty and intelligence. Working to change the world. To make it better. Not just patting each other on the back about how much better they were. Really working hard and against have odds.

I took up the label,sewed it onto my heart and joined in the fight.

I am bisexual because I have always been so. I’ve laughed and cried with and over that word.Fought over and for it. I’ve loved, lost and bled for it.
I have learned and fought and been joyous with the Bi community now for 3 and 1/2 years. I have gone to the white house because of this word and community.Had all kinds of amazing experiences and met great people because of it.
While it might not be perfect,it might get attacked by etymology wankers and dictionary thumpers for its Latin prefix this word is mine.
Bisexual. Now until death and into the next life or into hell after all I don’t care.

I am Bisexual and that is my word and my truth.

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Your Purity Does Not Concern Me: So What If The Definition of Bi is the Same as Your Definition of Pan.

In the last few years the bisexual community (edited especially on tumblr)has been working to root out transphobia  and cissexism from our community. (edited: though the communit has defined itself in trans inclusive ways since the very begining. See the “Bisexual Manifesto” available on BiNet USA’s site. H/T to Camille of The Bisexual Organizing Project for reminding me of this fact)One way we have done this is by working to use non cissexist and non transphobic definitions of our sexuality. Definitions such as ” the romantic/sexual attraction to genders similar and different from your own” or as ” attraction to more then one gender”. These definitions are what most bisexual organizations use and what most bisexual activists and writers are now using.We have been going out into the wider LGBTA world with it, contacting organizations to have them change from the cissexist definition of “men and women” or of ” both genders”
As I have mentioned before the only definition that should count is the one that is generated and used by the community.
I have in the course of my activism come across a interesting and worrying phenomenon.
Recently on tumblr user gohomebiphobia posted this definition of bisexuality. It is 100% how the modern bisexual movement conceptualizes bisexuality. It is an amazing informative post.
Sadly it has received back lash, not from straight bigots but from other LGT people and most worrying from other non monosexuals, especially pansexuals.
This has come in the form of really horrible identity policing and gohomebiphobia and other bisexuals being told that they are not allowed to define their sexuality or that pansexuals/omnisexuals know more about bisexuality then actual bisexual people.
At other times this backlash has taken on the form of cis pansexuals/other non monosexuals talking down to or over trans* people ( like me) to prove the bisexual communities definition “wrong”. I’ve also seen people engage in gross tokenisim of trans* people by these people.

The real important thing is this:
so what if the the definitions are the same or extremely similar? Why would that be a problem?

If I go over here and make a definition and call it Bi and someone goes over there and makes a definition and calls it pan but the definitions are the same similar then what is the problem? As long as the two do not really on things like transphobia ,misogyny or the negation of the other ( example definitions of pansexuality or omnisexuality that rely on a negation of bisexuality or the need to forcibly define bisexuality back into cissexist terms ) then it should be fine.
Both describe the same thing, non monosexual desire.

People who show up on posts like gohomebiphobias screaming about how the definition is wrong because it is to similar to pansexual need to sit and think about why that is a problem.

I guarantee that behind these peoples desperate need for the definition to not be similar is ideas of biphobia and purity.Many people who eschew the label Bi do so because of ” the stigma of being Bi” so they use a different term for their non monosexual attraction. By having the non cissexist definition of Bi becoming more and more popular and accepted it in cringes on the purity Bi stigma free zone they have tried to create.

But part of this stigma is that bisexuality is inherently binary or transphobic.These accusations are often couched in nice sounding social justice language so for the longest time it was considered a legitimate reason. But as Bi activists challenge and change that the only reasons left will become increasingly biphobic.

But your need for purity, for a Bi free zone, the need to have a sexuality that you can crap on to make yourself look good does not concern me.

Actively working towards an end to cissexism and transphobia does. And as pan/omnie/polysexuals claim they want to help end these things so they don’t use Bi.

One way to help would be to help propagate the inclusive definition.Instead they resist and fight. Simply playing around with Latin and Greek prefixes is not enough to make you a trans* ally. If you want to be one you need to support communities that are actively trying to fix transphobia and cissexism like what the bisexual community is doing now.
The only reason not to support this effort is through a need to keep distance and “purity” from contamination from being associated with bisexuality in any way.Biphobia.

So if you are pansexual,polysexual,multisexual or any other non-monosexuality and when you come across the same/other genders definition or the more then one gender one and your immediate response is to shout ” no it’s not!” And then try and derail or otherwise try and stop that definition in favor of a cissexist one then you need to stop and examine why this is and your commitment to trans* issues.

Odds are you have some biphobia to work on

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Being An Activist Is Not A Pass At Disney Land: Why being an LGBTQ Activist Does Not Give You Access To Trans Spaces

I’ve noticed a very upsetting trend recently. The idea that if you are an  cis LGB activist or cis het LGBT ally you are through your work then rewarded with access to trans* only spaces and discussions, and that trans people telling you that you are not welcome is an offense.
This is the height of cis privilege. Cis people are conditioned in our society to believe they are the ” normal” and “right” way to be. Everything in discourse, from music to bathrooms and jobs is built to celebrate and accommodate cis people.
We trans people go through a lot. We often need space to feel safe, a place where even for five minutes being trans is the dominant way of being.

Being an activist is a wonderful thing. But only the oppressed get to declare who is an ally and what ally behavior looks like to them as a group. Members of the dominant privileged group do not get to determine what these standards are.
Ally is not something you can just slap on. It is something you have to earn.

Cis LGB and Cis het people are not allowed into trans only spaces and discussions because they are not trans.The amount of activism or their hrc sticker or the fact that they partner romantically and sexually with trans people STILL does not give them access. These spaces, whether in real life, internet forums, Facebook groups or comment threads designated as such are off limits.
Barging in and yelling about how it is unfair, how you are an activist and deserve/have a right to be included is oppressive, cissexist behavior. Derailing discussions trans people are having with posts and shouts of ” what about me!” Or worse yet passive aggressively using activism and the idea that you have ” done so much for the trans community” is oppressive. The second type shows what internalized cissexist attitudes you have.
As an activist, as an ally you should never do this. It shows that your ally ship is conditional upon the compliance to your needs and ideals by trans people.
This behavior is immensely problematic and oppressive.
Trans people owe you as a cis person jack squat.
You are not given a magic pass when you become an activist.
Activism and ally ship requires constant self analysis.
If you feel that trans people not including you in trans only spaces is upsetting or wrong you need to do self analysis as to why you feel entitled to that access.
It’s probably unchecked cis privilege.

Being a good ally is knowing when to shut up.
If you are cis and in a trans space or see a trans space sit down and shut up.

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You Can Not Use the T slur.

In my area their has been a huge ongoing problem with people, even self styled allies have used it and it has been used in supposed “safe spaces” such as gsa’s and resource centers. Each time this has happened the harmed trans* person has been asked to educate why this is hurtful and should not be used. That attitude is highly problematic, entitled and transphobic/cissexist. It is akin to shooting a friend and when they scream ” you shot me! Why did you shoot me!” Demanding to know WHY it is wrong to shoot them and when they say they are too busy tending to the fact that they are currently bleeding you scream at them about how they are terrible to you.
So I will do it while I am currently not as the metaphor earlier goes, I’m not shot.

TW: Trans slurs

Tranny is a slur. It is a word used to dehumanize and harm transgender and transsexual people.
By calling someone a tranny you are removing their humanity. By taking away someone’s humanity it becomes easier to do other types of violence to someone. Physical or verbal. Using a slur is the first step in this process that has the ultimate end of death for the victim.
Don’t take that first step

Tranny is used much more against trans women. Trans women of all the LGBT community are the most likely to have experienced or experience violence, rape or to be homeless. This is trans misogyny. The idea behind this is that trans women and cis women who are called this word are not really women.This is transphobic and misogynistic and wrong.

You also can not use it to talk about trans people in porn. Porn is about creating objects for a person to consume. It turns people into things. Especially in trans porn starring trans women they are packaged as not really women but as freaks, as an exotic object. Not as human beings.

We should not take language cues from porn. If you must talk about trans porn or people in it do not use words such as tranny, she male, chick with a dick etc. Especially the last one reduces trans people to simply their genitals. This is cissexist and transphobic. It also is another way to dehumanize and oppress trans people, specifically trans women.
If you must talk about it you could say ” transgender porn” instead.

Trans people suffer disproportionate rates of violence and death. Words like “tranny” are often the last words a a trans person hears before they die. Do not ally yourself with murderers or rapists.
Here is an info graphic detailing the types of violence and oppression trans people face. Often seen or argued to be ” just a word” it is really the first step on the path of dehumanization and oppression that allows such horrors as these numbers to exist.
Words have power.Words have meaning.And a word like tranny can be the foundation for unspeakable horror against others.

image

In a perfect world a trans person simply saying ” that is a slur please don’t use it near me” should be enough.
If you consider yourself an ally or friend of trans people that should be enough.

But we don’t live in a perfect world.
So be a good person, a good ally and don’t use it.

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Intent Means Jack and Squat and Jack has Left Town

Trigger warning: sexist , ableist and transphobic slurs

I have received tons of responses about my last post dealing with how the rhetoric of ” I don’t care about gender/ doesn’t matter/gender blind” used predominantly by pansexuals is problematic and transphobic and cissexist.

The two main detracting responses have basically been derailments from my point consisting of either people running at me and screaming ” but we aren’t all like that!!!” And then telling me how they or their friend aren’t and demanding a precious ally cookie.
The other response has often bordered on ableism.It consists of people talking in very condescending ways at me about how I missed the INTENT behind the phrase and that because of my stupidity or disability my complaint is silly, to be brushed off as soon as I am informed of how stupid I was to miss the INTENT of the phrase.

Here is the thing. Intent counts for jack and squat and Jack just left town. I know what the INTENT was. But that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t intend to harm someone the point is you did and how you need to STOP.

Saying “gender doesn’t matter/ you don’t care ” is transphobic and cissexist.
End. The intent is not important.

It needs FIXED and by fixed I mean ended. If all the pan’s who stopped to beg for ally cookies or tell me very nicely that poor silly ole learning disabled me just missed the INTENT of the phrase instead worked on their own communities problems with cissexism and transphobia  there would be a huge dent in it by now.

So instead of telling me I’m missing the intent or in boxing me messages about how I’m a dumb twat or a tranny or how I’m a stupid retard that missed the intent, or how I’m a fat ugly dyke OR how I should go die maybe just maybe you all could go fix the problems trans* people have pointed out.( yes those are all things I got called/told in response to the post)

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My Gender Matters to ME so we it Needs to Matter to YOU

I am 100% done with the rhetoric of ” I’m pansexual/omnisexual/any thing but bisexual and my partners gender isn’t important to me because I am oh so enlightened”
And this is often said as some sort of statement of trans* solidarity.
Listen up people.
My gender is REALLY important to me. And if you want to have anything to do with me AT ALL, not even being partners, to be FRIENDS with me it had better be important to you. If you want to have sex with me my gender had better be EXTREMELY frelling important to you. Like number 2 on your list after ” are you a human, alive and consenting?”

You do NOT get to determine if my gender is important or a factor. If I were to find out a partner ” didn’t care about” my gender I would be very hurt.

Larger LGBT community you need to knock this off to. ESPECIALLY in graphics you peddle to cis hets AND the community.

DO NOT tell people their genders do not matter. It is not a compliment, OR a statement of solidarity.

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Gasping for Air: Biphobia, Suicide and Me.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how biphobia impacted my life in the form of rape and it’s effects on me at the time. But the story does not end there, nor does the biphobia and pain.
I had been admitted to a day program after suicide attempts and other dangerous behaviors. It was my first time being one on one with the med giving doctor. He and a smiling pretty med student were in their along with some other tall bald thin man. I told him the whole story. I cried. The poor med students face, she will be a good doctor. Then he said those words. That it was my fault. I had been drinking and had been out as bi. Every guy knew that was code for sexually promiscuous. That I should call my mother who had coldly asked me “how much time did you waste over this? Did you blow a whole semester? How much of our money did you waste?” That I should beg her to forgive me.

Everything went so silent.My bag with my books had these little jingly silver metal bells on one of the zipper’s.I remember how cool they felt in my fingers as I crushed the metal between my fingers till they were flat and I bled. Their sad little death jingles.Everything was muffled and my vision tunneled.I felt this rage.I was murderus.I don’t remember what I shrieked at him. Maybe that he was cruel, a terrible doctor a monster.Yes I remember calling him a monster. I remember my bloody fingers crumpling up his paper and to his surprise I grabbed his little note pad and tore off the first three sheet and flung them at him.All his little jottings now smeared with blood and ruined. I was going to lunge at him.Months of rage and pain and tears.Hot tears. Then I saw the pretty med students face. She looked just as angry at him as I was. She looked like she wanted to reach out and touch me. That brought me back. I took my bag and books and walked out. No one stopped me or even noticed as I climbed up those steps from the buildings basement. I walked out into the freezing air and began to walk. I walked and walked. I made it to the grocery store maybe 4-5 miles away. My legs hurt from the hills and I had frozen matted hair and little frozen tears on my face. It was February. I called my mother in law to come get me. I wiped my face off with a tissue I found waded up in a coat pocket. I opened the van door and climbed in beside her and vowed I would never let any one hurt me or make me that angry again.

We drove home and I told her what happened.We got burger king.I had chicken fries with their weird almost ranch like buffalo sauce. I went home and crawled into bed.

I woke up and picked up Pema Chodron’s ” When Things Fall Apart”

I found one of those crushed jingle bells in the bottom of the bag years later. It still seemed to have blood on it or maybe melted chocolate and it still tried to jingle.

It is treatment like this that leads to the high rates of illness and poor health reported by bisexuals.image

Why go get help for our ridiculously high suicide rates ( 40% of bisexuals have attempted suicide) or go disc louse our sexuality to get treated for health concerns? I have had medical doctors make lewd comments to me if they know, dismiss me wholesale or accuse me of lying. With that kind of treatment no wonder we have the worst health versus the L and G and Straight people!
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A great effort has been made to make medical spaces gay and lesbian friendly. School counselors offices boast “safe space ” sticker s. Many students find out that it is a safe space only for lg people.

A concerted effort must be made to educate medical providers on the realities and the painful impact biphobia and erasure has on bisexual people. These are illnesses, very real and painful caused by the medical and large LG groups ignoring the health and wellness needs of the largest part of the community.

We need a plan. We need to come armed with facts and figures. Because it us clear that they will not do it for us. They would rather silently crush us like a cheap jingle bell until we have no voice.

We need to jingle and be loud in this vast sea to get noticed. We need to be fearless and look at our doctors and therapists and say ” No. You are wrong” We grow up with this idea that doctors and therapists are gods incapable of wrong existing in some sort of pure neutral science bubble, free from bias and personal hate.That bubble is so dirty it is more like a black hole. They are human and their own biphobia, misogyny and other privileges and biases can and DO blind them and cause harm rather then healing.

Stand up. Even if you cry and get angry. You are real a human and you deserve to be heard and treated with respect. Tear up papers if you have to. Get the point across. We are not some sad jingle bell the Bi community is a huge gong banging as we are buffeted about by the waves. Listen for it and take a deep breath and be strong.

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