Monday, 13 June 2011

Not quite as isolated now

I know I said I wouldn't be contributing much yesterday but I've read an excellent comment during a discussion about homophobia describing the experience of growing up bisexual. The comment was posted on The Guardian's CiF section by ThePaladin, a user who has also helped to teach me one or two things about quantum physics in past discussions (we're a very varied bunch on there). Here is his response to the idea that being anything except heterosexual is unnatural:

"The word unnatural has been abused for far too long.

I wish I could put into words just how confusing the entire situation is to people who don't genuinely understand it.

Imagine if for most of your life, you have been bombarded since birth with this one word - girlfriend. It's a mystery to you for the first ten years of your life. You look at them as just the long haired other people. A bit more giggly than you, perhaps, but not anything really different. You hit twelve or thirteen, and sure enough, something stirs.

Yet it doesn't stir in quite the right way. The bombardment continues. Guys pick off girlfriends, girls pick off boyfriends and floating around on the outside is you. Awkward. Unable to really understand what it is is going on.

Then one day a boy catches your eye and you don't expect it. It stirs something. It goes against everything you've ever been told to expect. The media tells you time and time again how things are supposed to happen. You're supposed to get older, fall in love (an imperfect concept if there ever was one) and spawn 2.4 children. Thing is, no matter what you do, you cannot take your eye off them. You try and rationalise it. He looks girly, maybe. Mine had this lovely blonde hair that actually makes me shiver to think about it now, and he grew up into someone very, very handsome.

You kiss a guy. You kiss a girl. They feel the same. Porn and media and even family attachments secretly desire you to want women - you even get used to the objectification of women in a totally different way than you do men, but occasionally something slices straight through that. Most recently for me it was Pep Guardiola - who wouldn't want a man like him? Look at him. He's got the most delightful eyes, a wonderful shaven hair cut and just lips and a body to die for.

Yet I still like women. I can't explain it.

It is very simple when you have a gender and sexual identity you can conform to. Let's say you were straight and your Alex never happened to you. There is no doubt in your mind. You love women. That's great for you. Same with gay men. Sure their route is much harder, but eventually you settle down and realize that, while you have a smaller pool to choose from, you are comfortable with that.

Bisexuals never have that luxury. We have the stigma of being wrongly blamed for spreading AIDs between continents, people, and communities (where most people believe it's a gay disease and don't understand why). We are disgusting. We are fence sitting indecisives that can't make a choice in a society that loves firm, ill informed choices. I also don't know if this is true of most bisexuals, but I think most people are actually less attractive to me than they are to most people.

What I can't do is tell you why I like men. I really don't know. I can perhaps point at some overlap between the guys I like and the girls. Maybe I have an appreciation for human beauty in all its forms. I can't put my fingers on a type of person I like. I couldn't even tell you what it is about people that attracts me.
All I can tell you is that the next person to call it unnatural is getting planted on the floor."

That's pretty much an accurate summary of our situation. It's a welcome change seeing someone I can relate to, given that most people on these discussions (and indeed society) are straight or gay/lesbian. It's quite an achievement to feel like a minority in a Guardian topic about sexuality, I can tell you that much.

Thank you very much, you're brightened my day with this one.

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