Apr 5, 2010

Lesbian/ Bisexual

There was a post done over at Sasha's Card Carrying Lesbian entitled "Bi-sexual Lesbians...An Oxymoron?" which brought up some fun things for me. There were several comments which brought to light how prominent Biphobia is in LGT circles, and I personally think that is a little strange. We, as members of the queer community come across a lot of prejudice, and I feel awful subjecting someone else to discrimination because of their sexuality.

This is my hastily typed post after I first read the article:

"I think that there is always a chance for the right person to come along in a gender that is unexpected for the individual, no matter if the person is gay, straight, or any other sexuality.

I don’t date men in hopes that one of them will be right for me. I date women with that hope. However, if I fell in love with my best male friend without trying, I would probably try out a relationship with him. I think that closing yourself off completely to the opposite or same gender is just reinforcing the gender binary. All the movies where the straight girl falls for the lesbian gives hope that love transcends sexuality, and that can happen in any direction, in my opinion."

However, looking back on it, I half-lied. While I believe sexuality is somewhat fluid, I'm not the true definition of bisexual, and it would take a potential soul mate for me to venture into seeking a relationship with a person of the other gender. If I found myself inexplicably in love with a man I'm not saying that I would close myself off and dismiss a possible relationship with him, however, I don't think that I could ever have a lasting relationship with a heteronormative man, even if I was in love with him.

I take such comfort in my own personal ability to perform outside the gender binary that I feel, right now, as if being in a heterosexual relationship would cause me to feel trapped in a heteronormative female role.

There are so many freedoms in lesbian relationships that seem awkward and ill fitting in heteronormative relationships. I love to pay for her dinner, tuck her stray hair into place, open her doors, tell her she's beautiful, etc... What I am poorly trying to convey with awful, cliche examples is that there is an understanding in lesbian cultures that these sorts of gestures help to reinforce a certain identity for an individual, or a mood for that particular evening.

When a woman curls into me and buries her head in my shoulder, she is giving me her vulnerability and simultaneously reaffirming my own identity as a strong, nurturing individual. When she kneels down on the elevator floor and slips off my heels, carrying them for me as she wraps a stable arm around my waist, she is enabling my vulnerable side, providing me with someone to lean on; she is showing me that it is okay to acknowledge a side of myself which I am less than comfortable with.

There is a dynamic in my lesbian relationships that allows our identities to flow, transferring the weight between the two of us. I want to be in a relationship where I feel butch because of how she treats me, or how I feel femme because of her chivalry, and how I play into her. I don't feel like I can have that sort of dynamic with a man, and that dynamic is a huge part of who I am, sexually and emotionally. That power play is one of the things I feel is crucial to my being.

Being with a woman feels less lopsided to me; it feels more equal. In past relationships with men I was constantly playing the damsel in distress, which made me feel so weak that I would close myself of completely and be stone cold, until I was afraid I couldn't feel anymore and cycled back to the damsel in distress. This was an unhealthy emotional environment for me, and it never felt equal.

There are always exceptions, but for the most part the heteronormative male seeks to stay within the gender binary, rather than stepping into a foreign dynamic. While the heteronormative male is becoming increasingly more open to options other than the gender binary, I am still not as comfortable being myself (taking and giving power as I see fit) with men.

I have felt more comfortable with a few bisexual men, and I feel like they understand what I need more than the straight male who has never stepped foot inside LGBTQ territory. So while I feel that I could potentially fall in love with anyone, I also feel like I need to date inside the LGBTQ world because LGBTQ people seem to be the only ones who really understand what I need, and possibly share in that same need.

(I do realize that by writing this post, I am, in fact, reinforcing the gender binary for myself, making me a hypocrite in my own words. Unfortunately, as much as I try to erase the gender binary for myself, it's very hard to get rid of all that the gender binary encompasses and the impact it had on me while I was growing up.)

(I also did not mention my intense physical attraction toward women and lack thereof toward men because I try to write about more than just that physical attraction and focus on the emotional needs.)


  1. This is all pretty difficult territory to navigate without incriminating oneself, or at least feeling like you have.

    What I'm hearing--and please correct me if I'm wrong--is less that you're closed off to the idea of a long term relationship with a man, and more that you don't want to be caught in a heternormative relationship. I think this is something that bisexuals deal with a lot.

    Now, I will admit that the vast majority of males out there do behave in a very heteronormative fashion. There is still a definitive culture of masculinity preventing many men from acting outside of their assigned gender norms.

    Honestly, hearing you talk about the positive nature of the fluidity of roles within your same-sex relationships makes it seem like that's what you need in a relationship. Unfortunately, it's just not something you'll receive from every guy. Granted, there are plenty of men out there who do not feel the need to live within the prescribed gender roles, but unfortunately they are not the norm.

    Maybe this aversion is simply you looking out for what you *really* want out of a relationship. I don't think that's a bad thing.

  2. Lovely post, somehow you captured how I feel too ... I could never trade in what I have with my girlfriend, for what I think is possible (more like impossible) to ever have with a man... no matter who he might be.

    I really like your writing!

  3. Enjoyable and true article. I can relate to it, but I have to say I have no fear of gender role dynamics in relationships with men - I'm just not all that attracted to any of them sufficiently to bother trying. It does bother me a little that some, if not many "lesbians" choose women not because of totality of desire but of social power dynamics. That is not to say that its not valid choice, simply that I'd rather somebody who desired me to somebody who chooses me because I fulfill social rather than sexual dynamics.

  4. Absolutely interesting piece.I can relate to a degree.I have dated men b4...and that was me subliminally fulfilling an expected role as a beautiful femme woman.I was the last one to find out I was lesbian,lol.Feels good to know though that at 26,I can safely say my heart is set on my gf of 6yrs.I've dated other women in the past 6yrs whenever we broke up.Tried a guy too,but it just did not work out.

    At times,I do feel that a part of me only imagines dating a guy for the sake of belonging and 'looking normal' to those around me.But in all honesty,I choose to live MY truth.I'm completely unattracted to men and I'm more than ok wit it:)