To Label, Or Not To Label?

I am a fan of the website “I’m from Driftwood”, which is a site on which anyone from around the world can post true stories about their life in the LGBT community.  Today I read an article titled “I’m from Mt. Sinai, NY” by a woman named Danielle.  Danielle told her story of being a bisexual woman married to a man and having two children.  In the article she poses a few heavy questions that really hit me.  First of all, she asks, “Do I even have the right to wear the label “bisexual” anymore?”  As a 36 year old mother of two who is married to a man, many people are quick to say she’s simply heterosexual.  However, if anything were to happen to her husband and she were to find another relationship, it may very well be with a woman.  Next she says, “Will members of the LGBT community roll their eyes at me and write me off as a college lesbian?”  This statement affects me a lot personally.  Last year I came out as bisexual in between relationships with men.  Of course, I received a ton of negative feedback and heard many hateful things, which is to be expected (unfortunately).  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “But you’ve dated guys, you continue to date guys, you’re just doing it for attention.”  First of all, why on Earth would anyone sign up for negative attention?  If I was going to lie about something for attention I’d pretend I had magic powers or something like that.  Bisexual people tend to get a bad rap from all sides.  Some heterosexuals come up with horrid judgements such as, “Bisexuals are just desperate and can’t afford to be picky,” and other ridiculous things like that.  On the other hand, a lot of people in the “queer” community don’t really accept bisexuals because they think bisexuality is just a stepping stone to coming out as gay, or as Danielle said, they’re just “College lesbians” (AKA someone who decided to experiment but isn’t really gay).  Another statement Danielle makes about her bisexuality is that it’s, “Decidedly the easiest thing to be in the LGBT spectrum, and yet, I am more confused about how to (and even if I should) come out.”  There are so many people out there who don’t believe that bisexuality is real that I don’t at all consider it to be the easiest thing to be in the LGBT spectrum.  Not to mention those of us that are more questioning than bisexual, but don’t want to be the random Q in LGBTQQIA, so we go with the more common B.  A friend of mine said it best: “Why do we need to label everything?  Why don’t we just define our sexuality per relationship instead of just in general?”  Instead of arguing over what category we fit into, let’s just define ourselves as our current status.  Much less stressful.

A woman named Heather Murphy posted an article titled, “I’m From Seattle, WA.”  Similar to Danielle, she is talking about her experience as a bisexual woman married to a man.  The main topic that she points out is the issue of appearance.  No one ever believed that a woman who wore dresses and high heels liked women.  This is something that has always crossed my mind.  In order to fit into the gay community and get people to believe that she was interested in women, Heather changed her appearance completely.  She states in her article, “I could walk into a room of queer people and no longer felt like an imposter.”  Of course, this required her to change who she was.  She didn’t want to have short hair and wear men’s clothing, but that’s what she had to do to feel accepted into the queer community.  As a feminine female, it never escapes my mind how difficult it is to find a date when no one knows you’re interested in the same sex.  It’s easy to relate to Heather’s feeling as an imposter.  I still have no solution to this, which is extremely frustrating.  This is why I get so upset when people say to me, “You’re way too open about your sexuality,” and, “You make your whole life revolve around it.”  Well, it’s because I’m proud of who I am, and like Heather, I feel the frustration of no one knowing the truth!  I don’t want to shave my head to get the point across, so I’ll do it with words!

Happy IDAHO everyone!  (International Day Against Homophobia) 5/17

Sources:

http://www.imfromdriftwood.com/2010/05/17/im-from-mt-sinai-ny/

http://www.imfromdriftwood.com/2009/09/03/im-from-seattle-wa-3/

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