Pride as Therapy for Shame

This is my contribution for the June 2020 Carnival of Aces, hosted by aspecofdest, the topic being pride. 

Sometimes I really hate being asexual. Yes, I’m aware that’s a depressing way to start a post on pride in one’s orientation.

Just when I start to think I’m totally comfortable with how I identify, something unearths my heaps of internalized shame and feelings of inadequacy related to my romantic and sexual orientations.                                                                                                     I recently met another awesome ace through a queer dating app, and, as a part of my ongoing attempt to be more authentically myself, I gushed about her to my mother almost immediately. She ended up walking in on one of our Instagram video chats, got to talk to her briefly, really liked her, and is now shipping us hard as a couple.                     This unexpected turn of events has yielded a new crop of uncomfortable questions, such as, “I know some asexuals masturbate, can they get off?” and, on an even more cringey note, “What exactly would you want in a relationship, physically? Hugging? Hand holding? Kissing? I understand asexuality’s a spectrum, would you want any genital contact or groping?”

My 18 self would have been thrilled that she took my identity seriously enough to ask such questions. Yet here I am, just uncomfortable as hell.                                        The day after this uncomfortable turn of interrogation took place, I realized that a good portion of my discomfort was shame. This was solidified when, a couple nights later, my mother reported a revision of my identity to our neighbor, Angela. If you’ve been with me for a while and have the patience of a god (seriously, whhyyyyyyy didn’t you break this post into 2 parts, past self????) you may remember Angela from Being Openly Asexual, Openly Gay, and Equally Proud.

After some pestering from Angela about attractive German men, I essentially outed myself as gay, leaving out my asexuality because 1. I didn’t think it was relevant and 2. Coming out as gay is aaaaaaalways easier than coming out as asexual.

So, my mother had gone over to Angela’s for a drink, they began talking, and I came up. I’m going to be moving out of my parents’ home (hallelujuah) in under a month, and Angela inquired if I knew anyone in the region I’m going to be moving to. My mom told her about a potential love interest who I met online, going on to explain that I’m asexual and so is she. She gave her a brief – and pretty terrible – explanation of asexuality, and then left because it was getting late.                                                                                      Maybe it was the explanation of asexuality as a lack of a sex drive that my mother provided that had me cringing, but I think that it has more to do with internalized aphobia. A recent doctor’s visit drives this theory home.

I mentioned the presumed need for STI vaccinations in my last post Virginity is Not Immaturity and my awkward, shrill declaration that they wouldn’t be necessary killed the topic during that particular appointment, but I didn’t see any guarantees for the follow up.  I saw essentially two options for explanation: out myself as ace, either with or without explicitly using the label, but definitely say that I did not desire intercourse with anyone of any gender, or out myself as a lesbian by saying I wasn’t sexually attracted to men (true) and if she pushed the question about women, say that if I were to have sex with anyone, it would be a woman – which is true, if I were to engage in intercourse, it would be with a woman, likely in an attempt to make a relationship with an allosexual work.  None of my explanations would have been a lie, but the degree to which I was leaning toward lesbianism as an explanation for my not needing STI vaccines was a bright red shame flag in hindsight. (Fun fact, I did some research on vaccines, and the most common one is for HPV it appears, which can be transmitted through non-penetrative sex acts. My small fib wouldn’t have gotten me out of vaccine talk.)                     Every time I imagined outing myself as ace to my doctor, I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach distinct from the usual nerves. I felt that same sinking when my mother told me she outed me as ace to Angela. I had been happy with imagining me as just your typical lesbian, and once she saw the whole picture, some sexless freak who can’t experience love the way everyone else does, I felt ashamed.                                             I keep reminding myself that asexuals are so constantly bombarded with the message that we don’t fit, be it lack of representation (or terrible representation) in media, the highly sexual nature of advertising, or, for romantic aces, how sex is taken for granted as a part of healthy, mature relationships, that it makes perfect sense to have so much shame about this aspect of myself.                                                                                                 Even the definition of asexuality as a lack, a gaping hole, opens people up to shame. I think a better way of defining asexuality would be to characterize it as a difference in desired connection – emotional rather than genital.

When I first realized my romanticism, there was quite a bit of fear and shame, but also a feeling of relief. I had the hope that someday I would have a relationship to talk about, something to fill the hole of an identity characterized by lack, something that, on the surface, to the outside eye, would make me look just a little more normal.

Even though my romanticism has been a muuuuuuuch easier thing than my asexuality, there definitely still is some shame there. My local Barnes and Noble recently opened, and whilst browsing for the first time in a long while, I noticed they had set up a display for pride month. I quickly became aware that I was self conscious about looking at it and trying my best to appear like I was just looking in the general direction of the display and not directly at it – I say I’m proud of being homoromantic, and yet I don’t want to be “caught” looking at a pride display. How far does the internalized homophobia go? That’s a good question.

I bought a rainbow Barnes and Noble book bag and forced myself to walk with it clearly in view, not at all hidden by my purse. On my way out to my car, I realized this display of pride merch was a kind of “fake it till you make it”, somehow I’ve been doing with my ace ring for a loooong time. It’s been so long, I’ve gotten used to the weight of a ring on my right hand. It’s been so long, become such a routine accessory, I’ve forgotten why I initially started wearing it. I realized recently that bought the vast majority of my pride jewelry – ace and gay – just after my two coming outs to myself, long before I felt any kind of bold, active pride. It seems I have long used pride jewelry as a “fake it till you make it”.

In honor of pride month, I bought myself myself a new ace pride ring – not a traditional plain black band, but a heart with the ace flag. The plain black band became just another piece of jewelry to me as the years passed and my shame ebbed and flowed, but this one is loud – a reminder to myself that my wearing this ring is an act of self love, a shove against my self directed aphobia, and a clear beacon to other aces that they are not alone. It is becoming more and more clear to me that I am not the proud ace role model I wish to be, and I’m hoping that having an image of pride clear on my right hand will serve as the gentle shove I need to be the activist I once dreamed of being.

 

Until next time,

keep on Aceing It.

 

 

Virginity is Not Immaturity

I am a 23 year old asexual virgin. I am not celibate, I am not “saving myself” for marriage, I masturbate on a fairly regular basis, and know myself well enough to know that I do not desire intercourse with another human being and that I likely would not enjoy it. Whenever I am in awkward situations where revealing my lack of sexual experience and sometimes lack of desire is necessary, the information is always met with a furrowed brow and subsequent jumpy behavior and sometimes even a demanding, disbelieving, “Never?” A similar situation occurred roughly two weeks ago. I started seeing a new doctor recently for issues completely unrelated to anything gynecological or sex related yet, to my displeasure, at the end of my last visit she insisted I needed to have a pelvic exam – I was supposed to have one at 21 but, not being active and not desiring one, past doctors never pushed it – when the dreaded question came, “Have you ever been active?” I answered no, and to my surprise, her face didn’t register any signs of surprise or disbelief. I attribute this to her being from a generation for was much bigger on “saving yourself for marriage” – the cross around her neck backed up my suspicion that she assumed I was “saving” myself. She immediately launched her next heteronormative attack, saying that even if I didn’t get a pap smear, I should be vaccinated (I assume for STIs). Not having prepared myself for coming out and potentially giving asexuality 101 to my doctor, I simply replied, my voice a dozen nervous octaves above my natural tone, “That really isn’t necessary.” It was only after my soprano denial that her attitude shifted. Not just slightly – there were no furrowed brows, now, “Are you sure?” Her discomfort at dealing with an adult who hadn’t – and presumably didn’t want – to have intercourse was palpable. Being nearly three times my age, she dropped an occasional “sweetie” and it was after my reveal of my desire for perpetual virginity that her sweeties and honeys became softer and almost pitying. Perhaps she assumed that I didn’t want to get the vaccines because I didn’t think that anyone would find me attractive, hence her pity. Perhaps I was being too sensitive, but I doubt it.
The fact of the matter is, once a person reaches 21 or so, being a virgin is considered shameful and an indicator of immaturity. I wasn’t aware of just how much I had internalized this message until I (finally) hosted a successful ace meetup right before the pandemic hit.                                                                                                                                          It was me, a 45 year old woman, and a woman in her mid to late thirties. It didn’t take long for the conversation to get deep, and it was revealed we were all virgins. Despite myself, I just couldn’t belief that the two grown women in front of me had never done any experimenting – and I was quickly disgusted with myself. I have always been one to say that you don’t need to experiment to know who you are and are not attracted to, and yet I had the same kind of attitude I hated toward two of my fellow aces.                          This post is for myself as well as anyone else who needs the reassurance/ reminder: virginity is not an indicator of immaturity. For those who have needed to experiment to come to terms with how they identify, you are completely valid and I in no way, shape or form mean to shame you. For anyone who just wants to be sure their first time is with someone special, don’t let anyone get in your head and make you do something you don’t truly want to do. For all of those who have been made to feel childish or less than for being a virgin or for simply not banging every single person they’re attracted to, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Not everyone feels the need to go to grad school, or run a marathon, or get married and/or have children for that matter, just like not everyone feels the need to experiment and/or have copious amount of intercourse. Everyone has different life paths, and it’s about time we stop shaming people for not doing things they don’t want to simply because that activity brings other people satisfaction.                                                                                                                                         Sex is not one-size- fits- all.                                                                                                                 To all the virgins out there: THERE. IS. ABSOLUTLEY. NOTHING. WRONG. WITH. YOU. Society needs to shut the hell up with it’s compulsory intercourse.

You do you, don’t do anything you don’t want to.

Until next time,

happy pride, keep on Aceing It.

A Moment With a Black Asexual Woman

zora.medium.com/amp/p/30fbfb018ad4

With it being Pride month, I couldn’t think of a better time to break my blog hiatus, but before I get back to exercising my voice, I first must amplify a black one.

The link above is to a very quick, informative read about the hyper-sexualization of black women and the challenges that presents for asexual black women.

Recent events are leaving my heart heavy and aching for people of color. As an American, I am often ashamed at the state of my country, but I don’t think that has never been more true than this moment. We can do better. We must do better.

Black and brown lives matter, black and voice voices need to be heard.

Danielle

Quarantine Part 1: Hard Truths and Silver Linings

This is my submission for the May Carnival of Aces, hosted by The Asexual Agenda, the subject being “Quarantine”.

These past two and a half months have been some of the most tumultuous of my life, but they have not been completely without benefit.                                                                             I was given five days notice that I had to move out of my college dorm. This was my last semester at my community college, a little school I have grown to love immensely, and to be so suddenly torn away from the place I had come to call home was absolutely heart breaking.                                                                                                                                                  I was resilient, however, and resolved that being back home with my parents wouldn’t be completely without benefit. Being forced to slow down may actually be a good thing – with no where to go, I could get back into reading like I used to, relive my high school afternoon routine and hike the trails around my house, take up painting, get back into mediation now that I had a private room of my own and relative quiet.                           Only one problem – once classes went online, the workload nearly doubled. It is possible my mind may have been playing tricks on me, but my work definitely took me twice the time it usually did – and considering I’m not speedy, that’s saying something.

As the weeks went on and the instant, motivating escape of studying in coffeeshops remained out of reach, my mind went ever slower – assuming I could find the concentration to do my required reading and essays at all – my energy levels dropped, and suddenly, getting anything done in a day was an accomplishment. With such limited physical and mental energy, I convinced myself that any pleasure writing or even a few pages of a book was a waste of time – school had to come first.

Talking with my friends, they relating to my trouble concentrating whilst stuck at home – but they were still doing the things. Yes, quarantine had affected the, but it wasn’t completely destroying their ability to be productive. Comparisons only served to deepen my depression. I was just lazy and undisciplined, I determined. I just had to work harder, but no push was hard enough. I inevitably just. Couldn’t. Get there.                            

Whilst having intense mental difficulties, my physical health also declined. I had frequent headaches, which isn’t unusual, but these headaches were accompanied by bone deep fatigue and weakness so great that I nearly fainted one night while trying to make dinner. After nearly two weeks of hardly getting out of bed, I went to see a doctor. It took a bit to diagnose the root of my chronic fatigue and weakness, but the cognitive issues were clear to my physician. ADD, an apparently outdated term for ADHD that lacks the hyperactive component.

Once my knee-jerk, stigma-poisoned reaction of “oh no, that can’t be me” passed and I actually thought it through, it made perfect sense. I always finished all my class work last in elementary school. During my brief athletic career, I was the little girl in the outfield watching the butterflies, oblivious to the game taking place, utterly in her own world. My first grade teacher lost it one day and fiercely told me to “grow up and get some self control” because I was physically incapable of not daydreaming in class. Group work in high school was nightmarish because I could never seem to keep up with my workmates – I got distracted by how my writing could be neater, or by thoughts of what I was going to do when I got home, or some conversation I had with my best friend at lunch, etc. etc. I lost a stocking job because I couldn’t keep up with the other workers. It often takes me longer to organize my thoughts for essays (or blog posts, hence my sporadic posting) than it does to actually write them.

Ding!

Ding!

Ding!

Ding! 

All these years spent quietly berating myself for being lazy and stupid simply because my brain works differently than most.

From the research I’ve done, ADHD in girls is often overlooked – a teacher is more likely to notice a little boy bouncing off the walls than a little girl who physically can not pay attention.

In general, females are told our problems don’t matter – we have to be half dead before anyone will take our pain seriously. If I think too much about how many years of frustration I could have been saved had I been properly diagnosed earlier, I can feel my face start to heat.

One silver lining of this quarantine – being trapped augmented my ADHD symptoms. Whilst telling my doctor about how I am so often physically incapable of concentrating, how I kill myself trying to keep up with my overachieving friends and just can’t, how I feel like I’m wasting my life living it in slow motion, I burst into tears which in turn got my problems taken seriously. I have talked briefly with other doctors about my concentration issues and chronic fatigue in a highly composed fashion, and I can’t convey how many times and in how many different ways I’ve been dismissed.

Extreme circumstances made me more extreme – being a women, sometimes you’ve gotta be extreme to be noticed.

As for the fatigue and weakness, it all comes down to vitamin D – or, in my case, lack thereof. Turns out I’m only getting 50 percent of the vitamin D I need.

When I first heard the news, I was tempted to call B.S. – but after some research, I found that literally all of my physical problems, down to the budding arthritis in my thumbs and pinkies, can be traced back to vitamin D deficiency. I was brutally honest with myself and realized just how badly not only my mental health, but also my physical health, gets neglected.

Living at home before the dorms, I was constantly nagged to take my stupidly expensive, high quality vitamins – I was always too busy. This semester at school, I always planned on getting outside and hiking the forest trails behind the school, but I always had just too much schoolwork to do. I planned on pleasure reading on the lawn in the sun (prime source of vitamin D) umpteen times, but was just too busy. I planned on taking a yoga mat outside some weekend when campus was deserted, but was just too busy. I planned on buying big groceries and cooking instead of constantly eating out, but – do I need to say it? No time.                                                                                                                                   The list goes on, and on, and on.                                                                                                         I neglect my body and work my poor, exhausted, neurologically atypical brain past exhaustion, then I expect it to do everything the way a neurotypical brain would. Not only is it not realistic, but it’s rather cruel. Quarantine has really driven home for me that, as I said in my 7 Things I Wish I Had Known 7 Years Ago About Mental Health, self care is more than bubble baths and Netflix – not that I’ve been giving myself even those little luxuries.                                                                                                                                     Self care is taking your vitamins. Self care is drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning instead of diving for the coffee pot. Self care is stretching instead of staying in bed ten more minutes. Self care is getting enough exercise, managing your stress, taking the time to go to the doctor to get crap diagnosed instead of just pushing through the pain. The body and the mind are intertwined, and it is terrifying just how much long term stress can effect a person. Stress can not only affect the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food, but lower bone density, elevate secretions of insulin in the pancreas, which can lead to diabetes. Stress can cause inflammation that not only leads to depression, but also memory loss.

Here are some articles to check out if you want more info:

All About Absorption

10 Organs In The Body Affected By Stress

https://www.popsci.com/chronic-stress-causes-inflammation-in-brain/

Quarantine has been brutal, honestly. Even before excrement hit the fan, I was having some intense familial issues. Quarantine only served to augment things – but it also forced me to realize that, even when I’m forced to slow down, I still don’t make taking care of myself a priority. I have neglected my body, and in turn my mind, for far too long. The neglect finally caught up with me. My mantra when it comes to what I’m beginning to think of as “mundane self care” (little actions like drinking enough water and getting proper nutrition) is no longer “I don’t have the time”. It’s now something like “I don’t have the time not to”. Ugh. I really wanted something catchy to end with, but I think my point is conveyed.

 

Until next time (which will not be months away),

keep safe, keep sane, keep health.

Danielle

 

Fears and Failures

This is my submission for the October Carnival of Aces, the subject being “reaching out, reaching in”. 

If you told me even twelve months ago what I was embarking to do last Sunday at 1p.m., I would have raised my eyebrows and stared in awed, polite unbelief.

I hosted an ace meetup.

Well, I tried to. I moved the location to a Starbucks across the street at the last minute due to the previous venue being unbelievably, claustrophobically crowded and unexpectedly pricy, and no one showed.

I doubt it was due to the venue change. I had been trying to enthuse members of the Facebook ace group I started late last year to meet in person for at least a month, querying for the best times for people, and three comments on my posts was outstanding engagement.

The only ace meetup listed for all of Northern California on meetup.com went AWOL last year and, utterly disappointed, I did what I could. I first tried to subtly guilt the members into sharing the annual fees with me so we could keep the meetup going (uncharacteristic, but I was broke and the thought of the only ace meetup in my region dying was unbearable) and when that failed, I created a Facebook group and captured as many members from the meetup group as I could. Several friended me on Facebook, and it’s amazing how encouraging it is to see posts from people (even ones unrelated to ace issues) who share this small part of me. Just the hope of future in person connection was uplifting.

I was predictably nervous as I drove to a mostly unfamiliar city to meet mostly unfamiliar people and do something that is completely unfamiliar to me – lead a social event. Well, that’s not completely true. I was the president of high school’s poetry club – and it was under my leadership that it fizzled out and died. Yeah. Not real confidant in my leadership abilities.

Getting out of bed Sunday morning, I prayed profusely and repeated what is becoming my motto – don’t regret not doing it later, do it scared now. I donned cat ears that I found in a costume store that, miraculously, were ace pride colors, posted and identifying picture to the Facebook group and said that if anyone were to come to the venue of the meetup and see a weirdo in cat ears to please come keep her company.

img_5270

The thirty minute drive, I repeated my positive attributes over and over, and reminded myself that I am capable and a likeable person – something I learned from a self-help book for social anxiety that is proving to be more effective than years of talking to a counselor.

Even after struggling to find the first venue and quickly discerning that it wasn’t as nearly the spacious, casual place that Google had led me to belief and moving the meetup to across the street ten minutes before it was scheduled to begin, I was hopeful. But as three stretched to three thirty and finally four, I had to face the music. No one was coming.

I had had a gut feeling all morning that the meetup was going to be an epic failure, something I dismissed as my standard state of perpetual anxiety, but it had turned out that my constant inner critic had judged correctly. As I departed the Starbucks, unable to sit alone any longer and made to find another café to settle down in and study, the dejection really started to set in. I had put myself waaaaaaay out there, and no one had put in the effort to show. Logically, I knew that wasn’t the case for everyone. Two people had said they were going to be out of town, several others had to work or had previous engagements with family, etc. I had known this first meet up was going to be small, perhaps one or two people, and I was totally prepared for that.

And of course I had considered the possibility that no one would show – but I wasn’t prepared for the reality of sitting alone at a table, watching as Starbucks filled with midafternoon students and socializers, making cheerful, awkward eye contact with every stranger who walked in the door and hoping that they would see the purple dragon badge on my backpack, smile as they remembered the posts saying to look for a dragon badge and cat ears on the Facebook page they had joined for a sense of belonging when the world made them feel constantly alienated, and come sit by me. I was not prepared for the disappointment of loneliness not being filled, but that loneliness, that sitting in a crowded space where I was 99 percent sure that I was the only asexual present (possibly the only queer person period) reminded me why I had set out that day in the first place.

As I drove around the city, determined to find an interesting café or restaurant so as not to have wasted a trip, the thought why the hell did you think you could do it? crept in. People aren’t your thing, of course you were going to miserably f up at this. I immediately recognized the voice as anxiety and not my rational mind, and I told it that I did not fail. I did exactly as I had set out to do that day – I had done my best to find a time that worked for as many people, told them a location, and I went there. Yes, I should have checked out the location before hand, but it wasn’t exactly in my backyard, and the new location was very accessible – nothing that would be burdensome if anyone was already at the previous venue. I had alerted the group as to my reasoning for changing, apologized profusely, and waited patiently. I had tried. I had done everything in my power to make the day a success. I had done what I had set out to do, even though I had been scared to do it, and several people had posted saying that they regretted not being able to come that day and to have fun. They had put in the effort that they could to make a connection, and that effort could very likely translate to the physical world in the future. I had done all I could, and hopefully I had made some online strangers excited about the future – maybe even someone at Starbucks recognized the colors on my badge for what they are.

Something I’ve come to realize in the past couple years is that I crave connection, truly, truly crave it, but connection takes effort – effort that I wasn’t mentally healthy enough to put in until very recently. My recent efforts to make connections with people I encounter in my day-to-day life have proved surprisingly successful, and I refuse to let this minor setback detour me – I’m sure there are people who need this support system for asexuality way more than I do, and I refuse to let them down. I will continue to do it scared.  

 

Happy Ace Week!

Until next time,

Keep oooooon Aceing It!

Asexuality and Pregnancy

Happy Ace Awareness Week! I just wanted to take second to explore something I don’t often hear discussed in the community: pregnancy and asexuality.

I recently stumbled across a charming (and by charming, I mean soothing to my gothic soul) Tumblr blog, and one post in particular made my day. Eliza, the owner of aforementioned blog, is asexual, married to a man, and at the time of this post, was expecting her first child. She received a (surprisingly respectful) letter essentially claiming that her pregnancy and public asexuality  condoned rape.

Her response was extremely eloquent, and I’m not going to attempt to paraphrase its contents. It is very breif, here it is stright from the horse’s (or, in this case talented bloger’s) mouth: https://elisaintime.tumblr.com/post/93616866312/asexual-and-pregnant-and-thats-okay.

I do want to share just one thought provoking quote: “It’s true I’ve never given ‘enthusiastic consent’ to sex, but I have given loving, content, peaceful consent.” The bathrooms of the college I attend are plastered with posters reminding that consent to sex is “enthusiastic and ongoing”, and while I think defining consent more deeply than a lack of an arbitrary “no” is totally necessary, this post definitely has me wondering if the “enthusiastic” definition of consent is potentially problematic when applied to asexuals who willing (if not enthusiastically) engage in intercourse. Honestly, my brain is too fried from midterms to go into more depth, but I have a feeling this question will be in my head for a while, and if any of you have opinions, I would love to hear them.

 

Happy Asexual Awareness Week!

Until next time,

Keep ooooooon Aceing It!

 

Bi Visibility Day

Happy bi visibility day!

In the past year I have discovered that two people I care deeply about are bisexual, and it’s opened my eyes to just how much still needs to be done for bisexual/biromantic visibility. It blows my mind that in this day and age, so many people still cling the idea that there are only two options for sexual orientation: heterosexual or homosexual.

I can recall distinctly recall one such incidence from highschool. I was in a youth group bible study and, as usual, the conversation topic had drifted from the Bible to school drama. The topic of the night was Connor Dean, an overfriendly boy who I knew from drama and who my church friend, Rachel, knew from biology. I don’t remember how the conversation about him began, but Rachel brought up at some point that she was sure he was gay because he was constantly exchanging flirty pictures with guys via snapchat in class. I shared, a tad confused, that he had smacked my butt at the beginning of the year, so I was pretty sure he was attracted to girls (true story, and in the moment I was too shocked to do anything). Rachel commented that it sounded like he was confused, and several girls muttered in agreement.                                                            

I shared a class with him the next semester and witnessed him attempted to work his charms on some boys in class and at one point heard him describe himself as being gay, but “really hot girls made him straight.” Looking back at the whole situation, I am facepalming. There’s a word for that, Connor. It’s called being bisexual; no, one does not need to experience perfect fifty fifty attraction between the traditional binary genders in order to be bi. I am all for choosing the label that best resonates with you. For me personally, I go with homoromantic despite the fact that I have experienced weak romantic attraction for a handful of men. Only you can label yourself, but when your label puts people down or makes a community look bad, perhaps it is time to reconsider. To shed some clarity on the previous comment, I’ve come across YouTube rants from lesbians complaining about self labeled lesbians who seek out relationships with men as well as women, claiming that it makes the community look bad and sends the message to certain men that a women saying she’s gay still means he has a shot with her; perhaps in this situations “bisexual” really would be the best label.      

I had told my mother about the butt smacking situation shortly after it happened, and her first response had been to tell me to go to my teacher and tell him what happend. Her second response was to say, “Well, if I was a teenage boy, I probably would do the same thing”,  and her third response was “aww, your first time being touched that way” (can you smell the rape culture poisoning wafting off of her?) Anyway, back to the topic of biphobia. I told her about Connor’s flirting with boys in class, and how I supposed he was gay after all and had been using me as some kind of disgusting way to explore -this was far before I knew I was queer and I knew next to nothing about the LGBTQIA community. I threw in that I was a bit confused because of the straight for a select number of girls comment, and my mother’s input was, “Some people just want attention.”

I am in no way trying to demonize bisexual/romantic people with story above. Yes, I realize Connor is a rather unsympathetic character, but I couldn’t think of any better story to illustrate the widespread and at times internal nature of biphobia. Bisexual people make up roughly fifty percent of the LGBTQIA community (yes, 50 percent) and yet there is still such silence around bisexuality. In the media, there are a plethora of characters displaying attraction for men and for women, but I’ve noticed the word bisexual is seldom used.

                                                                               I recently found myself getting roped into the show “Roswell, New Mexico”, and was pleased to discover that one of the alien characters was gay, and that there was absolutely no tip toeing around his relationship with a man – their love scene was represented with as much intensity as any of the straight characters’. Near the end of the season, aforementioned “gay” alien has a fling with a woman. His brother of sorts finds out and is rather confused and initially responses with something along the lines of, “Wait, I thought you were gay.” Michael smirks and answers, “We’re aliens, and you’re trying to impose an outdated sexual binary on me? I’m bisexual.” Not gonna lie, this scene made me sequel with joy. Damn right, the binary views of sexuality and gender are outdated. Words are powerful, as is representation, and I hope small steps like this will lead to big acceptance of all parts of the LGBTQIA community, and that someday everyone will be able to see their identity reflected back to them. To all the bi people out there (including biromantics, of course!) you are valid, you are beautiful as you are, and those who are too ignorant and small minded to understand you will one day catch up – or we’ll one day be able to successfully time travel and send them back to the Stone Age – I’m joking. Sort of.

 

Until next time,

Keep on aceing it!

This Remains

This is the wedding band I would give to you, if you were mine.

Fourteen dollars at a consignment store,

at a glance sparse,

kind of like you.

Sockets that once held jewels span three quarters around the perimeter,

encircled by dots that give the illusion of sad,

colorless,

lifeless daisies.

Still, one jewel remains,

toward the end, not the center,

just as my hope for us remains in the dark depths of my heart and far in the future.

img_4991

It was an utter impulse purchase,

made because I didn’t like the felling of my empty left hand.

Kind of like meeting you,

a jump made because I didn’t like the feeling of my empty insides

and hoped that you would fill them.

You and I fit so nicely,

bold, thoughtful skepticism and thoughtful, fearful faith.

 

I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up before my heart breaks.

The antiquated splendor has been replaced by cold white walls,

but the river we walked by still flows.

The jewels have been displaced, but a sparkle among dead daisies remains.

img_4983