I’ve seen lots of conversations recently surrounding the question of whether or not people are ‘queer enough’. This could be in relation to joining in with LGBTQIA+ focused memes, like One Rainbow Apart, or it could be surrounding the words folks use to identify themselves. I have an epic amount of feelings on this and with June being pride month it seems the perfect time to share them.
My favourite way to describe my own sexuality is queer leaning bisexual. However, queer, bisexual and pansexual all describe fairly accurately how my attraction to other folks work. I tend to use queer more often these days, but I have a lot of time for discussing bisexuality and the erasure many bisexual people experience, from both straight folks and sadly even from with the LGBTQIA+ community. This means I’m reluctant to let go of my bisexual identity because we do exist and we should not be invalidated based on who we are dating at any given moment.
I think the notion that a bisexual person becomes gay when dating someone of the same gender, or straight when dating someone of the opposite gender is not only damaging and hurtful to bisexual folk but also overlooks the gender non-conforming folks we might be dating. Which leads me to another point that bisexuality does not equate to being attracted to my gender and the opposite gender, rather my gender and other genders I think is a more encompassing description.
I have had romantic and sexual relationships with all kinds of folks, but for the last 16 years, my romantic relationships have predominantly been with cis-gendered heterosexual men. At no point in that time though have I thought I might be straight. I have never, not once, in my entire life thought I might be straight. I have no idea how or what that would even feel like. So even if I have no sexual or romantic involvement with anyone other than my current straight male partner for the rest of my life, I will die as a queer woman.
Your sexuality is not about who you’ve fucked, or who you’ve loved, it’s about what you know to be true in your heart. Queerness in my eyes is far more about accepting your capacity to love and desire people above and beyond genitalia.
That’s not to say I have any issues with folks whose sexuality is more focused on one gender. As I’ve already said I’ve dated plenty of straight men. Hell, I’ve even fucked a few straight women, or at least that’s what they told me. I respect everyone’s right to identify in any way that makes them feel comfortable and stays true to their own sense of being. What makes me sad though is when people feel like they can’t own and be proud of their sexuality because they haven’t ‘proven’ their queerness to the outside world, or don’t fit a stereotype that most queer folks will never portray in their entire lives.
I am not only proud to be queer, I am out as queer in all avenues of my life. I recently saw Amy from coffeeandkink ask folks about their experiences with coming out to partners and as much as I wanted to reply I really didn’t feel like I had much to offer. I don’t recall any partner not knowing about my sexuality within moments of meeting me. If you ask about past relationships I don’t hide who they’ve been with and in the long term relationships I’ve had have been with people who were accepting of my sexuality.
I only have one bad experience of someone I was sexually/romantically interested in having a problem with my sexuality and that was with a woman I met through a dating site. On our first night out together we went to a gay club, all the fun was being had and we got chatting a young guy who had just finished university. I didn’t ask if he was gay or not, never occurred to me to do that, but it turned out he wasn’t. I discovered this just moments before he kissed me. This kiss was unwelcome and I pushed him away instantly.
However, the kiss was witnessed by a woman I did not know and she very kindly told the woman I was with what she had seen. My date for the night proceeded to pull me out of the club by my hair and once she had me in the street hurled more verbal abuse at me than I had ever experienced before or since. The biggest issue she had was that I was dirty bisexual, that we were all the same and not one of us could be trusted. She told me this was why we weren’t welcome in LGBTQIA+ spaces.
It was a horrible experience but it pales in comparison to what other folks go through with regards to how they identify. For me, her attitude and how she treated me strengthened my resolve in terms of being out and proud. I decided there and then that other people do not get to define my sexuality based on what makes them feel more comfortable and I also decided that if someone couldn’t accept me and my sexuality as I chose to describe it then they would not be someone I’d keep in my life.
I know not everyone is privileged enough to be able to make those decisions. There are people all over the world who need to deny their sexuality to stay safe, and if anything those people need pride far more than I do.
It may be a small change, and it may be naive, but the more of us that can stand up and claim our queerness and refuse to be silent about who we are the better. So if you feel in your heart that you are queer, or perhaps you fall somewhere else on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, and you think you are not ‘enough’, you are wrong, you are enough. If you feel it and you know it in your heart, you are enough and if you have to cycle through a bunch of labels to find the one that works for you, that doesn’t make your sexuality any less valid.
Part of that feeling that I should claim my voice as a queer writer is why I am still taking part in the Smut Marathon. As many of you will know the sex blogging community has been hugely affected by the way some folks have spoken about and treated trans bloggers. The Smut Marathon has been subjected to a lot of criticism, which is still ongoing and many folks have questioned why anyone who sees themselves as an ally to our trans friends would still be involved in the project.
I won’t lie I sat with the stay or go predicament for a long time. I spoke to Mr F about it, I spoke to other bloggers about it and I felt torn, I did not know what to do for the best. I decided to stay put though because I am a queer voice. I am not a trans voice and I cannot speak on behalf of the trans community. My concern though was that if everyone who identified as trans and/or queer left the Smut Marathon, then no one would be writing our stories. Or if they did they wouldn’t be writing them well. I don’t know if this is the right decision, maybe it isn’t, but I can only do what feels right for me.
If you want to read more about the issues raised with regards to the Smut Marathon I suggest you check out Quinn’s posts on Patreon, they are public, so free to read so you have no excuse not visit these links … What I want to see cis allies doing right now and Fuck you and your tone policing
A similar dilemma is also partly responsible for my departure from Food4Thought. When the shit his the fan within the sex blogging community I read all the posts that reflected on the issues at the time. I was thoroughly disappointed and disillusioned with the community as a whole and I no longer wanted to be at the helm of a project where I couldn’t control whose work I did and did not share.
I cannot in good conscience share your work if it reads to me as intolerant, ignorant or hateful towards folks within the LGBTQIA+ community and it no longer seemed a given that just because I got on well with someone, or had previously shared their work that we were remotely on the same page with regards to the issues at hand.
I know sexuality and gender aren’t one and the same. The reason I mention them both in this post though is that I see myself in the LGBTQIA+ acronym. I am the B, the Q and I suspect part of the plus as well. I don’t like seeing queer voices silenced, I don’t like LGBTQIA+ folks being told how we should respond to bigotry and I don’t like seeing people afraid to embrace who they are because they see themselves as ‘less’ because of experiences, outward appearance or the opinions of others.
I am proud to be queer and I stand with my LGBTQIA+ friends. I am sorry if I don’t always do enough or if there are things I don’t always get right. I can only share my own experiences and thoughts, which I am always happy to do, but I am definitely here for your words too, so I hope lots of you link up to the memes below this pride month.
While I’ve got your attention I’d also like to point in the direction of these previous posts of mine too. I make no apologies for any changes of personal perspective over the years, my sexuality has evolved and I suspect these posts reflect that …