Fighting Against the Binary Assumption

I came across this post this morning, and, like this one, it got me thinking, particularly this Q&A:

Is bisexual a legit thing or is it a fence-sitting thing for either confused straight girls or half-closeted lesbians? Whether legit or not, does the concept of bi hurt LGBT political equality since the straight majority may see it as fence-sitting, as evidence that being gay is a choice?

I. Love. This. Question!

Many people see bisexuality as someone who’s “unable to choose,” “confused,” or “just waiting to cross over to fully homosexual.” I could not disagree more! There is this thing, and it’s called desire. As humans, we’ve got it. Sexually, we desire to be with people (for the most part), and those people differ per person. Heterosexual people want to be with a sex opposite of their own, because that’s what turns them on. Homosexuals: same, only same sex. It’s basic, when you think about it. So, for a bisexual person, their desires lie with both sexes. And who’s to say that’s not a real thing?

There are those cases that make it difficult for people who strongly identify as bisexual: the BTG (bi til graduation) folks who use their time in their 20s to hook up with lots of people, be it female or male, or for attention at parties… whatever. Those people happen. It’s called life. Maybe they really were legitimately curious — we aren’t here to pass judgment on those people, but they can make it difficult. If someone’s personal experience is only with girls who made out with other girls around a beer pong table to turn on the guy next to them and later take them home, then yeah, it can be frustrating. Coming out as bisexual is incredibly difficult, and can be hard to explain. My bisexual friends are fantastic at explaining themselves: they are very attracted to both sexes for different reasons. I’ve mentioned this before: I have a friend who finds nothing sexier than both a big strong man and a delicate woman’s touch, and that’s what works for her. Who are we to say that isn’t real?

There’s also some crappy shaming that does come from inside of the LGBT community toward bisexual people. I’ve seen it happen, and it sucks. When someone who’s supposed to be on your side wants you to just choose already, it can be disheartening (hello, Alice on The L Word!) and discouraging. It’s unfair for people to assume that all people should feel what they do on any issue, and sexuality is huge. Just because someone is attracted to both sexes (whether they identify as bisexual, pansexual, genderqueer, or anything in between) doesn’t mean that it’s not true for them. There’s some identity-shaming that goes down, both from the straight community who may want things to be cut and dry, and same for the queer community who doesn’t understand why a choice can’t be made. What most people don’t see is that a choice has been made. Bisexual people are choosing to put themselves out there as a person who loves who they love, just as all other people have. It’s not our place to tell them they’re wrong.

- Alison Wisneski, Ask A Lesbian, Vol. 4

I suppose this is another chapter in my ‘You’re Doing it Wrong’ beef I’ve got going on at the moment.

I identify as pansexual and happen to be in a heterosexual marriage.

Being married to J doesn’t magically make me straight. Just like being in any type of relationship doesn’t mean you’re no longer attracted to anyone else outside that relationship.

It doesn’t mean I’m confused, that I just haven’t decided which ‘team’ I’m playing for yet. There aren’t only two sides. Sexuality is a beautiful. fluid spectrum; you may fall anywhere along that spectrum, and you’re position may change over time.

Being in a heterosexual relationship doesn’t take away my legitimacy as a member of the LGBTQ community, though it certainly feels like it. I’m pretty sure if J happened to be female then it would be more acceptable, then I would only be a ‘confused’ lesbian.

I understand my relationship with J, the fact we are even able to get married, gives both of us privilege. But that privilege is only through assumptions of others (which all privilege is I suppose, to a degree). That privilege takes away my identity, makes me invisible.

Exclusion never really benefits anyone, the excluded nor the excluder.

Sour Grapes Don’t Make Good Wine

Through life we each follow our own path. Sometimes that path is rocky and steep, you may have someone there to help you along, you may not; other times it’s pretty smooth and easy, nothing more than a causal stroll. It may be short, it may be long. Each is different, and we only truly know our own.

There is no point getting pissy because you perceive someone else’s path to the same point as easier than yours, that they had a ‘easy in’. It doesn’t invalidate their journey there. It’s also handy to note that perception isn’t always reality. It’s not your path, you don’t really have any idea how things came to be, and you don’t have any right to judge people on your own assumptions.

So what if part of their journey looked easier? The odds are that at some other point, either in the past or the future, you will be the one who has the easier route. Ease of journey doesn’t make anyone more or less superior.

Just because someone does something differently to you, doesn’t mean that they’re doing it wrong. There is no one right way. What if everyone went through the exact same experiences, at the exact same time in their lives? That there was only one way of doing things? Imagine how boring that would be! The same goes for the everyday. It’s impossible to get progress in anything if we all do things the same way.

Sure you can help others by sharing your own experiences, but remember that education is supposed to build and grow, not shut down and restrict. You might have a whole lot of different experiences behind you, but that doesn’t mean that you know everything about anything, nor the best way for someone to get to where they want to be (which may or may not be where you are). Not everyone is able to start at the same level, and people progress at different rates. You were able to jump right up to a high level and have been screaming ahead ever since? Good for you. That doesn’t make you a better person, or a worse person for that matter. It just makes you different to the other guy. And getting stroppy because others might not want to do things the way that you do? Tantrums don’t look cute on two-years olds for very long either.

By refusing to give credence to the experiences and journeys of others, you only succeed in bringing everyone down and making things bitter, while coming across as a self-entitled, toy-throwing, judgmental arsehole. And no one likes an arsehole.

My Rapist was my Boyfriend

There have been a number of conversations lately regarding consent. After reading this article by Tracy Clark-Flory about safewords being ignored, I decided it was time I talked about my own experience.

TRIGGER WARNING: Rape

When I was 23, I was raped.

It took me a long time to realise what happened was in fact rape. I had thought just acknowledging it would be enough to come to terms with what happened, and it did, for a short time. I hope by talking about it now, it will give me some closure, and perhaps stop the same thing from happening to at least one other person.

I was young, inexperienced, naïve and in my first BDSM relationship. French was my Master, and I was his submissive. I was completely infatuated with him, and trusted him completely. I couldn’t talk to anyone else about the relationship, because I was French’s secret mistress, and he didn’t want it getting back to his partner. I got it in my head that because they were having problems, he would leave her for me, and to help that happen, I would do anything to please him.

One night French sent me a text to say he was coming round. I was to meet him at the door completely naked, or we would have anal sex (which we had not had together up until that point, because I was not ready, and had told him so, repeatedly). That was the whole extent of the negotiation. No discussion of safewords, hard limits, or anything else. I didn’t think I would ever never a safeword. Why would I? I (thought I) was in love with French, and trusted him completely. He would never force me to do anything I didn’t want to do. Would he?

I was living in a flat by myself at this point. So I had no safety back up, someone to help me make sure nothing went wrong. Again, I didn’t think I would need to.

I sat on the couch, naked under my bathrobe, eagerly awaiting French’s arrival. He knocked, I disrobed, and opened the door. I thought (mistakenly) that this would show him that I truly had no desire to engage in any anal sex with him that night.

French led me to my bedroom. Some foreplay ensued. He grabbed a condom, put it on. Then it happened. He flipped me over onto my front and pinned me down. I tried to get away, while saying “No! I don’t want to!” He ignored my pleas, even though consensual non-consent was not part of our dynamic (I didn’t even know such a thing existed). There was no preparation, no lube. I stopped struggling, and lay there silently, trying to move into a position where maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much, just wanting it to be over.

When he was finished, I felt numb, unsure what had just happened. Rape never even crossed my mind, after all, he was my boyfriend. Boyfriends don’t rape their girlfriends.

I ignored whatever I was feeling. Dirty. Used. After putting my bathrobe back on, I joined French on the couch, and we watched Project Runway together. And he went home.

A couple of weeks later, French and I parted ways. I had met J, and, after falling for him completely (for real this time), wanted to be exclusive.

About two years later, French got in contact with me again. By this point I had realised the true extent of what had happened, and I told him as such. He sheepishly said he didn’t realise, and had just gotten caught up in the moment. I believe that was his “apology.” I have not talked to him since, and have no desire too.

I know now that I, in no way, deserved what happened to me. I had followed the rules, and he had taken advantage of my innocence.

I don’t regret what happened though, it has helped make me who I am today, and I’m pretty ok with that person.

I’m Fat!? I Never Noticed!!

How could I have been so completely blind? Living in my own fantasy world!?

Thanks to Stuff.co.nz, people now have the tools to tell us fatties what we obviously did not already know.

To quote Tallulah from over at The Lady Garden:

Because there’s no such thing as a stigma against fat people, some days, it slips my mind that I am overweight. You see, I don’t ever get random abuse shouted at me on the street. The fact that I can only shop in about 5% of the clothes shops in my city in no way makes me feel like I’ve been corralled off into some paddock where the un-sexy fatties go to pig out and wear unflattering clothes. Buying clothes on the internet, and the extra cost involved, and hit-and-miss nature of it, passes me by. Going on that traditionally “girly” expedition, Shopping, with friends of “normal” sizes, in NO WAY feels like torture. I don’t ever end up buying, like, a $100 scarf, just to feel like “one of the girls”. And I certainly don’t own masses of shoes and scarfs and jewellery, because they’re the Fat Girl’s Consolation.

Read the rest of her post here.

Apparently “most adults do not see a problem in themselves but will see it in somebody else”, but ‘experts’ also say, “you should tell overweight friends or family that they need to slim down.” Do they not see the slight conflict of interest here? Or is it just me?

Ah, concern trolling. Who has not experienced some form of this? They mean no harm of course, they’re ‘just concerned about you.’ Some even go as far to say that you must be suffering from some kind of body dysmorphia, seeing beauty where, you know, it just isn’t there. How dare you be happy with the way you look, or even consider getting upset when you are told that you shouldn’t be.

People have no right to their own ideals on others. This counts for religion, political beliefs (not always separate), preferred hair colouring, music tastes, body type… the list goes on and on.

Why must we always feel the duty to pass judgment on each other?

H/T Tallulah