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Ahahah. Took me a while. Here is more thinky thoughts that emerged from watching Alice and drinking too much coffee and thinking about fandom and slash and queerness. More to come if I ever get around to writing it.

Rambly thoughts on being a queer girl and also into guys, and the term bisexual.

So. Lots of people who are into both guys and girls don't like the term bisexual. I don't personally mind it very much. Sometimes I use it because people find it easy to understand and again, I don't really mind it. But I do agree with a lot of the reasons that people have for not liking it. Especially the bit about implying that I accept that gender and sex are binary, that my attraction to people is based on that binary and that I wouldn't be attracted to someone if they did not fall into that binary.

I like the word queer, a lot. But I find that I don't use very much except with people who already know more detail than that. And I guess the ambiguity is part of the point of the term, and part of the appeal. And really I don't think it bothers me very much if straight people are a little confused by it. If they know me at all, they'll know they can ask for clarification without it bothering me. And anyway, it conveys the relevant information of 'not straight' pretty well. The existence of my (male) partner usually conveys the 'into guys' part rather effectively for the side of things.

However, I sometimes feel a little weird using around other not-straight people at first, especially because of the (male) partner thing. It sort of feels like I'm presenting myself as something I'm not, and I wanted to deconstruct that feeling.

Part of it is the internalization of the weird messages that queer communities sometimes send people who are into people of the opposite sex and gender[1]. Like we're not 100% queer. Or like we're not queer while we're with people of the opposite sex+gender. Or like we somehow need to prove that we actually are into people of the same sex/gender. Or as if we need to be completely equally attracted to guys and girls. Or like we're slutty. Or unreliable. Or just toying with the people who are actually queer for real. Or like we have a choice and are somehow making light of other people's situations in which they do not have a choice.

And obviously those messages are problematic and hurtful. But part of the problem, and I think part of why they stick with me so much is that they are based in some pretty understandable issues.

I don't believe that I am less queer because I like guys. I don't believe that I need to have slept with women to know that I like women (although I have). I don't think that having a long term partner who happens to be a guy means that I no longer qualify as queer, even if we didn't sleep with other people (which we do). However, whether these things have an impact on my personal identity, they do definitely have an impact on the way people see me and hence on the way I experience the heteronormative system we live in.

I have a set of experiences that are different from those of some queer people. I do not live in a world with less homophobia, but I do have less of it directed intentionally at me, than say, my best friend who is a lesbian. This is not the experience of all queer people who like people of the opposite sex+gender, but it is the experience of some of them.

Because I have a long term partner who happens to be a guy, I can always choose to hide the fact that I'm queer without hiding that relationship. I wouldn't even have to deny anything, I just have to not bring it up and people will assume. This is, again, not the experience of all queer people who like people of the opposite sex+gender, but it is mine. And it does mean that my experience of oppression and privilege in a heteronormative, homophobic world has been different from some queer people's.

In terms of proving myself, I still don't believe I should have to. But, on the other hand:
I can feel like I know that I like women. Or in fact that a person's gender or sex is just not a limiting factor of my attraction to them. This can be true. It doesn't erase the number of people who have told someone they're bi or queer (or whatever) to be interesting/cool/attractive to guys (or girls, if they're guys)/I don't know. I wish I could say this doesn't happen, I like to accept however people choose to identify themselves, but yeah, it does.

It also doesn't erase the number of genuinely curious people who have come to identify as straight, and ended up hurting someone through their curiosity. I definitely think that people should try things out if they're curious and that sexuality is not a fixed thing, but one that can and does change over time. However, I am aware that there's a difference between a woman being left by a guy who decides he's gay and a woman being left by a girl who decides she's straight. They both have the potential to hurt a lot, but one has a different sort of systemic weight behind it.

So yeah, it pisses me off when people don't trust me. Or when they think I don't count. But on some levels I get where it comes from, I guess.

So sometimes when I say that I'm bi, I don't really mean that I'm attracted to both sides of a binary (men and women). I mean that I sort of have two sets of experiences. One of being heterosexual (in a very loose sense of 'into people of the opposite sex+gender' rather than in the standard sense of 'only into people of the opposite sex+gender') and one of being queer.

So I guess if I'm bisexual my two sexualities are not 'into men' and 'into women', but rather 'straight' and 'not-straight', if that makes any sense. And yeah, still not my favourite term and not really how I see myself. But that's what I'm often trying to convey when I use it, and this why I often feel the need to.

[1]Er, I'm never quite sure about what terms (sex or gender) to use with regards to straightness. But upon reflection, I think I'm gonna go with both for this, because I think that if you're attracted to people of the same sex or people of the same gender you're getting pretty clearly outside of the traditional boundaries of 'straight'.

Also, continuing in the vein of my Alice obsession, I am so close to finishing a podfic, I can almost taste it. More podfic!


izzady: Graffiti loves you (Default)

November 2013

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