What my “label” means to me

This is a warning to the people who don’t care about this sort of thing, or simply don’t want to read it. This post is about being bisexual. Feel free to turn away, or just ignore this if you absolutely have to.

 

So I can’t sleep, as usual, and I’ve recently been looking at some bisexual blogs (okay, just one) and it sort of inspired me to write another post about being bisexual.

I feel like this is something I don’t write about enough. It’s such a big part of my life, and part of what defines me as a person. So I’m gonna tell you about what this “label” has meant for me, and how embracing it has affected my life.

When I was barely a teenager, I was sort of confused about who I was attracted to. one day I would like a boy, and the next I would like a girl, and some days I would like both. It started in middle school (as these things usually do), when I saw Coyote Ugly for the first time. I was about ten years old when it came out, and it was PG 13, which meant I couldn’t watch it at home. My best friend (who is amazing) got it on tape when we were in sixth grade. 

We watched it over and over, and to this day I’ll watch it when I go and visit her. I found myself fascinated by the way the women danced, while at the same time I was attracted to the male lead. Of course, at the time I only talked about the boyfriend character to save face “He’s Australian. He’s such a bad boy. He likes comic books!”. But the way the women danced gave me butterflies in my stomach.

I had never even heard the word bisexual at the time, and I’d only just figured out what being gay meant (and only in the negative). So, I buried the feelings, I ignored the butterflies I’d get when I hear certain women sing, or saw the cheerleaders in Bring it on. For all that I knew at that time, I was gay, and that was just not something I wanted to be.

And for a while, it seemed to work. Throughout the rest of middle school, I only had crushes on boys. And then high school came along.

I’m not going to say any names, but I fell hard for a girl in my freshmen year of high school, let’s call her G (and no, that’s not her real first initial). She was smart, pretty, and very nice. But, she was also very straight. I tried as hard as I could to bury my feelings but it didn’t work too well, and I found myself agonizing emotionally over her. It was also around this time that certain girls in my school were calling themselves bisexual and kissing girls to get attention from boys. I had a few gay friends at the time who would roll their eyes at the girls, and call them out on whoring themselves out for attention.

So I decided to look into the whole bisexual thing. I did serious research. I pored over books in the libraries, I looked online, I even asked a few friends about it. And I found out pretty soon that some of the things in my research applied to me. I found myself identifying with stories on forums, and I saw that other people who were my age were posting there too. After years of confusion, I found clarity.

And then came the backlash.

It took me a couple years to tell a few people that I was bi, and I got the usual responses.

“You’re just on the fence.”

“Make up your mind.”

“It’s one or the other, not both.”

“Does that mean you’ll do a threeway?”

The “On the fence” responses were from my gay friends, and it was something that shocked me. As people who constantly spoke of inclusion, they were actively excluding me. It didn’t make any sense to me. I even had a lesbian girl say she could “turn” me. It made me want to start shutting everyone out all over again.

Eventually I got into a relationship with a friend of mine. It was tumultuous, to say the least, and toward the end of it we were hardly speaking anymore. I will say this of it, I’ll never date two people at once again. But, it didn’t turn me off dating someone of the same sex. I just know that I have to tread carefully.

So, what does my label mean to me?

It means I have something I can stand for, I have a community where I can feel like I belong. I have options. But it doesn’t mean I’m indecisive, slutty, or confused. I know what I want, I know who I want, and I know I will be judged for that. It’s up to me whether I let people judge me or not, and if I don’t like the way someone treats me because of some “label”, I will make sure they know about it.

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