Today is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia. I’m participating in a blog hop for equality and awareness, plus I’m giving something away for free! (Stay tuned.) Here’s the official site for the hop: http://hopforvisibilityawarenessandequality.blogspot.com/
In case anyone in my life hasn’t been paying attention to anything I’ve written over the last several years, here’s a brief summary: I identify as queer, and within that, I’m bi and gender…something. I’ll get to that. First, though, let me say that while I use queer as a specific identity word, I do not use it as an umbrella term. Too many in my QUILTBAG family have had that word used as hate speech, and they are not able to reclaim it for themselves. Out of respect, I don’t use it unless it’s for myself or a specific thing (queer theology; queer theory; queer literature).
There are people who might want to know why I use the term bisexual. For me, it’s political: it’s an alignment with a movement and a community. I don’t feel that the word is limiting in describing my orientation, and this definition from the wonderful Robyn Ochs (I met her last year, and she is exactly as delightful in person as she is online):
I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted – romantically and/or sexually – to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.
In a practical sense, I’m married. To a dude. A cisgender (i.e., not trans) heterosexual dude. We even have biological children together. So once again, a lot of people might ask, “And how, exactly, does that make you queer, O Heteronormative-Appearing One?”
And here is what I would say to that: Bisexuality is like writing a story. I have a current project, but just because I’m working on one thing doesn’t mean I don’t have other ideas going on in my head. There is always potential for those other stories. That does not mean I’m going to write them at the same time or that I will give up my current project to work on something else. (Of course, if my current project and I agree that it’s cool to open a new document, well, that’s for us to know and isn’t anyone else’s concern.) Bisexuality is not about what (or who) I’m doing right now at this moment; it’s about who I have the capacity to love.
As for gender, that’s a whole story in itself. I’ve never identified with womanhood or what I sensed that should be. It’s not about femininity; it’s something different, deeper. I don’t know what to call it. Some might suggest I’m gender fluid or another specific word, but I’ve never found one I like. So I simply leave it as “my gender is me.” Unlike many trans folk, I don’t have a set pronoun preference. I don’t object to she/her, mainly because I don’t think male should be the default and because sometimes it’s safer not to correct people (hey there, bathroom bill, I see you). I like they because sometimes my gender feels like a whole other person. When I write, I usually use other neutral pronouns (typically ze/hir) because when you write about relationships, it can be tricky to write they as both singular and plural and not get confused (your mileage may vary on that one). The only ones I don’t like are he/him. But no one has ever used those on me, so I think we’re good.
The ways in which identity affects my own life are…well, I’ve had my share of weird biphobia. It’s mainly creepy men who think it’s cool to send me PMs discussing my sex life. It affects my writing in that I’m always seeking more visibility. I’ve certainly experienced a fair share of biphobia for daring to write stories in which OMG HET SEX ON PAGE! Other than that, though, the big thing is with my kids. Being out and proud has made a difference in how I parent them. I’m so proud of who they are becoming, and I’m honored to be their mom (yes, I still use that term).
Hey, if you made it this far, thanks for reading. I’m giving away a FREE copy of my 2015 novel, Passing on Faith, plus an exclusive, never-before-seen bonus companion short story. If you want to be the first one to read it, enter the giveaway.
Here is the long and wonderful list of bloggers participating in the hop today. Show them some love by visiting and leaving comments. You’ll find all sorts of good stuff, including other giveaways.
Erica Pike (M/M)
Andrew Jericho (GAY)
Tempeste O’Riley (M/M)