I wish you loved people who really listen to you. Listen to your silences as well as the things you said. Waited for you to come to it – whatever it is. Had the time, really, for you to be you. We’re not all the same speed. Thank God.
I’ll make this short because, well, it gets heavily on my nerves – I’ve discovered, being a part of a queer group for a couple of years now, that being bisexual is a very, very problematic thing in gay and lesbian eyes.
For lesbians, bi girls are those who can run back to men and who will eventually choose men. I’ve mentioned before how Lovely got told repeatedly when she was getting together with me that my being bi means that I will eventually leave her for a man, and therefore there’s no profit in being with me.
Moreover, if you’re a bi woman in a queer group and you’re with a woman, you are functionally lesbian so that’s okay. You can talk about your bi-ness and everyone will make a big joke about it, but basically, it’s okay, you haven’t strayed. But if somehow you accidentally fall for a man and are in a relationship with him, suddenly it’s not funny anymore. A bi woman in a relationship with a man is straight (and dead) to lesbians.
What I’ve found more interesting recently is that bi men are also disregarded by gay men, but not for being traitors ore foreign agents. It’s more that gay men think men can’t actually be bi. Oh, you can get a gay man to say that, of course, men are bi and bisexuality exists, all that jazz; but in gossip or chat mode, when it comes up that a man says he’s bi, the answer goes something like: “Him? He’s a pakki khusri! He’s just saying he’s bi because, trust me, I’ve seen millions like him, he’s not just gay, he’s a bottom!”
There’s a such a deep investment in being gay or lesbian, and asserting that it’s a valid life, a natural orientation and all that, that bisexuality seems to challenge that deeply. And boy, that gets on my tits.
Because, yes, it’s easy to pass in a straight society if you’re bi. Yes, it makes it easy to live in society if you’re in a straight relationship. But, no, a bi person in a straight relationship is not straight suddenly! And to be bi in a straight society is like being any kind of queer in a straight society: you can’t talk about a large part of who you are, you have to be cautious, you have to be suppress yourself. Which is the universal queer condition in a heternormative world.
Real Queer is Queer that acknowledge that a heteronormative world is oppressive and terrible for all forms of queerness. Real Queer is Queer that loves outside of the heteronorm, regardless of orientation!
I’m visitig family these days and my cousins, all of whom are younger, all have significant others. The youngest is 16 and he’s got a new girlfriend he’s terribly excited about. The oldest is 20 and has bee with the same guy for at least 4 years. All my cousins, despite my secret predictions, are straight (so far, anyway). And the whole famikly is really open to them being in relationships that are probaby quite physical.
I’ve been feeling awkward and strange since I got here because I can’t talk about Lovely to any of them. Not that I couldn’t come out to this side of the family: I could. But my mom doesn’t want me to because I’ll leave and then she’ll have to deal with making sure my aunt doesnt’ blab to my grandparents (who really can’t handle it and shouldn’t have to, I guess) and the low grade generica homophobia that is going to come from them. It wouldn’t be fair to my mom and it would be a huge family event and so, yeah, I shouldn’t tell them.
And yet. My aunt, my oldest cousin, her boyfriend and I went out for a late night dinnery snacky thing last night and my aunt asked me if I was being fixed up back home. I talked like it was completely normal and I talked about not having a boyriend and not wanting to get married any time soon (not exactly true, the marriage thing, but what can you say if you haven’t got a boy). In short, I acted totally straight and it didn’t even ruffle me, I didn’t even stumble over it. I just had a deep urge to say, well, I do have someone and she’s awesome. I had a deep urge to say, well, my father does try but the reason he’s being as weird as I’m describing to you is not because he’s old fashioned but because I came out to him and he wishes I wasn’t in a relationship with a woman. I wanted to say all these things and I was unable.
I suppose it’s easier. Or better. Or something. I feel like I’m betraying Lovely every time I hide our relationship from someone. Because, barring the most difficult, dangerous situations, she would want to be out. She is less out than she wants to be because of me.
Once upon a time, for a very short time, we were living abroad and we were out to everybody. And that was good. I didn’t understand a year ago when I finally made contact with some queer women in Lahore why they felt like it was so hellish to live there, even when they had some support, like we do. Now I’m sort of getting it. Maybe we should move.
Anyway. I wish I could tell my family. I think they’d take it in their stride. Weird stride, but still.
I look at this blog and think it’s pretty whiny. Lovely agrees, in a loving and laughing kind of way. And it makes sense that, being kind of depressed at the moment, I’m here again, whining.
Then some fabulous people come and get excited about the stuff I write. And I should just thank God.
And all the nice people. Thanks.
I’m a big fan of full disclosure. And honesty. I think honesty is great, particularly when your loved ones are involved.
However, I’m also becoming a fan of the doctrine of need-to-know. For example, does a parent need to know that the child’s first kiss was in the pre-teen years? Not from the child’s perspective, no. Does a lover need to know that, far back, before history was invented, you slept with six people at a time, and liked it? No. Why? Because it makes your tummy rumble in a bad way and causes incontinence and lack of sleep.
I was going to fess up my relationship with Lovely to my beloved parent. The one that doesn’t know. And then, in the presence, as it were, I realized: the ways in which said parent does not need to know this! I mean, the ways! And I don’t need the pain and aggravation of arguing daily, weekly, monthly about what a terrible idea it is, how bisexual meant MAN, dammit! and all that stuff.
So I’ve decided, for now, that no one else needs to know. And after five days of insomnia, depression, crying fits and general pissing my pants, last night I slept like a baby cradled in the arms of this decision. Today I jaunted merrily with the parent. Tomorrow, we’ll talk philosophy. And if it ever becomes necessary to fess up, I shall. But not out of some random adherence to the integrity of the relationship. Not torturing the parent with things that the parent cannot control is also chock full of integrity.
You are not – you were never – broken. That someone came and bent you at the soft places means that someone found your soft places. I have seen the skin where it’s not broken. I have seen the scar not made. You who cannot reach those parts feel welts where there is only purple. Pretty purple. Now that it’s gone. You were never broken, love. You stretched yourself straight and tall and beautiful and, maybe you didn’t notice, you’ve been walking on.
The blogosphere is stupid place. It encourages stupidity. It did so way back when it wasn’t a blogosphere, but just a bunch of bulletin boards and chat rooms. It did so when all we had was listserves to wank on. But now, stupid has proliferated into a kind of art form.
My favourite stupid of the moment is the stupidity in using the term “safe space.” I learned it when I was in college, in my women’s studies classes, and I learned pretty much simultaneously that there is no such thing as “safe” space. There might be “safer” spaces, where you specify what constitutes your personal safety and can agree on that with a bunch of other people, without threatening them over some issue of safety that you haven’t discussed already because of your own privilege and blindness.
If this logic is not easily followable, it’s because I wrote it wrong. Suffice it to say that some contexts are safer for some people than other contexts; and when people are in the minority, then they will seek out similarly disenfranchised people, hang out together and feel relatively safe.
Well and good. But when feminists decide not to feel safe at the drop of a hat because someone else on another blog has said something disagreeable – I don’t know where to put my head.
So, two things that are pissing me off lately:
1. “I’m such a fucking victim and so in danger all the time because I have a cunt and the world is so unfriendly to cunts that, even though I spend all my time with other cunts, I’m in constant danger from the cuntless and the cunt-appropriator and the traitor cunts.” Fuck that shit. I don’t know what’s so radical about only engaging the choir (she says as she refuses to invite her own non-choir to this post… sheepishness ensues). I don’t know what’s so radical about fighting with other people who are fighting for female power. I just don’t get it. What happened to engaging patriarchal discourse? Oh. This.
Shit, I linked it. Now I’m in trouble.
2. “You can speak here ’cause I say so and you’re annoying me and lalalala I’m putting finger in ears now, I can’t here you, OH SAY CAN YOU SEEEEE!”
On the one hand, I absolutely agree. It’s a blog. It’s owned by a person. It is not a public forum, it’s a private forum publicly available. The blogger has every right to throw whoever she wants off the blog.
On the other hand, it’s so ridiculous to start a controversial conversation, get a fuckload of negative feedback that argues with you, some of which is downright rude and obnoxious, and after a while, just delete the lot because you didn’t like how it went. The blogger is, I must point out, within her rights. But it’s just so… ridiculous.
I get the impulse. I’ve had some comments on here that really made me feel like shit. But people think like that. People have horrible opinions – of women, of queers, of sex-positive feminists, of feminists against prostitution and sex-work, of transgender folk, of bisexual folk. People are horrible.
But surely the purpose of blogging publicly is to reduce the horribleness of people, one’s own and other people’s? I mean, what’s a feminist intervention if you’re in a safe space all the damn time?
There’s a bunch of examples I could link, but I’m lazy and I’d rather spend the time weeding through the reference literature for my thesis than trawl through the web re-looking at things that pissed me off.
Yeah, I’m just that pussy.