Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Coming out as bisexual

I know I'm lucky. I've never had to come out to long time friends. Realising at 14, I had no one I was particularly bothered to tell, except a few, and you know what? I don't recall telling them.

I think that's because it was such a non-issue that no conversation was needed. It doesn't matter to them what orientation people are, and they love me so much they did not have to make a big deal of finding out about my bisexuality.Those few people will be in my heart forever.

Everyone else at the time, did not need to know. They weren't my friends, they were just the people I spent time with at break times in the classroom because I didn't want to be lonely.

And then I had a great opportunity. 16, new school. Leave the old behind, enter sixth form completely new. I only had one person at the sixth form who I wanted to hang out with, and he already knew.

So when introduced to new people, being bi was just a fact that came out in the getting-to-know-you stage, just like my love of Disney classics, my anecdote about going to hospital after running into a tree, and my perchance for bursting into song in the street.

I never had to come out to friends. I don't come out any more. Now my family know, there is no one I already know to tell, and it won't be hidden from people I don't know yet, so they won't need coming out to.

I know I'm lucky. Most people go through trauma when coming out, and some people come out to every person they meet.

That wouldn't work for me. I am who I am, bisexuality and Disney love included, and I can't be bothered to become someones friend and then see what their reaction is to it, because if it's bad, I don't want to be their friend anyway. So the whole debacle can be avoided by being totally open and honest from the offset.

I think this sometimes comes across as an aggressive 'I'm bi, I want everyone to know, I don't care what the fuck everyone thinks' rubbing-it-in-people's-faces attitude, but that's not what I'm about. I'm just matter-of-fact about one of the parts of my identity that society seems to want to make into something weird and worthy of more note than a full grown young woman with a tendency to spend her evenings crying at the end of the children's animation.

I don't know about you, but coming out as a Disney lover should be the bigger issue


Saturday, 23 June 2012

A study of Christian LGBT young people

I was recently interviewed as a subject in a university study of LGBT Christian young people. One of the researchers was pointed towards my church as a Christian community that supports LGBT, and on talking to the leader of our LGBT group, she was pointed in my direction as the only one at St James' that fit the 16-30 age bracket.

We talked for over an hour. It was very interesting to tell someone who had no part of my life about it, because having to give her context for some of my answers and anecdotes meant I saw things about them that I had not seen before.

Nothing major; I'm secure in my knowledge of myself as a bisexual and a Christian; but just little things.

I wondered if I'd feel weird talking about my relationships and experiences to a stranger with a Dictaphone, but I realised afterwards that it's exactly the same as writing this blog - I like talking about bisexuality, because it's an aspect of my identity that doesn't get a lot of air time in everyday life.

I get to be very Christian every week at church; very organised and theatre loving at college; very much a woman all the time; a young person when out with mates or surfing Facebook; my outlet for being very bi is this blog, and going to Pride. It's like the fact that I write stories and a bit of fiction - I have a community through Nanowrimo to be just that with.

I wondered if my desire to be interviewed about my bisexuality was a narcissistic thing, blowing my own trumpet. But I think really I just desperately want society to catch up and understand it more. I want to be a non-issue, and at the moment, it's a novelty, an interesting fact about me. Unfortunately it isn't a study that deals with just bisexuality, and it won't really do much about all that. But it made me feel proactive. Like doing the Out4Marriage video.

What others opportunities do we have? I'll take any that come my way.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Out 4 Marriage

Big discussions at the moment about equal marriage, because of the government's consultation.

Here's my contribution to the Out 4 Marriage campaign.

Lots of love xx

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Gay Pride and why we need it

As is probably quite evident already, by the fact that I write a blog dedicated to it, I take a lot of pride in my bisexuality, and it's a part of my character that I put up there as one of the big parts of my identity, like being a woman, and a member of my family, and a Christian. Big Deal Character Traits. Things I type into 'brief description' boxes.

But recently my BDCTs have come into conflict. More specifically, I have been forced to choose between going to my Nana's 86th birthday (yes, she's a few months younger than the Queen), and taking part in Pride, and also going to church. These all take place on the weekend after my last day of term. Something that has to happen that Saturday, is I have to move out the last of my stuff by 10am, which is pain for my parents. They will then whizz up north to the birthday party (dropping my stuff off at home on the way, I presume) and spend the night before returning the next day.

Automatically, I want, and feel obliged, to go with them. And any other time, I would. I would even be alright with missing church one week (hey, there's got to be at least one decent CofE church in Sunderland that I can go to, right?).

Thing is, it's Pride London weekend. It's World Pride, in fact! Something I've been excited about since moving to London. AND it's the Pride service at church, where we take over - rainbow vestments, rainbow altar cloth, and testimonials from queer members of the church about being queer Christians, as the sermon. How awesome is that? We have a lunch together with the community; we join together with Christians Together At Pride (http://www.christiansatpride.com/index.html) and go out to the parade, to quote, "making a powerful statement to the LGBT community that there is support for LGBT Christians and that God loves us with, rather than despite, our sexualities." There are freaking TSHIRTS for pity's sake.

I have been in conflict about it, but my dad has been really sweet. I said during a Skype convo about this that it shouldn't even be an issue, I should automatically be content with going up north. He responded "But obviously going to Pride means enough to you to make it an issue, and therefore, if it means that much, you should go. We'll be going to see your Nana in the summer as well; come then." Thank you God for that man, I love him so much, and I do not deserve him.

I don't know what others will think of this. Essentially, I'm rejecting my frail granny, matriarch of my family, mother to my dear father, in favour of partying it up with the gays, in a street party celebrating...what, exactly?

I can understand straight people might not be sure - especially those who don't have a lot of contact with queer folk, and even those that do but the queer folk they know don't really talk about it/engage with the community - wtf Pride is, and why the gays get a special day (lots, in fact, in individual cities around the UK, and the world), and close the streets of London, for pity's sake. Bastards. And what the hell does LGBT stand for anyway? (I get asked that one a lot).

Makes me chuckle. For one thing, Wikipedia gives a nice summary, if one can be bothered to look - "celebrating LGBT culture. Most pride events occur annually and many take place around June to commemorate the Stonewall riots, a pivotal moment in the modern LGBT rights movement...in more accepting cities, the parades take on a festive-like character...floats, dancers, drag queens, and amplified music; but even such celebratory parades usually include political and educational contingents, such as local politicians and marching groups from LGBT institutions of various kinds (that last part includes CTAP)."

Look, we're a minority, we get bullied and abused for who we are. Critics might not be able to understand how joyful it is to have an event devoted to actually celebrating who we are; not a serious demonstration with often demoralising results, or having to go to a specific club separated from the rest of the world, separated from the rest of our lives. We do have our own culture - we were forced to when we were underground, and now we can revel in it publicly, like football fans, patriots, sci-fi fantasy fans, music fans, etc etc, in full view, and inviting the rest of the world to join in, to make it a part of our lives. I can go along with friends who are like me, and meet new people who are also like me.

I also know that many queers don't go in for self-promotion (see earlier reference to those not engaging with the community). That's okay too. Many Christians don't talk about their faith a lot, don't go to church a lot, if ever; football fans enjoy it from the comfort of their sofas without having to chat about it afterwards; sci-fi fans who never go to conventions or talk on forums. Not a worry, I'm one of the latter.

But even though not all queers want or need Pride, there is a want for it, there is a need for it. It's an incredible tool in a world where there are over 70* countries where same-sex relations are prohibited by law, at least 8 of which can lead to the DEATH penalty (sorry for shouty capitals, but it makes me so upset), and even some places where it's legal, there's still a higher age of consent for same-sex relations compared to opposite sex relations. There are only about 5* places IN THE WORLD (sorry again) where same-sex couples can get married, only 10* where they can adopt together.

Throwing massive parties in the streets, beaming pictures of happy, harmless queer people having a good, safe time, around the globe, helps pressure places where queers can't be happy.

It’s all in the title. Pride. In ourselves, each other, in our place in society, in what we contribute, in what makes up special. Other people are special in other ways – singers, models, painters, actors, chess champions, great parents, people passionate about breeding flowers; we’re special because we love in a way the majority don’t, and dammit, there are concerts, catwalks, galleries, awards ceremonies, chess tournaments, Mother’s and Father’s days, garden shows; so we get Pride.

In an unrelated note, I might be going to participate into a professor's research about LGBT individuals’ (age 16-30yrs) understanding of religion, their experiences within the churches and how their religious identity interacts with their sexual identity. I’ll let you know how it goes.

*edit: the figures I have quoted have changed since this post was originally written.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Bisexual blogger

Mine is just a small, unnoticed blog. But it helps me to articulate things, and it has more than 0 views, so at least someone is reading it. So hopefully it's not a waste of time.

I am not the only bisexual blogger by any means. I wanted in this post to simply put a link to a marvelous post in another blog, for you to read. I think it's very good.



Sunday, 3 June 2012

Jubilee - not just one thing, but everything

Forever more I will be able to say that I was part of the Piccadilly celebrations of the historic Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. It's been a lot of fun today. I felt part of the party, I felt proud to be British, happy with my monarch, and seriously joyful to be at St James'.

I soaked up the atmosphere, bought food and fudge from the stalls, helped put up balloons, and chatted with everyone, from church friends to stall owners, and a steward who asked for my number, cheek!

What does this have to do with being a bisexual? Well, it's because this event has affected me across a whole range of the different parts of my life - I love being part of this nation, I'm proud of my faith and my church, enjoying talking to people, and contributing to the event, glad to be living in London for it, missing how we would be celebrating at home watching on TV with mum and dad, flattered but wary of a flirty guy, and spent time hoping I would see the other young woman who I've got my eye on and invited down.
Briton, Christian, St James parishioner, social creature, helper, London dweller, member of my family, young woman, and bisexual.

I am all of these, not just one. And not just one at a time - completely and always everything.