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  • EsmeT 1:38 pm on November 1, 2013 Permalink  

    My coming out as bisexual – this time as a video 

    There is already a post I wrote about my coming out somewhere in the archive of this blog, but I've been meaning to post it as a video on Youtube for sometime, and I finally got round to it!



     
  • EsmeT 11:36 pm on September 13, 2013 Permalink  

    Tell me it gets better 

    I watch a lot of Youtube, it's part of my daily life. Today, one of my regular shows (shep689) recommended a coming out video, which I dutifully clicked to and watched.

    It has invoked such a depressing reaction that I need to reach out for some support, guys. It was a young, Australian gay man telling his story. After going through the part about coming out to friends, mother, college, father, the gay man in the video starts using the phrase 'it gets better', and for the first time of hearing that (having heard it many times before, of course) I realised that it actually applied to me.

    I don't feel like I'm in a place with my sexuality to testify to the fact; one thing stands in my way - my parents. For over half my life, the only people who understood me were my parents. Apart from two exceptions, it took me until 16years old to find other people who completely got me, totally took me for who I was and loved me for it.

    Now I'm here; I know who I am and I love myself. It all makes sense to me and I know my place in this world as a queer, bisexual, cisgendered woman, with mostly-feminine-but tendency-towards-some-masculine self-expression. I have surrounded myself with people who I care for deeply who also know me and love me on this level.

    But now, my parents don't understand. And they seem to think that because their world is cisgendered heterosexual, they have no need to see me as anything but a blip in that world. And I've never been a blip in their world before! They've always shifted their world around me to include exactly who I am as a totally integrated part of that world (it's the same with my brother, I'm not being egotistical, I'm pointing out this is their way of parenting, and I've always thought them great parents) but I don't feel integrated any more.

    It hurts. It's upsetting. It doesn't feel right. As much as I don't think they mean it to be, it is a rejection. I suppose it is made worse that I'm not just living a bisexual life, I am engaging with my sexuality beyond romance (ie this blog, being head of the LGBT society, going to pride, etc). But that's not the part that hurts. I would get them leaving me to go about all that without them engaging with it, the same as they leave my brother to his fitness regime, diet and MMA (mixed martial arts - also known as ultimate fighting) training.

    It's the fact that I get the impression they think it shouldn't change how I live my life at all, that they see it as a weird thing, as if it isn't normal for who I am. That's it - I would understand bisexuality being weird to them because they don't know it, but they treat it as if it should be weird to me as well, making it a blip. Every other thing that I do, that I am, they accept as normal, whether it's unpopular, not average, unmainstream - to them, I am perfectly normal watching Disney films, going into a career in theatre, being close friends with a church community that it on average 40 years older than me, because that's who I am; but my sexuality being not-majority - that is apparently a strange thing for me to be doing, as it they expect me to stop at some point.

    Thinking about it, I think they would react different to me being a lesbian. Lesbian is more normal to them, it's unusual by dint of being minority, but I think they would embrace me being lesbian. Bisexual is being weird for the sake of being weird. That's the impression I get. I've gone past the line of things I do that are weird that they can accept as just being me, and now it's-

    I don't know. I don't want to think that they think that ultimately I'm experimenting, rebelling, trying too hard, essentially identifying as bisexual simply to be different rather than it being fact. But they behaviour and their attitude seriously worries me to the point of suspecting that they might.

    I don't think I'm being unreasonable in feeling rejected and betrayed. My relationship with them has been, on their side, a constant love of who I am and proactive welcoming of whatever unlike-the-majority characteristic I have shared with them. And the feeling that they just tolerate my bisexuality, that they don't understand how fundamental it is to who I am, that they don't feel like they need to understand more - you can't treat your child's sexual/romantic orientation the same as their interest in doing a sport.

    And talking of my brother's MMA, it's a good way to show how my parents treat me bisexuality, because it's pretty much the same, which, now I realise it, appalls me. To my parents, my brother wanting to be a professional MMA fighter is something he does with like minded people, that makes him happy, and they accept that he sees it as something that fits him to do. They will support him in what he chooses to do now, without knowing more than a rudimentary amount about what he does.

    Now, you might ask, Esme, why do you want your parents to know more than a rudimentary amount about your bisexuality? That implies you expect them to want to know all about your romantic life. But that's not what I mean. They treat my bisexuality as if they don't and can't know more than a rudimentary amount about what it is in life - they don't understand that it is in fact the same concept as my brother's heterosexuality, in terms of how parents understand their children's sexuality ie. to them, they assume a deep understanding of the social structures and norms that make up my brother's sexuality, and they assume only a rudimentary understanding of those things that make up mine, when it fact, because the only difference with mine is a wider gender pool of possible partners, they can understand it as the same as before they knew about they extra possibilities of partners.

    But they don't see it as deep, valuable, and ingrained like my brother's heterosexuality; it's almost like they think I'm pretending, just to be edgy.

    Urgh, you see why this video made me depressed? I still struggle with my parents - they don't take me sexuality seriously. And it doesn't feel like it's getting better. It upsets me that they also don't understand why I'm upset by their attitude - they think they're being accepting and loving, but they're doing it a distance, treating it like a fucking phase, a trend that will pass, and therefore does not need to be considered something to be integrated, it is a blip, inconsequential. But it's the characteristic that defines how I go about finding that one someone to combine with to make one life together til death - not inconsequential!

    Communication. Tell them how I feel. Yes, yes. But these are my parents - I'm not the responsible one in the relationship, I'm the child, and the parent-child relationship is heavily biased towards the parents' responsibility in relationship maintenance. Yet I also keep stum to maintain their happiness, because they would feel guilty that they're failing on the "how to deal with your child coming out as bi" score. Endless circles.

    Do the circles have an end? Will it get better?
     
  • EsmeT 9:09 pm on September 7, 2013 Permalink  

    Does it feel weird being bisexual? 

    The title of this post comes from my blog statistics. You may or may not know that Google like to collect lots and lots of stats and as a content creator, I can look at the stats relating to who is reading my content, from where, and how they got here. Tidbits include my top five countries for audience - US, UK, Germany, Latvia, Russia. I find the last three inexplicable. My most read posts include my Dr Who rant, the one that used to be called 'bisexual video', and one of the ones about my mother. This is more understandable.

    As I was glancing through all this today, idly in a moment of quiet when I was up to date on all my subscriptions to YouTube and online TV catch-up, I noticed something in the 'searches' section. This tells me what people who found my blog through web searches put into the search engine. One of the things that someone, or more than one person, had searched was "does it feel weird being bisexual?"
    Something about that made me stop and think, and I want to share my thoughts.

    This is a question I would never have conceived of being asked, as it seems to be one from the outside of bisexuality, and of course I am on the inside. I have never been asked this, and I find it really strange to answer it. What does it mean? What makes someone not bisexual think it might be weird to be bisexual (as opposed to anything else that isn't their own orientation)? It's the use of 'feel' that gets me. I could understand 'is it weird to be bisexual?' But 'does it feel weird?'

    Does it feel weird being bisexual?  How could your orientation feel weird? Is the person asking someone scared that they are bisexual, wondering if it's a bizarre thing to be and therefore it should feel weird? Because that is saddening; it breaks my heart. My immediate answer to that is it shouldn't feel weird. But it does feel alienating. I feel like I'm seen as weird, because most people identify as straight, and most people think the only other option is gay. It feels weird to moderate my behaviour to fit into the binary world, it feels weird that I can't fully engage with people how I want to, because me being with a man is not seen as bisexual, nor is me being with a woman, even though whenever I am with anyone I am attracted to, it feels bisexual. And I know the world doesn't get that.

    Does it feel weird being bisexual? In many ways, no. It's my natural state; it's intrinsically who I am and influences everything I say, think and do, the same as being a ciswoman, or white, or British. Being attracted to more than one gender is the only way I understand the world - the thought of being attracted to only one is weird! It feels like exactly how I ought to be, the best way for me to be, the path that I am meant to take. It feels good because it's right for me, and it gives me something solid about my identity, and that in turn gives me membership to a great, worldwide network of everyone who goes under the 'B' umbrella, and it's so amazing being part of such a diverse set of people whilst still having something in common.

    Does it feel weird being bisexual? It's not like I have anything to compare it to. Though it took until I was 14 to realise that I needed to use that label as opposed to the default 'straight', actually being bisexual is how I've always been as far back as I can remember even having a concept of liking my peers even just platonically. I didn't know it at the time, but looking back, as an eight year old, I felt as 'bisexual' as much as the majority of my prepubescent peers felt 'straight', without any true understanding of intimate relationships. So if I've been bisexual since I was aware of my relationships with peers, how could it feel weird? It's all I've ever been - it's all that I've ever known. It's normal for me.

    Does it feel weird being bisexual? If I sat outside myself, and looked objectively at the concept of being bisexual compared to the gay/straight binary, it can look weird. It seems insubstantial almost, so undefined and flexible, which doesn't seem human. But then, coming back to myself, it seems like the only plausible option! Love is, to me, the greatest goal, and everyone has the capacity to love, so why would you not be open to loving and being loved by anyone? Gender seems such as arbitrary thing to be picky about, especially when you know how sex/gender/gender expression are all one spectrums between the concepts of male and female. But then, I wholeheartedly accept that straight people feel absolutely nothing for the same-gender, and gay people feel absolutely nothing for any gender except their own. That's how they feel, and it doesn't feel weird to them.

    Does it feel weird being bisexual? It's not a specific sensation to feel. It's a state of being, it's a worldview, it's part of what's floating behind my eyes. There's no set of criteria, or symptoms. It's a label I use to describe a very personal part of my life - attraction, and intimate relations; it's a fact of human existence that some of us are attracted to people, and some of us are distinctly not attracted to people, and me, I am attracted to people. It's as important to me as breathing. I'm bisexual head to foot, outside and in, every molecule, because my relationships with people I am attracted to affect me mind, body and soul, and the power of it rings through my life like a sound wave bouncing off a canyon's walls and filling to whole thing with echoes.

    Does it feel weird being bisexual? It might do when you first realise life is not going to be how you expected it to be. It might be when you first crush on someone of a gender you haven't crushed on before. The first time I kissed a girl, it felt good, but it felt weird, because I had spent 14 years not expecting it be part of my life. But now, kissing women, and kissing men; sleeping with them, loving them, talking to them, sharing affection, wanting them - it doesn't feel weird. It feels bisexual; it feels like what I want, and who I am.

    Does it feel weird being bisexual? Not now I've embraced the truth of who I am. It feels great.
     
  • EsmeT 10:34 am on August 19, 2013 Permalink  

    The Gay Moralist 

    I don't know if you've ever encountered John Corvino "The Gay Moralist", but I hadn't until today when he popped up on my Youtube 'What to watch' recommended videos (based on what I have watched before). I thoroughly enjoyed the video I was recommended, so much so that I spent the entire morning going through his back catalogue of videos, and after I post this, I will get out some nail polish and sit down to watch his hour long lecture "What's Morally Wrong With Homosexuality?"

    I wanted to pass on my recommendation to you, if you don't know him, to have a look at what he has to say. Yes, he's gay, but we won't hold that against him; like a lot of gay things, it is still relevant to us to engage with conversation about same-sex relations (even though we cannot conceive of only being attracted the just the same sex - weird). He's a philosophy professor, he is handsome and charming, very articulate, and simply likable. His humour is also topnotch, and he wrote a book with an anti-same-sex marriage campaigner, so he must have significant patience and a kind heart.

    He even mentions us! This is the specific video that I'm going to post for your first dive into his style of vlogging:



    Have look at it, and if you like it, I heartily recommend that you browse his channel to see if he covers any topics that take your interest. My goodness, do I wish my videos could turn out half so well - but of course, I'm a twenty-one year old student, and he's much more experienced and has a PhD, so duh!
     
  • EsmeT 9:28 pm on August 5, 2013 Permalink  

    Bi guy and a straight guy sit on a sofa 

    I just uploaded a video response to one of my favourite Youtubers, RJ, a bi man in a same-sex relationship who does a daily vlog with his boyfriend Will, to show that two men can have a completely normal life together - they are amazing, and entertaining, and I watch every day! They just moved into a place together, so there's been a lot of trips to Ikea, but they've also had a few friends round, and one is a straight guy, Chris, who is also a vlogger. On RJ's extra channel, he posted a conversation he had with their straight friend about bisexuality, and I found it so good I had to respond, and what I had to say wouldn't fit in a comment.

    Go check out the original video :

    and then my video response (it might not appear under RJ's until he approves it):

    and tell me what you think in the comments - do you agree?
     
  • EsmeT 9:26 pm on August 2, 2013 Permalink  

    Talking about being bisexual with my parents – advice please! 

    I just had a majorly heated discussion in my kitchen with my parents and younger brother about my bisexuality.

    This is major in itself, because they don't have conversations about sex and gender - I even started telling them about the spectrums of sex/gender/sexuality/gender expression! Think that blew their minds a little.

    Anyway, my dad and I were the ones really going head to head. I was expressing my disappointment in him that he felt we needed to keep my bisexuality from his siblings and their kids - my aunts and uncles. He said he'd tell them when I had a girlfriend, because it was immaterial until then.

    He said that in three years since my coming out, there has never been a moment in conversation with his siblings when it seemed the right moment to just mention it casually. I don't believe him, but he's sticking with it.

    My brother then asked why I never came out to him. It was then that I really realised that, yes, what they were saying was true, it does feel like you're making a big deal out of it to tell people directly - but that's why coming out to your parents is a big deal, and that's why I was relying on them to pass it on in a less direct manner than a specifically convened time, like my coming out, to relevant family members, who they talk to relatively frequently.

    I told my brother, 'I suppose I expected them to tell you'. I eventually had the courage about a year after coming out to them to specifically bring it up with him by saying "you know I'm bisexual right?" and I was shocked to find out that he knew from reading it on my Twitter profile!

    Who is right? My father thinks it's none of their business, and even when I get a girlfriend, there's no need to specify, because one's sexuality is a private thing. If you do, you're ramming it down their throats and making a big deal.

    I think sure, some people don't want to be particularly open about being a minority and just get on with their lives, and fair play to them, I've got no problem with them doing that. But I don't feel like that about my life; I don't want people to think I'm straight when there's opportunity to correct their assumption, because it's untrue, the same way I don't want them to think I'm anything else that I'm not.

    And in my wider life, I want to enhance bi-visibility, and the way to do it in my intimate network of the family is be out and proud, which I don't think is shoving it down their throats. I don't think anyone is going to think my dad is making a big deal if, say, in conversation with his brother about my cousin's upcoming wedding, talk of my future wedding comes up, and he mentions that it might not be a man, and when his brother asks for clarification, dad tells him I'm bi.

    And I'm not saying make my grandparents' lives difficult by telling them, because there isn't much point. It'll get sticky when I do bring a girl home, and I'll probably have to fight them about telling the grandparents then, but that's not the issue. Am I right to be disappointed that my dad has kept it from my family?

    Please leave your thoughts in the comments.
     
  • EsmeT 6:06 pm on August 1, 2013 Permalink  

    Is it worth it? 

    I promise this post is bisexuality-related, but let me lay out some context.

    On July 12th I finished my second year of my three year degree course in stage management. I went home, and spent a week working as the stage manager for a kid's holiday drama club. I then went to Bath for a few days to see my friend who's working at the university over the summer. The day after I got back, I drove across the country for an interview. I spent the entire of Sunday at church, working throughout for the Patronal festival.

    Monday, I started work on my graduation project.

    Apart from two weeks at the end of August when I'm working with the National Youth Theatre, I will be spending my entire rest of the holidays, and then the first six weeks of my term, working on this research project. My few days in Bath are pretty much the only true holiday I'm going to get, and that's fine. I think my project is worth putting that time in.

    So when I posted on a tech theatre forum here on the good ol' internet, asking for participants to be interviewed, I was hurt by the unexpected condemnation of several posters, telling me that my project was a waste of time, and that I must be a piss-poor stage manager to pursue it.

    The title of my project is "Can LGBT professionals be 'out and proud' in technical theatre?"

    Their claim was that backstage is free of any problems, no one cares as long as you do your job well. And I truly hope that by some miracle, that ends up being my conclusion. But it seems to be a reigning perception (I don't know whether my critics are straight/cisgendered or not), and it's shaken my faith.

    Is it worth interviewing LGBT and non-LGBT technicians about the attitudes towards and the experiences of LGBT techies just to prove that the myth is true that backstage theatre it's a refuge of non-discrimination? Will I have wasted my time if it turns out that there are no issues?

    On another note, seeing as I'm unlikely to give up and do something else even if it isn't worth it, if anyone reading this in Aug/Sept/Oct 2013 is or knows anyone working in technical theatre in the UK, tweet me @iamabisexual.
     
  • EsmeT 6:06 pm on August 1, 2013 Permalink  

    Is it worth it? 

    I promise this post is bisexuality-related, but let me lay out some context.

    On July 12th I finished my second year of my three year degree course in stage management. I went home, and spent a week working as the stage manager for a kid's holiday drama club. I then went to Bath for a few days to see my friend who's working at the university over the summer. The day after I got back, I drove across the country for an interview. I spent the entire of Sunday at church, working throughout for the Patronal festival.

    Monday, I started work on my graduation project.

    Apart from two weeks at the end of August when I'm working with the National Youth Theatre, I will be spending my entire rest of the holidays, and then the first six weeks of my term, working on this research project. My few days in Bath are pretty much the only true holiday I'm going to get, and that's fine. I think my project is worth putting that time in.

    So when I posted on a tech theatre forum here on the good ol' internet, asking for participants to be interviewed, I was hurt by the unexpected condemnation of several posters, telling me that my project was a waste of time, and that I must be a piss-poor stage manager to pursue it.

    The title of my project is "Can LGBT professionals be 'out and proud' in technical theatre?"

    Their claim was that backstage is free of any problems, no one cares as long as you do your job well. And I truly hope that by some miracle, that ends up being my conclusion. But it seems to be a reigning perception (I don't know whether my critics are straight/cisgendered or not), and it's shaken my faith.

    Is it worth interviewing LGBT and non-LGBT technicians about the attitudes towards and the experiences of LGBT techies just to prove that the myth is true that backstage theatre it's a refuge of non-discrimination? Will I have wasted my time if it turns out that there are no issues?

    On another note, seeing as I'm unlikely to give up and do something else even if it isn't worth it, if anyone reading this in Aug/Sept/Oct 2013 is or knows anyone working in technical theatre in the UK, tweet me @iamabisexual.
     
  • EsmeT 12:43 pm on July 30, 2013 Permalink  

    SAME SEX MARRIAGE AND A PRINCE! 

    So news these past few weeks has been full of stuff I like! The same sex marriage bill finally got passed, making it all the way to the final stage when it got signed off by the Queen on 17th July, good ol' Liz. Yes, I am a fan of monarchy, for all sorts of reasons, like the fact that they make us a lot more money than they cost us, and really, I'm a real sentimental sort at heart. That's the reason I like the second big news, of the birth of Prince George of Cambridge - well, that and Cambridge is my hometown, which makes it more exciting.

    But this is not a monarchy or baby blog, so dear friends, we will concentrate on the bill, The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. As much as it is a huge success for gay and lesbian people to finally be able to get properly married, I feel it is much more of a victory for bisexuals. This is due to the civil partnerships being introduced way-back-when, because that at least was a step in the right direction for gays/lesbians, giving them some (though obviously not enough) legal support and recognition.

    Whereas it was almost worst for bisexuals - almost being the operative word, because, to be honest, it just added a new option to our unequal, combination lives; 'commit to an opposite sex person and get married, or commit to a same-sex person and sit in legal nothing', changed to 'commit to an opposite sex person and get married, or commit to a same-sex person and get a few legal concessions'.

    Those legal concessions did not make up for the fact that we still had to live out our lives differently depending on the gender of the person we ended up with. It is only with the passing of this bill that we can legally live how we feel - that the gender does not change the love and commitment in the relationship, and we can choose how to commit to them the way we want, rather than the way dictated by their gender.

    This difference in effects of this bill between us and the LGs makes me want to point out how it still hasn't sorted out all the legal issues for our T allies, the trans* community having stronger mutual links with us than the LGs, I feel. This bill doesn't change the already existing marriage law allowing husbands or wives to void marriages if their partner fails to reveal part of their gender history when they wed, nor does it rid marriage law of the option for a partner to have their marriage declared void if their spouse failed to disclose the fact that they possessed a GRC. And it adds the caveat that before obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate, trans* individuals in a marriage must obtain the consent of their spouse. (Source: GayStarNews.com) So celebrate, but keep supporting our trans* friends and allies in their continuing battle with marriage law.

    And on a LGBT rights-related note, I wanted to share this video - The Riddle - if you haven't seen it already, from the UN human rights office, published back in May. I like it. Quotes that struck me were (paraphrasing) "Being LGBT exists in every corner of the world, existed in every country throughout history, but some people still consider it abnormal, it is illegal in 76 countries, and carries the death penalty in 7." The UK has given us same-sex marriage, but we are long way from a free and equal world.
     
  • EsmeT 7:19 am on May 29, 2013 Permalink  

    Write to the Lords 

    With less than a week until the Lords begins to debate same-sex marriage, I used WriteToThem.com to write to a random Lord. I got given Lord Kalms, and here is the email I sent him.


    Dear Lord Kalms,
    Life is sometimes difficult. This is true for everyone, whether Lord or
    student, like you and I, or lover of Disney cartoons, secret collector
    of bookmarks, or simply obsessed with stationary. Okay, that's also
    like me too. But others will have those things in common with me, as
    well as other aspects of my character.
    Some people are like me because they have brown hair, or white skin,
    they want to own a horse, or find it difficult to remember to brush
    their teeth. Whether we are similar or distant, life is difficult for
    everyone else sometimes, and life is difficult for me sometimes.
    Enough beating around the bush, I want you to help pass the same-sex
    marriage bill that's going to go through the House of Lords soon. My
    life is made difficult by the inequality my country's law forces upon
    me.
    I'm a bisexual woman. You've met many us I'm sure, whether you knew at
    the time or not. Some of us have brown hair, and some of us will sing
    along to the Lion King with a little too much gay abandon (if you
    pardon my choice of words). And many of us want to get married. 
    I'm a twenty-one year old woman; of course I've thought about getting
    married. I want to be a wife, to live one life with the person I love
    and who loves me, to make the lives of the people in our life better,
    together, and to set an example of truth, faith, hope, loyalty, honour,
    and good, to those younger than us.
    I have the potential to fall in love with men and women. The one person
    I end up spending my life with could be either; where ever they may be
    (I'm still searching!). But I will only be able to marry them if
    they're a man. Society would not see my civil partnership with a woman
    the same way they would see my marriage to a man, even though that
    marriage would be all that I have already described, regardless of the
    gender of the person with whom I happened to meet, fall in love, and to
    whom I want to commit my life. I don't want that lower status.
    Pain and suffering. That's what this inequality causes, to bisexuals
    like me, gay people with brown hair, trans* people who collect
    bookmarks, and a great many others within our society, within our
    country, within our sixty-two million strong family.
    Our family needs your help. Make their lives a little less difficult.
    Think of me and my poor dental hygiene, and help pass the bill.
    Yours sincerely
     
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