There have been some issues regarding my sexuality and gender I’ve been wanting to blog about for a while now, but I only just found the courage and words to do so. It’s a hard subject to talk about, because it’s something very personal, and because not everyone will or can understand it, try to understand it or accept it. But my sexuality and gender are part of who I am, and something I cannot change, so it’s important to me to change that piece of me with the rest of the world.
Originally this was going to be one post combining all my thoughts, but it became so long that I decided to split it up into two parts, one surrounding my sexuality, one surrounding being a woman.
The lesbian years.
Coming out as bisexual was hard, and it took me a while to get to the point where I could accept and love myself for who I am. As an early teen, I was convinced I was lesbian, and it took me a while to realize that as well. I noticed I wasn’t attracted to guys, I wasn’t interested in them the way my classmates were. Instead, I felt that way about girls, with Angelina Jolie and Liv Tyler being my first celebrity crush.
I hid this for a while, because it was confusing and because I was scared. After all, I grew up in a small town, surrounded by subtle and less subtle homophobia and painful, wrong stereotypes, and going to a catholic school definitely did not help the matter. There weren’t many examples of powerful non-straight women in the media back then, and whenever they appeared in the local magazines, it was often in a negative or sexual way. In short, I felt alone in it, and never talked about my sexuality with anyone, except my diary.
The bisexual years.
By the time I figured out I was bisexual, not that much had changed. I was still too scared to open up about my sexuality, had some toxic relationships with men and didn’t have a good or safe relationship with my parents. I think the first time I fully opened up about it with someone, the first time I really showed people I was bisexual, was after becoming friends with a bisexual woman in her early 30s.
It looked like she had it all figured out, I could talk to her about my feelings, and one night we made out during a local festival. It made me feel powerful and honest, making out with a woman in public. Part of me had enough of hiding my true self and was excited for what was to come.
But the sense of empowerment didn’t last long since apparently, making out in public with a woman makes people call you a slut, an attention whore, and someone trying to score dick. Some guys got really nasty about it, and it took me another couple of years (until mid-2016) to feel completely comfortable with myself and my sexuality. It felt great. I wrote a coming out post on my blog, and also finally told my family. But that’s not the entire story.
Feeling a combination of bisexual and lesbian (and a lot of confusion).
In reality, my sexuality feels more complex than that. I’d say I’m 75% bisexual, 25% ‘lesbian’*. And that’s where it becomes even harder for people to understand, or to accept or respect, who I am. It’s already hard to be bi within the LGB community (I’m leaving out the TQA+ on purpose here, as I’m sure that’s even harder). Lesbians shaming us for being with a man, and homophobia and slut-shaming coming from straight people. So imagine having to explain someone you’re only partly bisexual. It’s a hopeless mess.
But let me try to explain it, because it’s important to me because it’s part of me. And because a quick google search showed me I’m not alone in this, and I’m sure we all can benefit from understanding each other a bit better.
Most of the time, I feel bisexual. Sometimes, I feel ‘lesbian’. Those ‘lesbian’ periods can last a couple of hours, an entire day, several days or even several weeks at a time. When that’s the case, I don’t feel attracted to men at all, not emotionally and not sexually. I can imagine myself with a woman, but not with a man. The thought of having to see, smell or touch dick leaves me cold, and often disgusted. Basically, I feel towards men the way straight men feel about each other.
And then there are the other days, the bisexual ones, where I feel 100% confident in my sexuality. When I can feel attracted to both men and women, more or less equally. In straight language, that means the feelings I have towards women and men are similar to the feelings straight women can have towards men they’re attracted to.
A boyfriend and even more confusion.
Oh, and guess what? Having a boyfriend does not make things easier. Because during the ‘lesbian’ days, being around him feels odd, as if I’m lying to both him and myself. But don’t get me wrong, I never stop loving or caring for him. I feel warmth and love towards him during these periods, but differently.
Then, I look at him as a best friend, a soul mate, a long lost brother, someone I live with and share my secrets with, someone I’m safe with. But it’s less romantic, less sexual, maybe not romantic or sexual at all, more platonic. My libido is down then as well, sex doesn’t turn me on and I actually have to think of women to get turned on.
But when the other 20 days of the month, when I feel bisexual, everything is the complete opposite.
He knows about this and is supportive as hell, and we have our ways of dealing with this. And I made the decision to not break up with him despite these feelings. Because my sexuality has been like this for a long time, and I do not expect it to change, nor am I trying to change it.
Accepting every aspect my sexuality.
I have thought about this situation a lot, especially the past couple of weeks, because I just got through a period of not being into men, of only being into women, of only feeling ‘lesbian’. And I wondered if my bisexuality was just a phase, if I will become either fully lesbian or fully straight, as some people like to put it.
And I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not a Pokémon that needs evolving. I’m a human being, that happens to have a more fluid sexuality. I could try to hide it in order to fit in somewhere, but I came too far to go back to that dark place.
My sexuality is, and will always be, a part of me, no matter how weird or complex or fluid it is. And I’ve reached a point where I’m completely fine with that, where I accept and am proud of every aspect of my sexuality.
Unfortunately, because not everyone experiences their sexuality the same way and I happen to be different from what society expects me to be like, I still have to deal with feelings of insecurity and shame from time to time. People make hurtful comments, have ignorant views, ask inappropriate questions or just straight out invalidate my sexuality.
So I’m not asking you to understand, I’m just asking you to be respectful and accept me the way I am. Because I should be allowed to be proud and happy, I shouldn’t feel like I have to hide or be ashamed of my sexuality. Because it’s who I am, and who I always will be.
* I put the lesbian in quotes, because overall, I still identify as bisexual. I’m into both people of my own gender and people of other genders, just not as equally all the time. Some days I’m only into women, but because I’m still into men other days, I still call myself bisexual. Calling the ‘only-into-women-phase’ a lesbian phase just makes it easier to explain.